Job Negotiations with Adverse Firm or Party
A lawyer's pursuit of employment with a firm or party that he is opposing in a matter may materially limit his representation of his client, in violation of Model Rule 1.7(b). Therefore, the lawyer must consult with his client and obtain the client's consent before that point in the discussions when such discussions are reasonably likely to materially interfere with the lawyer's professional judgment. Where the lawyer has had a limited role in a matter or has had limited client contact, it will ordinarily be more appropriate for him to consult with his supervisor, rather than directly with the client. Generally, the time for consultation and consent will be the time at which the lawyer agrees to engage in substantive discussions of his experience, clients, or business potential, or the terms of a possible association, with the opposing firm or party. If client consent is not given, the lawyer may not pursue such discussions unless he is permitted to withdraw from the matter. While the negotiating lawyer's conflict of interest is not imputed to other lawyers in his firm, those other lawyers must evaluate whether they may themselves have a conflict by virtue of their own interest in their colleague's negotiations. Lawyers in the law firm negotiating with the lawyer also have a conflict, requiring similar action to resolve, if their becoming associated with the lawyer would cause their firm's disqualification, or if the interest of any of those lawyers in the job-seeking lawyer's becoming associated with the firm may materially limit their representation of a client adverse to the job-seeking lawyer.