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Los Angeles Lawyer
The Magazine of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

MCLE Test and Answer Sheet
Test No. 134: Screened Out
(February 2005)


Instructions for Obtaining MCLE Credits


The Los Angeles County Bar Association certifies that this activity has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education legal ethics credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of 1 hour. To apply for credit, please follow the instructions.

1. Study the CLE article.


2. Answer the test questions by marking the appropriate boxes. Each question has only one answer.

3. Photocopies of this answer sheet may be submitted; however, this form should not be enlarged or reduced. Mail the answer sheet and the $15 testing fee ($20 for non-LACBA members) to:

Los Angeles Lawyer
MCLE Test
P.O. Box 55020
Los Angeles, CA 90055 

Make checks payable to Los Angeles Lawyer.

4. You can also fill in the test form and submit it directly to LACBA by clicking "Submit." To submit your test answers online you will need to pay by credit card. After submitting your answers you will be presented with a screen requesting payment information. This information will be submitted in a secure mode which will allow you to safely transmit your credit card number over the Internet. If you prefer not to pay by credit card, please print this answer sheet and submit your responses by regular mail.

5. Within six weeks, Los Angeles Lawyer will return your test with the correct answers, a rationale for the correct answers, and a certificate verifying the CLE credit you earned through this self-assessment activity.

6. For future reference, please retain the CLE test materials returned to you.

Test Sheet 

Mark your answers to the test by clicking next to your choice.  All questions must be answered.  Each question has only one answer. This test is worth 1 hour of credit.*

1. A law firm hiring an attorney formerly employed by a government agency may not represent a party suing the agency that employed the firm's new associate.
  A. True in all cases.
  B. True, but only if the new attorney has confidential information from the agency.
  C. False in all cases.
  D. False, but the new attorney should be screened from involvement in the case.

2. The policy reasons for permitting a law firm to represent interests adverse to the former government employer of one of the firm's attorneys include:
  A. The right of private parties to the counsel of their choice.
  B. The encouragement of employment prospects for former government attorneys.
  C. The goal of ensuring that government agencies attract good attorneys.
  D. All of the above.

3. If a new partner has ongoing responsibilities to an old client, the entire firm is disqualified from representing interests adverse to the old client.
  A. True in all cases.
  B. True, unless there is an ethical screen in place.
  C. False.

4. If a firm's new associate made appearances at his or her old firm for a party in a case that is still pending, the entire firm presently employing the associate is disqualified from representing any adverse interest in the pending case.
  A. True in all cases.
  B. True, unless there is an ethical screen in place.
  C. False.

5. If any attorney in a private law firm has a conflict of interest based on a past representation of a former client, the entire firm is disqualified, regardless of any ethical screening.
  A. True.
  B. There is authority for this statement, but the authority has been questioned.
  C. False.

6. Former judges or court commissioners have a conflict of interest preventing the representation of interests adverse to parties who appeared before them while they held their judicial offices.
  A. True, if a bench officer was privy to confidential information.
  B. True in all cases.
  C. False.

7. If a former judge has a conflict, his or her entire new firm shares the same conflict, regardless of any ethical screens.
  A. The case law makes clear that this is true.
  B. The case law makes clear that this is false.
  C. There is conflicting authority on this question.

8. The primary policy consideration in requiring disqualification based on past representation is:
  A. Protecting the integrity of client confidences.
  B. Distributing employment fairly among attorneys.
  C. Assuring that judgments are based on the truth.

9. An attorney who changes firms is deemed to have all the knowledge of all the attorneys with whom he or she was formerly associated.
 True.
  False.

10. Policy considerations against disqualification of an entire firm based on the past representation of one of the attorneys in the firm include:
  A. The modern-day realities of large firm practice.
  B. A recognition of the tactical use of disqualification motions.
  C. The right of parties to counsel of their choice.
  D. All of the above.

11. A government agency is automatically disqualified from any matter in which the head of the agency would have a conflict, regardless of any ethical screens.
  A. True.
  B. False.
  C. The issue is currently pending before the California Supreme Court.

12. A government agency can avoid a conflict of interest based on a past representation by an agency attorney who is not head of the agency, if the attorney with the conflict is screened from involvement in the case.
  True.
  False.

13. An attorney who is of counsel is treated the same as a partner or associate for purposes of vicarious disqualification of the firm based on past representation.
  True.
  False.

14. Public defenders can never join a district attorney's office, because their former clients could never be prosecuted.
 True.
  False.

15. ABA Formal Opinions on vicarious disqualification issues:
  A. Have been cited as influential in California cases.
  B. Mean nothing in California because California has not adopted the ABA Model Rules.

16. Trial courts have such wide discretion in approving the efficacy of ethical screens that no trial court decision in this area has ever been overturned by a writ.
  True.
  False.

17. The issue of vicarious disqualification is most often raised by a motion to disqualify opposing counsel.
  True.
  False.

18. The issue of vicarious disqualification first arose in California in a case involving a public defender joining a district attorney's office.
  True.
  False.

19. Ethical screens will never pass muster if a firm's new attorney has a conflict based on representing both sides in the same case.
  True.
  False.

20. A case questioning the distinction between the public sector and the private sector in vicarious disqualification cases is pending before the California Supreme Court.
  True.
  False.

Address and Billing 
After submitting your answers you will be asked to enter your name, address, and payment information on the next screen. Once you have submitted the current form, you will be switched to a secure mode which will allow you to safely transmit your credit card number over the Internet.

If you do not wish to complete this transaction over the Internet you should print this page and send it to the address listed in Step 3 of the instructions at the top of this page.

 
Before clicking the Submit button, please verify that all questions have been answered. An error message will appear if not all questions are answered.

*The Los Angeles County Bar Association has been approved as a continuing legal education provider of Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California. This self-assessment activity will qualify for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of one hour.

   
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