ABA Model Rule 1.10 was recently amended to allow a law firm to erect a screen around a recently hired attorney to prevent that lawyer's conflicts from being imputed to the rest of the firm. It is now clear that the actual language adopted by the ABA does more than that. The rule as drafted appears to allow screening even for non-migrating attorneys. Unless corrected, this could allow firms to purposely represent clients with concurrent conflicts of interest. Apparently, a number of people noted this problem and contacted the ABA. An associate director of the ABA's Center for Professional Responsibility has recently confirmed that this issue has been identified and is being addressed. Stay tuned for the corrected version of the Rule.
Thanks to the Legal Ethics Forum for the "heads up."