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US Govt. Objects To #Megaupload Hiring Top Law Firm - US still trying to deny it a fair trial using any means
glyn moody's profile photoWerner Van Belle's profile photoJon Peatfield's profile photoFrancis Davey's profile photo
This is a standard objection now when "organized crime" figures are before the bar. The government argues that the lawyer must have been hired with the ill-gotten gains, and that all the defendant's gains are ill-gotten. Lawyers then argue they're taking the defendant's case out of principle (even if they're getting paid) and the judge makes a decision.
yes, it's very worrying, because it allows the government to hobble any defence.
that the US government is keen to slide down at great velocity, it would seem...
I'm not among those who find Kim Dotcom a hero. But I take your point.
well, as you appreciate, it's not about him, it's about justice and due process
This is the new inquisition. Next up he needs to prove that he is not a wich. They will burn him at the stake regardless. A good reminder to start telling people what is going wrong nowadays. Very soon we might not be able to do that anymore.
If lawyers are never allowed to represent those who have interests which go against any of the lawyers former clients then pretty soon they would find that they have no new clients.

I always thought that the lawyers were (supposed to be) representing the best interests of their clients, and as such could be expected to argue different positions for different clients, though clearly not at the same time.

+Francis Davey does the us government's argument make any sense?
Well, things work differently in the US but from an England/Wales perspective there's a small (but only small) point of sense there.

The concern with former clients is that if I have acted for A and, in so doing, gained access to lots of privileged information, then if I later act for B suing A, I might potentially make use of that secret information, which I have a duty to keep confidential on A's behalf as a former client. Potential conflict.

There ought to be ways of avoiding that conflict in a firm of any decent size - but small outfits like me can't put a "Chinese wall" up in our heads. I've no idea to what extent that principle is applied in the US.

In fact its possible - but not advised in the usual run of things - to represent opposing clients in different cases where there's no conflict between those cases. I realised - but only after the fact - that I was once double-booked to appear for and against someone in two separate hearings in the same court (they held one hearing so I could do both). But that is rather unusual and probably not a good idea in general (in that case the "someone" was a large public body that didn't care, I was making legal argument in both cases, neither overlapped, and the decision in one case had no relationship with the one in the other - still I won't do it again).

I'm rather more concerned about the idea that former clients who might be called as witnesses might be an issue. There's no property in a witness and it seems to me the possible conflicts may still be there but are much less sharp. It ought to be possible to deal with them without drastically reducing a firm's possibility of representation.

NB: It used to be SOP in London to instruct all the QC's in a particular area of practice on retainer so that one's opponents couldn't instruct them. That practice is now frowned upon and doesn't (as far as I know) happen.
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