Saturday, August 11, 2012

Son May Represent Father In Divorce Against His Mother

The Nevada Supreme Court has held that the son of a divorcing couple is not disqualified from representing his father in the litigation:

This original petition for a writ of mandamus raises two novel issues regarding attorney disqualification: should an attorney who represents one of his parents in a divorce action between both parents be disqualified either (1) because the attorney’s representation will constitute an appearance of impropriety or (2) because representing the parent will violate the concurrent-conflict-of-interest rule in Nevada Rule of Professional Conduct (RPC) 1.7?  Because appearance of impropriety is no longer recognized by the American Bar Association, and we have not recognized the appearance of impropriety as a basis for disqualifying counsel except in the limited circumstance of a public lawyer, we reject that conclusion when the alleged impropriety is based solely on a familial relationship with the attorney.  We also conclude that absent an ethical breach by the attorney that affects the fairness of the entire litigation or a proven confidential relationship between the nonclient parent and the attorney, the nonclient parent lacks standing to seek disqualification under RPC 1.7.

The court reversed the trial court, which had disqualified the son.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal noted that the representation might be contrary to common sense, if not legal ethics. (Mike Frisch)

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Nevada has never been concerned with the “appearance of impropriety”. Nevada is a state where Lawyers contribute to Judicial campaigns (including NV Supreme Court Justices) for incumbents and challengers. Incumbent judges even call lawyers asking for contributions.

If you are interested, there is a blog (by Michael C. Mills, Esq.) explaining the problems with Nevada’s judicial system by someone who is NOT accepting any lawyer contributions to his campaign. Reading how he is “Bucking the System” is interesting and includes comments from other NV lawyers who agree with him. You can find it at

Posted by: MFlint | Aug 18, 2012 3:06:36 PM

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