Recently, a lawyer in Western Australia who worked for a firm representing a woman who is seeking a divorce moved to the firm that is representing that women's ex. The woman went to court, demanding that her ex get new lawyers. She claimed that the lawyer who moved to the firm representing her husband knows too much about her, which could negatively affect her case.
The judge ruled against her, claiming the lawyer was not likely to share information. In a similar case, however, the judge ruled the opposite way. If you find yourself in the midst of a case like this and you want to make a compelling argument that your ex should have to get new counsel, there are several things you should keep in mind.
1. What has the lawyer seen?
If the judge determines that the lawyer has only done clerical work surrounding your case, the judge may deny your claim to force your ex to get new counsel. To prevent this risk, you need to create an exhaustive list of everything that lawyer has seen, and you also have to explain why this information is confidential and how it affects your case.
2. What percentage of your billable hours did that lawyer claim?
The law firm representing you should track all of your billable hours, and they should also know which lawyer claimed those hours. Talk with your legal team about how many hours the lawyer who moved to your ex's team worked. Then, figure out that number as a percentage of the total. The more a lawyer has worked on your case, the more likely he or she has seen too much and shouldn't be on the other side.
3. How well does the lawyer know you?
In the case cited above, the woman argued that the lawyer knew about her personal state, and she was worried that the lawyer would share those details with the new firm in ways that would impact the custody settlement. If you believe that the lawyer knows too much about your emotional state or about you in general, prove this to the court by producing any texts, emails or other messages shared between the two of you.
Also, give your lawyers information about other conversations you had with the lawyer who moved. Even if it was only a short but detailed conversation in the hallway between meetings, it could be significant.
4. What is the other firm doing to distance this lawyer from your case?
In most cases, it would be completely unethical for the lawyer to switch from representing you to representing your ex. As a result, in cases like these, the law firm should be doing something to prohibit the recently transferred lawyer from working on the case from the opposite side or even from sharing any information about the case with his or her new colleagues.
Is your ex's firm taking these precautions? Are they banning anyone from talking to that lawyer about your case? If they aren't taking any steps, that could help you win your case to demand that your ex needs new counsel.Share