Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

multiple clients representation

I'm in the following situation. I'm an in-house general coun meshuggah05/11/17
Your concerns seem spot on. I would try and spin them as li jd4hire05/11/17
do not do something that would be in violation of the rules dingbat05/11/17
Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the ethics rules. Somet mrtor05/11/17
legal revenue? It's a staffing firm. unless the principals dingbat05/11/17
OP's broken English and spotty details make it tough to foll mrtor05/11/17
Thank you for your answers!!! @jd4hire yes, there are emp meshuggah05/11/17
Wait. So you are GC to a staffing company and your boss bas retard05/11/17
" on some cases they have outside counsel but to minimize ex dingbat05/11/17
@dingbat my job is to represent the staffing company not act meshuggah05/11/17
@retard as a GC I can not act as law firm and get clients to meshuggah05/11/17
If you are at a closely held company your job is whatever th retard05/11/17
The staffing company does not do legal staffing.The company meshuggah05/11/17
@dingbat I can assist the co defendants counsel yes, to mini meshuggah05/11/17
This sounds no different than the carrier's counsel represen jeffm05/11/17
I don't see how is similar?!?! meshuggah05/11/17
Either your explanation is unclear, or you haven't read the jeffm05/11/17
The conflict comes as a GC you have duty to the Company not meshuggah05/11/17
meshuggah (May 11, 2017 - 10:47 am)

I'm in the following situation. I'm an in-house general counsel litigation.I work for a staffing agency. I represent the staffing agency in litigation.Lately my boss is trying to snik to represent also our clients and individual owners of the client. I expressed conserns about conflict of interest as well as amount of work that will double or triple and also that we are not a law firm in order to represent the clients. I'm worried about malpractice if we going to represent multiple parties as well as conflict of interest.Also, I'm not sure if we have malpractice insuranse that can cover my potential representation of everybody. I feel uneasy. Any thought on how to explain to my boss that,that path is wrong and if pushed should I stay with the staffing agency on asking me to do something in violation of rules of ethics.I'm in California.

Thanks

Reply
jd4hire (May 11, 2017 - 11:27 am)

Your concerns seem spot on. I would try and spin them as liabilities to your company so you're doing your job versus your concerns (although very legitimate). I'd be curious as to fee sharing with non-lawyers. How would the clients be billed? IF they are paying for your litigation, there is no way they could pay the staffing company for that.

Not sure on the type of litigation that would arise (I'm guessing employment/ labor issues and potentially contract related matters), but if those are the types of matters and your agency and clients got named, your interests wouldn't align (client might blame you, you might blame client and employee).

I wouldn't even address malpractice as I don't think you can ethically do what he wants you to do. I'd try and have a talk with him and lay it out. Draft a memo if he is still pushing and highlight liabilities to the company. If still pushing, advise that he is asking you to break the rules of ethics and that you cannot do so.

If fired, sue him and the agency. If he keeps you around and still persists, go further up management and if there are no other higher-ups, blow that whistle!

That sucks, good luck.

Reply
dingbat (May 11, 2017 - 11:48 am)

do not do something that would be in violation of the rules of ethics. A job is not worth your career. It's easier to get over being fired than being disciplined - that'll follow you your whole career (or worse, end it). Think of the time, money, effort, and sacrifices required to get through law school. Your job ain't worth throwing all that away.

As jd4life said above, write a memo explaining all the issues - including that it's legally prohibited (I'm assuming it violates unauthorized practice of law and fee sharing) and that the company's insurance won't cover it.
Again, as stated, if pushed, go over his head and explain that he's asking you to violate the law. If fired, sue.

Make sure that (a) everything is documented in writing, (b) there's an email trail, and (c) that you keep a copy of said email trail and writings in case it's ever necessary.

Reply
mrtor (May 11, 2017 - 12:01 pm)

Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the ethics rules. Sometimes what you think is unethical isn't actually against the rules.

Furthermore, no conflict has arisen yet. From your boss's standpoint, this could be an opportunity for the business to increase its legal revenue exponentially. You're shooting it down based upon the possibility of future conflicts. You also mentioned having to take on an increased workload. Your boss could view your position as being based upon a desire not to work harder and grow the business rather a genuine concern about conflicts.

To be clear, I'm not advocating you break ethics rules. Simply dig deeper, fully understand conflicts rules, and make sure there is an actual and present conflict before you refuse to do the work. Anything less would amount to insubordination. If you do not want to take on the additional work, or are uneasy about the possibility of future conflicts, you can find a new job.

Reply
dingbat (May 11, 2017 - 1:56 pm)

legal revenue? It's a staffing firm. unless the principals are attorneys, they aren't allowed to collect any legal revenue.

