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The author is a Chicago-based consultant to lawyers on legal ethics matters.
At some point in an intellectual property (IP) lawsuit, you recognize the name of an individual—we’ll call him Josh—who may be a witness for the other side. Josh is either a current client or former client of your firm, on real estate matters. You may have to take Josh’s deposition or cross-examine Josh at the trial.
Problem? Very possibly. A body of law has developed as to the conflict-of-interest implications if Josh is a current client. The rules are permissive if he is no longer a client, but your obligations do not cease entirely. And caution should govern your planning for any deposition of or other discovery from Josh.