December 11, 2012
Loyalty Trumps Mobility In New Mexico Decision
In a case of first impression, the New Mexico Supreme Court has held that disqualification is mandatory when an associate who played a 'substantial role" in litigation and possesses confidential information moves to a firm involved in the litigation against her former client.
Both the moving associate and her new firm are barred from further representation.
The court noted that it had adopted a more restricted version of Rule 1.11than the ABA Model Rule, and that its rule does not permit screening to prevent imputed disqualification.
While the rule may have a chilling consequence for lawyer mobility, the court emphasized that the public policy considerations that underpin the loyalty to clients justifies the result:
In the practice of law, there is no higher duty than one's loyalty to a client.
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Page 3 of the opinion incorrectly says that Gandy Dancer, a construction company in Albuquerque, is a "Law Firm" -- wonder where that came from?
"BNSF hired a Law Firm, Gandy Dancer, LLC (Gandy Dancer), to construct the new berms, dykes, and channel."
Posted by: Robert Gould | Dec 12, 2012 6:46:03 AM