N.M. R. Prof'l. Cond. 16-107

As amended through January 19, 2021
Rule 16-107 - Conflict of interest; current clients
A.Representation involving concurrent conflict of interest. Except as provided in Paragraph B of this rule, a lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of interest exists if:
(1) the representation of one client will be directly adverse to another client; or
(2) there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer's responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer.
B.Permissible representation when concurrent conflict exists. Notwithstanding the existence of a concurrent conflict of interest under Paragraph A of this rule, a lawyer may represent a client if:
(1) the lawyer reasonably believes that the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client;
(2) the representation is not prohibited by law;
(3) the representation does not involve the assertion of a claim by one client against another client represented by the lawyer in the same litigation or other proceeding before a tribunal; and
(4) each affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.

N.M. R. Prof'l. Cond. 16-107

As amended by Supreme Court Order No. 08-8300-029, effective November 3, 2008.

Committee commentary. -

General Principles

[1] Loyalty and independent judgment are essential elements in the lawyer's relationship to a client. Concurrent conflicts of interest can arise from the lawyer's responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or from the lawyer's own interests. For specific rules regarding certain concurrent conflicts of interest, see Rule 16-108 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct. For former client conflicts of interest, see Rule 16-109 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct. For conflicts of interest involving prospective clients, see Rule 16-118 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct. For definitions of "confirmed in writing" and "informed consent", see Paragraphs B and E of Terminology of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

[2] Resolution of a conflict of interest problem under this rule requires the lawyer to: 1) clearly identify the client or clients; 2) determine whether a conflict of interest exists; 3) decide whether the representation may be undertaken despite the existence of a conflict, i.e., whether the conflict is consentable; and 4) if so, consult with the clients affected under Paragraph A and obtain their informed consent, confirmed in writing. The clients affected under Paragraph A include both of the clients referred to in Subparagraph (1) of Paragraph A and the one or more clients whose representation might be materially limited under Subparagraph (2) of Paragraph A.

[3] A conflict of interest may exist before representation is undertaken, in which event the representation must be declined, unless the lawyer obtains the informed consent of each client under the conditions of Paragraph B. To determine whether a conflict of interest exists, a lawyer should adopt reasonable procedures, appropriate for the size and type of firm and practice, to determine in both litigation and non-litigation matters the persons and issues involved. See also Committee Commentary to Rule 16-501 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Ignorance caused by a failure to institute such procedures will not excuse a lawyer's violation of this rule. As to whether a client-lawyer relationship exists or, having once been established, is continuing, see Committee Commentary to Rule 16-103 NMRA and Scope of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

[4] If a conflict arises after representation has been undertaken, the lawyer ordinarily must withdraw from the representation, unless the lawyer has obtained the informed consent of the client under the conditions of Paragraph B. See Rule 16-116 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Where more than one client is involved, whether the lawyer may continue to represent any of the clients is determined both by the lawyer's ability to comply with duties owed to the former client and by the lawyer's ability to represent adequately the remaining client or clients, given the lawyer's duties to the former client. See Rule 16-109 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

[5] Unforeseeable developments, such as changes in corporate and other organizational affiliations or the addition or realignment of parties in litigation, might create conflicts in the midst of a representation, as when a company sued by the lawyer on behalf of one client is bought by another client represented by the lawyer in an unrelated matter. Depending on the circumstances, the lawyer may have the option to withdraw from one of the representations in order to avoid the conflict. The lawyer must seek court approval where necessary and take steps to minimize harm to the clients. See Rule 16-116 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The lawyer must continue to protect the confidences of the client from whose representation the lawyer has withdrawn. See Paragraph C of Rule 16-109 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Identifying Conflicts of Interest: Directly Adverse

[6] Loyalty to a current client prohibits undertaking representation directly adverse to that client without that client's informed consent. Thus, absent consent, a lawyer may not act as an advocate in one matter against a person the lawyer represents in some other matter, even when the matters are wholly unrelated. The client as to whom the representation is directly adverse is likely to feel betrayed, and the resulting damage to the client-lawyer relationship is likely to impair the lawyer's ability to represent the client effectively. In addition, the client on whose behalf the adverse representation is undertaken reasonably may fear that the lawyer will pursue that client's case less effectively out of deference to the other client, i.e., that the representation may be materially limited by the lawyer's interest in retaining the current client. Similarly, a directly adverse conflict may arise when a lawyer is required to cross-examine a client who appears as a witness in a lawsuit involving another client, as when the testimony will be damaging to the client who is represented in the lawsuit. On the other hand, simultaneous representation in unrelated matters of clients whose interests are only economically adverse, such as representation of competing economic enterprises in unrelated litigation, does not ordinarily constitute a conflict of interest and thus may not require consent of the respective clients.

