Dealing with Conflicts

(1991 Ratings)

Produced on: January 18, 2017

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 62 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Conflicts of interest have become more acute and more complex with the growth of law firms, the globalization and increase in concentration of many industries and a no-holds-barred approach to litigation. The consequences of a conflict can be severe: loss of clients and damage to reputation, loss of fees, exposure to sanctions and even malpractice liability. Some conflicts arise from causes such as a misunderstanding of the rules or sloppiness in conflict checks. Some derive from work done by lateral hires, perhaps many years in the past, or may be imputed to a firm from the conduct of co-counsel or consultants.

The ethics rules in the United States are stricter than in many other parts of the world and mean that conflicts may arise for completely unrelated matters where it is unlikely that any serious harm, breach of confidence or lack of loyalty exists. Even these minor or more technical conflicts may have serious consequences for both lawyer and counsel, however.

In addition to understanding the basic conflicts rules and their permutations and exceptions, it is important to understand the possible methods for avoiding or dealing with them as well as the approaches the courts may take to them. Many factors and interests may be considered in the litigation setting; these include the importance of client choice of counsel, distaste for litigants seeking unfair tactical advantage, timing, public perception and the fairness and efficiency of trials.

This program will discuss both the basic ethics and professional responsibility rules and the approaches to conflicts taken by outside and corporate counsel in engagement letters and client guidelines as well as resolutions reached in recent court decisions.

Learning Objectives: 
  1. Identify conflicts and the problems they present

  2. Explain the ethics rules and underlying concepts and policies

  3. Analyze how the ethics rules apply and the exceptions or alternatives to them

  4. Explore possible solutions and alternative approaches


James B. Kobak Jr.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP

JAMES B. KOBAK, JR. serves as General Counsel at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP where he chairs its Practice Standards, Procedures and Ethics Committee and formerly chaired its Antitrust Practice Group.

He is a member of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, the Ethics Institute and Ethics Committee of the New York County Lawyers Association, the Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct of the New York State Bar Association, the Professional Discipline Committee of the New York City Bar Association and the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers. Mr. Kobak is a past president of the New York County Lawyers Association. Mr. Kobak serves as one of two editorial advisors to the New York ethics treatise published by Oxford University Press and on the editorial advisory board of Law 360 Legal Ethics. He was a founder ofNYCLA's American Inn of Court and was awarded NYCLA's Boris Kostelanetz President's Medal in 2006.

Mr. Kobak is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Virginia Law School where he was the Associate Editor of the Law Review. Mr. Kobak served as lead counsel to the SIPA Trustee for the liquidations of Lehman Brothers Inc. and MF Global, Inc. He taught seminars on antitrust/intellectual property issues for over a decade at Fordham and University of Virginia Law Schools and served as editor of the ABA Antitrust Sections' publication Intellectual Property Misuse: Licensing and Litigation.


Douglas V.

Speaker was excellent.

Eric B.

Excellent discussion of the topic.


Excellent presentation

David G.

Very insightful presentation.

Pamela W.


Laura V.

Includes helpful caselaw for guidance

Bonnie F.

good course

Frank K.


Steve S.

Good seminar

Lawrence E.


Michael F.

very timely...just had some issues come up and this addressed them in a very positive way

David E.

Nice presentation

Kathy G.

Terrific amount of information that was explained well, although a lot of information presented in a brief time. excellent presentation.

Janel F.

Very well done and interesting. The 62 minutes flew by quickly.

Marc P.

Interesting and informative.


As with many programs, ethics in California is often subtly different from many other states. Cases from other jurisdictions are often not important.

Cole C.

Makes me scared to practice law! But very useful.

Stewart S.

Very good, broadly comprehensive program with helpful references and citations.

Suzanne T.

Jim Kobak's presentation was clear and informative. I enjoyed listening to this CLE and learned a lot.

Edward H.

Very knowledgeable speaker who explained current trends in an easily digestible format.

Bradley D.

Liked the commentary on lateral hires.

Jordan S.

Good knowledge.

Jaime Alejandro T.

This was one of the best programs I have attended. Thank you. Great references.

Tyler E.

Very helpful. Would highly recommend to any attorney in the entertainment industry, where conflicts occur way too easily.

Cary L.

Very informative subject matter and presenter. The presentation was very professional. Thank you!

Mark K.

Good review and update.

Elizabeth H.

The course material was outstanding--both detailed and helpful.

kathleen s.


Gerald C.


G. Peter B.

Well done. I learned a lot about a topic I don't confront very often.

Douglas R.

Very well Done - great speaker

Dave D.

Nice class

Robin E.

The written materials and numerous citations to applicable case law were excellent.

Erin H.

Really good, substantive, helpful course by a good presenter.

Colin Michael B.

I would have preferred if he had spent a bit more time on the Macy v. JC Penny case and even a bit more on joint representation. Overall presenter was very well-informed.

Lance H.

easy to follow. very thorough. good presentation!

W. Michael M.

Comprehensive and articulate

Amanda C.

Informative, thank you!

John B.

thank you

William F.

Well Done

Douglas F.

Excellent presentation and great pdf cites for future use.

Linda H.


Torrey H.

very informative course

Kevin S.

Enjoyed the course

Batya W.

I thought the instructer was great.

Randy S.

Direct and to the point.

Keith H.

This is an excellent program - very substantive and very important to any practicing lawyer. The speaker's style was low-key but I liked him and it was very clear that he really knew the material. I also liked that he had personal opinions about some of the rules and court decisions. His opinions were thought-provoking. I can going to recommend that others in my firm take this particular course.

Linda R.

Very knowledgable attorney who clearly shares this well with others.

Julie A. B.

This program’s pace is like a sniper round, extraordinarily fast and precisely calibrated. Importantly, it reminds that an attorney’s ethics and knowledge vis-à-vis conflicts of interest may shine like a patch of sun on what might otherwise be an overcast day. Any attorney who does not watch this program is making a mistake. The well-crafted lesson contemplates a variety of ethics problems that could cloud the profession including, for example, former and prospective client conflicts; personal interest conflicts; positional or indirect conflicts; imputation of conflicts; confidentiality and conflicts; and conflict issues surrounding joint representation. The accomplished speaker lays a solid foundation by discussing basic ethics and professional responsibility rules as well as the taxonomy of conflicts. Additionally, he offers approaches to conflicts taken by outside and corporate counsel in engagement letters and client guidelines. Throughout, he integrates resolutions reached in recent court decisions.

Lynne T.

Excellent! Thank you!!!

Load More


$ 59 Ethics In Stock


Get Unlimited Access to Lawline Courses

Unlimited CLE Subscription gives you access to take almost any course from our catalog and earn as much CLE credit as you need.