Rule 1.12. Former Judge, Arbitrator, Mediator or Other Third-Party Neutral

(a) Except as stated in paragraph (d), a lawyer shall not represent anyone in connection with a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially as a judge or other adjudicative officer or law clerk to such a person or as an arbitrator, mediator or other third-party neutral, unless all parties to the proceeding give informed consent, confirmed in writing.

(b) A lawyer shall not negotiate for employment with any person who is involved as a party or as lawyer for a party in a matter in which the lawyer is participating personally and substantially as a judge or other adjudicative officer or as an arbitrator, mediator or other third-party neutral. A lawyer serving as a law clerk to a judge or other adjudicative officer may negotiate for employment with a party or lawyer involved in a matter in which the clerk is participating personally and substantially, but only after the lawyer has notified the judge, or other adjudicative officer.

(c) If a lawyer is disqualified by paragraph (a), no lawyer in a firm with which that lawyer is associated may knowingly undertake or continue representation in the matter unless:

(1) the disqualified lawyer is timely screened from any participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom; and

(2) written notice is promptly given to the parties and any appropriate tribunal to enable them to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this rule.

(d) An arbitrator selected as a partisan of a party in a multi-member arbitration panel is not prohibited from subsequently representing that party.

Background

The Louisiana Supreme Court adopted this rule on January 21, 2004. It became effective on March 1, 2004, and has not been amended since. This rule is identical to ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.12 (2002).

Paragraph (c): Nonconsensual Screening of Other Third-Party Neutrals

Under the former Model Rule, the individual disqualification of a former judge or arbitrator was not imputed to an associated lawyer in a law firm if the conditions in (c)(1) and (2) were satisfied. The ABA determined that mediators and other third-party neutrals should be treated in the same manner because (1) there is typically less confidential information obtained in these proceedings than when the lawyer represents clients in a client-lawyer relationship, and (2) although the third-party neutral usually owes a duty of confidentiality to the parties, it is not the same duty of confidentiality owed under Rule 1.6. The ABA Ethics 2000 Commission also heard testimony that third-party neutrals do not share information with other lawyers in the firm in the same manner as lawyers representing clients. Finally, the ABA was concerned that failure to permit screening might inhibit the extent to which lawyers serve as third-party neutrals, particularly in voluntary, court-based alternative dispute resolution programs. See ABA Ethics 2000 Commission Revision Notes to Model Rule 1.12 (2002).

Comments to ABA Model Rule 1.12

[1] This Rule generally parallels Rule 1.11. The term “personally and substantially” signifies that a judge who was a member of a multimember court, and thereafter left judicial office to practice law, is not prohibited from representing a client in a matter pending in the court, but in which the former judge did not participate. So also the fact that a former judge exercised administrative responsibility in a court does not prevent the former judge from acting as a lawyer in a matter where the judge had previously exercised remote or incidental administrative responsibility that did not affect the merits. Compare the Comment to Rule 1.11. The term “adjudicative officer” includes such officials as judges pro tempore, referees, special masters, hearing officers and other parajudicial officers, and also lawyers who serve as part-time judges. Compliance Canons A(2), B(2) and C of the Model Code of Judicial Conduct provide that a part-time judge, judge pro tempore or retired judge recalled to active service, may not “act as a lawyer in any proceeding in which he served as a judge or in any other proceeding related thereto.” Although phrased differently from this Rule, those Rules correspond in meaning.

[2] Like former judges, lawyers who have served as arbitrators, mediators or other third-party neutrals may be asked to represent a client in a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially. This Rule forbids such representation unless all of the parties to the proceedings give their informed consent, confirmed in writing. See Rule 1.0(e) and (b). Other law or codes of ethics governing third-party neutrals may impose more stringent standards of personal or imputed disqualification. See Rule 2.4.

[3] Although lawyers who serve as third-party neutrals do not have information concerning the parties that is protected under Rule 1.6, they typically owe the parties an obligation of confidentiality under law or codes of ethics governing third-party neutrals. Thus, paragraph (c) provides that conflicts of the personally disqualified lawyer will be imputed to other lawyers in a law firm unless the conditions of this paragraph are met.

[4] Requirements for screening procedures are stated in Rule 1.0(k). Paragraph (c)(1) does not prohibit the screened lawyer from receiving a salary or partnership share established by prior independent agreement, but that lawyer may not receive compensation directly related to the matter in which the lawyer is disqualified.

[5] Notice, including a description of the screened lawyer’s prior representation and of the screening procedures employed, generally should be given as soon as practicable after the need for screening becomes apparent.

Annotations

Generally

Louisiana Rule 1.12(a) generally prohibits a former judge, arbitrator, law clerk or third-party netural from acting as a lawyer in connection with a matter in which the person participated “personally and substantially” as an adjudicative officer or law clerk. However, this conflict can be cured through securing the consent of “all parties to the proceeding.”

Louisiana Rule 1.12(b) prohibits a current judge or arbitrator from negotiating employment with a lawyer who is “personally and substantially” involved in a pending proceeding. This conflict is nonconsentable. In contrast, a current law clerk may negotiate employment with a lawyer involved in a proceeding before the judge or arbitrator after the law clerk has so notified the judge or arbitrator.

Disciplinary Sanctions

For the disciplinary sanctions that are appropriate for a lawyer’s failure to avoid conflicts of interest, see supra Annotations to Louisiana Rule 1.7.

Notes

This page was updated on July 31, 2013.