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Oregon Legal Ethics “Hot Potato” Rule


This January 2011 MBA article by Mark Fucile on the “Hot Potato” Rule is either less or more interesting than you might imagine. It is less, if you think it’s an article about lawyers who stand-up their friends and dates when a “better offer” comes along, though, come to think of it, it’s not really much different from that sort of situation.

It is more [interesting], when you actually read it!

Ethics Focus, by Mark Fucile: The “Hot Potato” Rule

(The MBA Multnomah Lawyer newsletter is not available online except to members, but the article’s link is to the author’s law firm, where the article is posted as a PDF – thank you to Mr. Fucile and his law firm for sharing all your articles!)

Can a lawyer or law firm fire, or otherwise withdraw from representing, an existing client if a “better” client comes along who could not otherwise have been represented due to a conflict with the first client?

Excerpt: “…. Welcome to the “Hot Potato” Rule. The short answer, as put by the OSB in Formal Ethics Opnion 2—5-11 (at 2n.1) is no: A lawyer cannot ‘fire’ a current client in mid-matter to avoid the current-client conflict of interest rules….” (Link to full article.)

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