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Two questions about secondments – familiarity and conflicts

From a panel I moderated at the SuperConference, two thoughtful questions arose. How important is it that the law department have worked extensively with the law firm that provides a seconded lawyer? The consensus view of the panelists was that some kind of closeness greatly increases the chances that the temporary placement will thrive.

Second, how do you resolve conflicts of interest if the seconded lawyer continues to work on other matters for the law firm? This risk is an argument for all-in commitment, five days a week, said the panelists. Either that, or erect a clean wall between the secondee and other matters handled by the firm and be sure the client is comfortable with the arrangement (See my post of July 17, 2008: secondment with 12 references; and Jan. 23, 2008: secondments.).