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Other attorneys in a state agency's legal department are not automatically disqualified from representing the agency in a hearing because one member of the agency's legal department is on the board of directors of a public advocacy organization that has retained counsel to represent a member of the public at the same hearing. While any conflict the attorney board member may have is not imputed to other members of the agency's legal department, ordinarily it would be prudent to screen such lawyers.

Whenever a potential conflict occurs the affected attorney should promptly disclose it to the agency so that the agency can provide notice of, and implement, any necessary screening procedures.

The attorney who is the member of the board of the public advocacy organization should be careful not to disclose to the organization any information acquired from his representation of the agency that might be relevant to the case at issue, and may properly choose to recuse himself from any discussions involving such cases.

This page was last modified on Tuesday, April 3, 2012