What started as a trickle has now become a flood, as major law firms have embraced the practice of inserting into every retainer letter, often buried on page 5 in paragraph 16, a wholesale prospective waiver that would permit the law firm to take on any representation against the new client so long as the matters are not substantially related. No limitation as to matters that are not waivable under Rule 1.7(b)(1). No limitation as to time. No limitation as to matters not litigated. No limitation as to the subject matter of the adverse representation. No limitation as to the identity of the adverse party or parties who would be represented adverse to the client that is granting the prospective waiver. Can such a waiver come close to being given with informed consent? Of course not.You can read the full article here. The article is by Larry Fox, a former member of the ABA Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility. For some comments on the article go to the Legal Ethics Forum, here.
Thanks to the LEF for the link to the article.