do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

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Anonymous User
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do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 17, 2017 2:37 am

I'm assuming so, but man, that would be so awk...

I'm a current associate in biglaw. I REALLY want to send a demand letter, and potentially then sue, at least two people.

1. A previous sublet landlord (who was a random individual, subletting her own sublet) that kept a $5k security deposit for zero reason. SF ordinance provides for trebled damages.

2. Ex-gf, I made a loan to her for roughly $4k for a car. A couple years ago. Still within statute of limitations. Executed a signed and witnessed contract, with a nice heft interest rate attached.


I mean, this is a huge chunk of change for me, living in a high COL place and struggling with huge debt.

Would I need to clear conflicts to collect on these? Both cases are obviously very straight straightforward, and both defendants have the means to pay. What if I just sent a demand and tried to get a settlement out of them?

I would feel like a goober bringing these to the conflict clearance attorneys. Definitely don't want to be seen like one of those crazies that files stupid ass claims in small claims court.

Advice from other big firm lawyers?

ookoshi
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Re: do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

Postby ookoshi » Wed May 17, 2017 9:53 am

Why would it be awkward? You don't have to disclose details as to why you're suing then, since doing so would waive confidentiality of anything you disclosed.

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kellyfrost
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Re: do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

Postby kellyfrost » Wed May 17, 2017 10:10 am

I would pursue both claims in court. I wouldn't even bother sending a demand letter to the ex-gf. If the contract has been breached, simply file suit in small claims court and serve her. At that point, she has the option to reach out to you and pay or show up to court.

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FullRamboLSGrad
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Re: do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

Postby FullRamboLSGrad » Wed May 17, 2017 10:31 am

Where I live, people in small claims can't be represented might be the same there to.

RaceJudicata
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Re: do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

Postby RaceJudicata » Wed May 17, 2017 11:22 am

Are you planning on sending the demand letter on firm letterhead? That could be a problem. Idk how this would work if your firm has a no moonlighting policy given it would be your own matter. Prob worth asking someone about it, imo. That said, I'm sure you are free to pursue your own claim, just wanna go about it the right way.

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Mickfromgm
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Re: do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

Postby Mickfromgm » Wed May 17, 2017 11:47 am

Instead of asking anonymous people you have never met, why don't you either:

* ask your firm's ethics guru (or the guy/gal that oversees the conflicts check process);
* call and inquire a state or local bar's ethics hotline. In NYC, for example, you can call here http://www.nycbar.org/member-and-career ... s/hotline; or
* have your secretary work with the firm's conflicts checker to clear those names in short order (pretty sure those folks aren't clients of the firm, though I could be wrong) - be very general about the nature of the claim if embarrassing.

Like the above poster said, don't use firm letterhead for these demand letters if that's what you are planning to do (doubt it, but just pointing out).

Barrred
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Re: do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

Postby Barrred » Wed May 17, 2017 12:14 pm

This is clearly not your situation, but I heard a story about a guy in my firm who sent a demand letter to his apartment manager on firm letter head about some minor problem with his apartment. Little did he know, his apartment complex was owned through a subsidiary by the largest real estate development company in the metro area, who was a firm client, and his letter was sent up the chain to the company's GC, who promptly called the partner in charge of the account and asked why his own lawyer were sending him threatening letters.


hlsperson1111
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Re: do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Wed May 17, 2017 12:59 pm

(1) Don't send this letter on firm letterhead, period. I also would not sign your name "Esq."

(2) You definitely need to clear conflicts before you do this. I would also send an email to your firm counsel - they will tell you what to do, and it will not be an issue at all.
Last edited by hlsperson1111 on Wed May 17, 2017 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rpupkin
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Re: do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

Postby rpupkin » Wed May 17, 2017 1:01 pm

Barrred wrote:This is clearly not your situation, but I heard a story about a guy in my firm who sent a demand letter to his apartment manager on firm letter head about some minor problem with his apartment. Little did he know, his apartment complex was owned through a subsidiary by the largest real estate development company in the metro area, who was a firm client, and his letter was sent up the chain to the company's GC, who promptly called the partner in charge of the account and asked why his own lawyer were sending him threatening letters.

Lesson: If you send something in service of a personal matter on firm letterhead without first getting the permission of your firm, you're an idiot.

Also, OP: it's of course not a problem to send complaint letters to landlords or ex-gfs. If my law firm represents AT&T, I don't have to check with my firm before calling to complain about my phone bill.

If it gets to the point that you decide that you're actually going to file a lawsuit, you should tell your firm, but it's unlikely to be an issue.

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rpupkin
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Re: do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

Postby rpupkin » Wed May 17, 2017 1:02 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:(1) Don't send this letter on firm letterhead, period. I also would not sign your name "Esq."

(2) You definitely need to clear conflicts before you do this. I would also send an email to your firm counsel - they will tell you what to do, and it will not be an issue at all.

Even if it's just a demand letter? That doesn't seem right.

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Re: do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 17, 2017 1:08 pm

If you are sending a letter that even implicitly threatens litigation, you should clear conflicts. It does not take long, and there's no downside (unless the target of the demand letter is a firm client, in which case you shouldn't be sending the letter in the first instance).

ETA: Sorry, this is hlsperson11111.

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Re: do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 17, 2017 1:38 pm

OP here.

Thanks for all the advice guys. One of my main hangups for why it would be "weird," if I had to describe some circumstances, was the fact that one defendant is an ex-gf. If I told the story it's hard to omit, but I guess I could just say it was an old friend or something..still would rather not tho

I've never run a conflict check for an opposing party before... not sure how much detail they ask for for this opposed to bringing on a client.. I've run conflicts for bringing in a couple clients, and they wanted a significant amount of info, but obviously that is a more important conflict check. I just feel like I wouldn't want that tidbit ending up in my practice group head's inbox for some reason.

hlsperson1111
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Re: do I need to clear a conflict check for my own demand/suit?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Wed May 17, 2017 2:06 pm

Not much detail. At my firm, you would just need to list yourself, the other parties involved, and a generic description like "Send demand letter in landlord-tenant dispute" or "Send demand letter in potential breach of contract dispute."




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