Study Questions on Personal Interest Conflicts and Fees
1. You are a partner in a small law firm. Another partner in your firm is representing P, who is suing D in a personal injury case. D is represented by your husband, who is counsel for D’s insurance company. Any problems under MR 1.7? Should there be?
2. If it is a forbidden for a lawyer to begin a sexual relationship with a client during the attorney-client relationship, why isn't it also forbidden for them to have a sexual relationship that began before the creation of the attorney-client relationship?3. Why is there a problem with a lawyer providing financial assistance to a client? If there is a problem, why are contingent fee arrangements nevertheless OK?
4. What could possibly be wrong with a lawyer buying his client’s interest in a suit and bringing the case himself? If the client maintains no interest in the suit, how can he possibly be hurt? Does MR 1.8(i) mean that lawyers representing corporations can’t buy shares in their clients?
5. How do contingent fee arrangements provide lawyers with incentives that work to the disadvantage of their clients? How do per-hour fee arrangements provide lawyers with incentives that work to the disadvantage of their clients?
6. Is a contingent fee arrangement in an action to enforce an ex-husband’s alimony obligations under a divorce decree a violation of MR 1.5(d)(1)?
7. Doesn’t a contingent fee arrangement in a criminal defense case simply line up the lawyer’s incentive with the interests of the client? Why should it be prohibited?