Some corporate clients are making 'unpalatable' demands in outside counsel guidelines, partner says
Corporate clients are increasingly making broad demands in outside counsel guidelines that restrict the type of work law firms can do for other clients, observers say.
The American Lawyer spoke with consultants and lawyers who represent law firms about the more restrictive guidelines.
Professional conduct rules define what constitutes a conflict of interest. But now clients are using outside counsel guidelines to redefine conflicts and restrict the type of other clients the firm can represent, according to a paper presented last year at an ABA conference by Hinshaw & Culbertson partners Anthony Davis and Noah Fiedler.
Davis told the American Lawyer he has learned about the increasing demands through his work as a partner in his firm’s professional practice group.
“Some of the demands clients are making of their outside counsel are so overbroad that they are objectively outrageous,” Davis said. ”I talk to general counsel of large and midsized firms all the time, and they are repeatedly being confronted with demands that are so extreme that they are or ought to be unpalatable.”