September 1954

CONFLICTING INTERESTS — PARTNER'S EMPLOYMENT — One member of a firm may not represent the defendant in a suit to enforce a divorce decree where another partner, who subsequently joined the firm, had represented the plaintiff in obtaining the divorce originally, even though the plaintiff now has independent counsel.

Canon 6.


Attorney A represented plaintiff in a divorce action in which she gained custody of the children and an award for child support, secured by a lien against the family home.  Subsequently attorney B was employed by the man who had been defendant in the divorce action to bring a suit to modify some of the provisions of the original decree in respect to child support.  Thereafter, A and B became partners.  There is now pending a suit by the woman who was plaintiff in the divorce action to foreclose the lien on the homestead; she is represented in this action by a different attorney, who has no connection with A or B.  The present suit necessarily involves construction of the divorce decree and of the order modifying the decree.  Would it violate the Canons of Ethics for B to represent the ex-husband in the pending litigation?


The members of the committee are unanimously of the opinion that it would violate Canon 6 for B to accept employment in the pending litigation.  (10-0)