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ISBA Ethics Infoline

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Ethics Question of the Week

If I represent business buyer, can I represent seller in a separate matter?

Q. I currently represent the buyer of a business. Can I represent the business’s seller in a wholly unrelated matter?

A. Under IRPC 1.7(a)(1) this is a direct conflict. Comment [7] to that rule says, as an example of a direct conflict, “if a lawyer is asked to represent the seller of a business in negotiations with a buyer represented by the lawyer, not in the same transaction but in another, unrelated matter, the lawyer could not undertake the representation… .”  However, both the Rule and the Comment make it clear that the representation could be undertaken if both clients give informed consent.

Read more Ethics Question of the Week on Illinois Lawyer Now

These questions are representative of calls received on the ISBA’s ethics hotline. The information provided above is meant as an educational tool to highlight potentially applicable Illinois RPC or other ethics resources that might help the lawyer answer the question posed. The information provided isn’t legal advice. Because every situation is different, often complex, and the law is constantly evolving, you shouldn’t rely upon this general information without conducting your own research.