April 03, 2018 Top Story

Appearance-of-Impropriety Test Replaced with Objective Analysis Standard

The “appearance of impropriety” and its perceived conflict is not sufficient under Model Rule 1.9

Amy Mattson

An attorney may not be disqualified from representing a new client based on continuing duties owed to a former client without an objective analysis of the facts surrounding the former representation, according to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

In Worley v. Moore, the supreme court reversed the lower court's decision disqualifying counsel because the obsolete "appearance of impropriety test" was improper, and reliance on the former client's "perceptions of the past representation" did not meet the objective analysis standard required under that state's version of ABA Model Rule 1.9(a).

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