85-F-93 - No Vicarious Disqualification because of personal interest of withdrawing lawyer

FORMAL ETHICS OPINION 85-F-93


Inquiry is made by the law firm of A B & C concerning the ethical
propriety of attorney B now undertaking to represent client X after
attorney A withdrew from representing X due to personal reasons.


During the course of A's representation of X, she learned that her first cousin was an
officer of the corporation which was one of the adverse parties. She later learned that one
of the individual adverse parties was dating her cousin. Thereafter, the cousin officer of
the defendant corporation and the individual defendant married. Attorney A then felt
compelled to withdraw from representing X, even though the client was fully informed
concerning the matter and requested that the law firm continue to represent her.
It appears that A exercised her personal discretion to withdraw from representation of X
rather than being required to withdraw due to a Disciplinary Rule. In instances such as
this, the vicarious disqualification provisions of Disciplinary Rule 5-105(D) do not apply.
Therefore, A's associates or partners are not prohibited from representing X.
This 6th day of May , 1985.
ETHICS COMMITTEE:
Edwin C. Townsend, Chairman
W. J. Flippin
Henry H. Hancock
APPROVED AND ADOPTED BY THE BOARD