Reply
mrtor (May 11, 2017 - 3:32 pm)

OP's broken English and spotty details make it tough to follow along. Correct, the boss would need to be an attorney to legally share in the revenue. I made that assumption because few bosses would pursue such a expansion for OP's personal financial benefit -- the boss is bound to be looking for a piece of the pie.

Reply
meshuggah (May 11, 2017 - 12:16 pm)

Thank you for your answers!!!

@jd4hire yes, there are employment cases. As all of you suggested I'm planning on write an email to the owner as well as my direct boss explaining what I won't do.Also on some cases they have outside counsel but to minimize expenses they try to arrange it I would do their job and I'll send the product for review.So basically since I'm on salary I'll spend 40 hours answering all the discovery for all parties but the outside counsel will spend 5 hours review it and charge only for 5 hours, not 40 if they have done it.

yes, it sucks. I have a job interview today and I have my fingers cross to get ghe job and leave the staffing agency and withdraw as a counsel there from the cases I'm in representing only the staffing company

Reply
retard (May 11, 2017 - 1:46 pm)

Wait. So you are GC to a staffing company and your boss basically wants to maximize your profitability so he's going to also staff you with clients? Do you do doc review or other temp attorney placements?

Reply
dingbat (May 11, 2017 - 1:59 pm)

" on some cases they have outside counsel but to minimize expenses they try to arrange it I would do their job and I'll send the product for review.So basically since I'm on salary I'll spend 40 hours answering all the discovery for all parties but the outside counsel will spend 5 hours review it and charge only for 5 hours, not 40 if they have done it."

um, that's the whole point of having an in-house attorney. THAT'S YOUR JOB! Outside counsel is to do work that is beyond the capabilities of the in-house attorney, either because of specialization or workload. You don't get to btch about being given legal work that your employer needs you to do.

Reply
meshuggah (May 11, 2017 - 2:08 pm)

@dingbat my job is to represent the staffing company not acting like a law firm and represent the clients and the owners which don't pay wages or sexualy harrass or terminate employees.There is a conflict of interest regardless of the fact that we share the same goal business

Reply
meshuggah (May 11, 2017 - 2:10 pm)

@retard as a GC I can not act as law firm and get clients to represent.That's the issue.

Reply
retard (May 11, 2017 - 2:43 pm)

If you are at a closely held company your job is whatever the boss says it is LOL.

If the firm does legal staffing I could see a possible way to make it work if the appropriate controls are set in place and you are paid for your additional work. In its most simple form you would be a part time GC and part time cog being staffed for temp work. As to sharing of legal revenue how does it work with legal staffing firms?

That being said it doesn't sound like your firm does legal staffing and even if they did it sounds like the specific representation being requested might present a conflict. That doesn't mean, however, that your boss pimping you out, again subject to the appropriate controls, inherently presents a conflict, but what he wants in this specific instance probably does.

Reply
meshuggah (May 11, 2017 - 4:01 pm)

The staffing company does not do legal staffing.The company send employees to reestaurants. Because the law considers the restaurant and the staffing agency joint employers they get law wrongful term etc suits for wage and hour, harrasment
I see a conflict when I'm asked to represent both.I'm hired to represent ataffing company perfect but the client which is a 3 rd party meeds to get a lawyer. The restaurants are own by hispanic and hispanic work in the restaurants. I don't even know if the staffing company I work for has malpractice insurance for the GC -me

Reply
meshuggah (May 11, 2017 - 2:13 pm)

@dingbat I can assist the co defendants counsel yes, to minimize the cost, but there is another attorney representing the co defendants.The issue comes when they want to represent everybody for example The staffing company, the client restaurant, the individual owner

Reply
jeffm (May 11, 2017 - 8:35 pm)

This sounds no different than the carrier's counsel representing the insured in a personal injury case. This is not an inherent conflict. It can be done. You need to know the rules of ethics to see what you must do to recognize conflicts and appropriately deal with them if they arise.

I'd not write any letters until you have thoroughly done your research and can include citations to appropriate rules/opinions to back up your positions/concerns.

Reply
meshuggah (May 11, 2017 - 9:24 pm)

I don't see how is similar?!?!

Reply
jeffm (May 11, 2017 - 9:46 pm)

Either your explanation is unclear, or you haven't read the rules. Check them out, and cite the rules which preclude dual representation.

Reply
meshuggah (May 11, 2017 - 9:26 pm)

The conflict comes as a GC you have duty to the Company not the individuals and even more 3rd parties business partners!

Reply
Post a message in this thread