Ethics of Water Law for Practitioners
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Understand the challenges associated with representing multiple clients in the water law field, as well as the unique concerns.It is a bedrock principle in the legal profession that an attorney owes each client duties of loyalty and of confidentiality. Representation of two or more clients in the same legal matter carries a host of potential conflicts in both an ethical and practical sense. In the realm of water rights, multiple clients often have interests in the same matter, making the identification of potential conflicts a complex analysis. This topic will describe the challenges associated with representing multiple clients in the water law field, as well as the unique concerns when representing multiple public agencies or a combination of public and private clients. The material also provides real-life examples that illustrate the importance of carefully addressing joint representations and potential conflicts to navigate the surrounding ethical complexities. Lastly, the topic will explain when waivers may be necessary, and how they are formed and executed. Failure to implement adequate precautionary measures can lead to adverse consequences for clients, disqualification, and even disciplinary action for attorneys. This material is useful for understanding the pitfalls in representing multiple clients and how to avoid them.
AuthorsAustin C. Cho, Downey Brand LLP Meredith E. Nikkel, Downey Brand LLP
• Who Is the Client?
• Considerations for Joint Representation
• Identifying Conflicts Concerning Water Rights
• Rules of Professional Conduct/Responsibility
• Attorney-Client Privilege and the Common Interest Doctrine
• Unique Considerations in Water Law
• Waiver Process
• Large Multi-Party Representations
• Groundwater Basin Adjudications
• Crafting a Conflict Waiver
• Best Practices