[7] Directly adverse conflicts can also arise in transactional matters. For example, 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 without the informed consent of each client.

Identifying Conflicts of Interest: Material Limitation

[8] Even where there is no direct adverseness, a conflict of interest exists if there is a significant risk that a lawyer's ability to consider, recommend or carry out an appropriate course of action for the client will be materially limited as a result of the lawyer's other responsibilities or interests. For example, a lawyer asked to represent several individuals seeking to form a joint venture is likely to be materially limited in the lawyer's ability to recommend or advocate all possible positions that each might take because of the lawyer's duty of loyalty to the others. The conflict in effect forecloses alternatives that would otherwise be available to the client. The mere possibility of subsequent harm does not itself require disclosure and consent. The critical questions are the likelihood that a difference in interests will eventuate and, if it does, whether it will materially interfere with the lawyer's independent professional judgment in considering alternatives or foreclose courses of action that reasonably should be pursued on behalf of the client.

Lawyer's Responsibilities to Former Clients and Other Third Persons

[9] In addition to conflicts with other current clients, a lawyer's duties of loyalty and independence may be materially limited by responsibilities to former clients under Rule 16-109 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct or by the lawyer's responsibilities to other persons, such as fiduciary duties arising from a lawyer's service as a trustee, executor or corporate director.

Personal Interest Conflicts

[10] The lawyer's own interests should not be permitted to have an adverse effect on representation of a client. For example, if the probity of a lawyer's own conduct in a transaction is in serious question, it may be difficult or impossible for the lawyer to give a client detached advice. Similarly, when a lawyer has discussions concerning possible employment with an opponent of the lawyer's client, or with a law firm representing the opponent, such discussions could materially limit the lawyer's representation of the client. In addition, a lawyer may not allow related business interests to affect representation, for example, by referring clients to an enterprise in which the lawyer has an undisclosed financial interest. See Rule 16-108 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct for specific rules pertaining to a number of personal interest conflicts, including business transactions with clients. See also Rule 16-110 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct (personal interest conflicts under Rule 16-107 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct ordinarily are not imputed to other lawyers in a law firm).

[11] When lawyers representing different clients in the same matter or in substantially related matters are closely related by blood or marriage, there may be a significant risk that client confidences will be revealed and that the lawyer's family relationship will interfere with both loyalty and independent professional judgment. As a result, each client is entitled to know of the existence and implications of the relationship between the lawyers before the lawyer agrees to undertake the representation. Thus, a lawyer related to another lawyer, e.g., as parent, child, sibling or spouse, ordinarily may not represent a client in a matter where that lawyer is representing another party, unless each client gives informed consent. The disqualification arising from a close family relationship is personal and ordinarily is not imputed to members of firms with whom the lawyers are associated. See Rule 16-110 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

[12] The relationship between lawyer and client is a fiduciary one in which the lawyer occupies the highest position of trust and confidence. The relationship is almost always unequal; thus, a sexual relationship between lawyer and client can involve unfair exploitation of the lawyer's fiduciary role, in violation of the lawyer's basic ethical obligation not to use the trust of the client to the client's disadvantage. In addition, such a relationship presents a significant danger that, because of the lawyer's emotional involvement, the lawyer will be unable to represent the client without impairment of the exercise of independent professional judgment.

Interest of Person Paying for a Lawyer's Service

[13] A lawyer may be paid from a source other than the client, including a co-client, if the client is informed of that fact and consents and the arrangement does not compromise the lawyer's duty of loyalty or independent judgment to the client. See Paragraph F of Rule 16-108 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct. If acceptance of the payment from any other source presents a significant risk that the lawyer's representation of the client will be materially limited by the lawyer's own interest in accommodating the person paying the lawyer's fee or by the lawyer's responsibilities to a payer who is also a co-client, then the lawyer must comply with the requirements of Paragraph B before accepting the representation, including determining whether the conflict is consentable and, if so, that the client has adequate information about the material risks of the representation.

Prohibited Representations

[14] Ordinarily, clients may consent to representation notwithstanding a conflict. However, as indicated in Paragraph B, some conflicts are non-consentable, meaning that the lawyer involved cannot properly ask for such agreement or provide representation on the basis of the client's consent. When the lawyer is representing more than one client, the question of consentability must be resolved as to each client.

[15] Consentability is typically determined by considering whether the interests of the clients will be adequately protected if the clients are permitted to give their informed consent to representation burdened by a conflict of interest. Thus, under Subparagraph (1) of Paragraph B, representation is prohibited if in the circumstances the lawyer cannot reasonably conclude that the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation. See Rule 16-101 NMRA (Competence) and Rule 16-103 NMRA (Diligence) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

[16] Subparagraph (2) of Paragraph B describes conflicts that are non-consentable because the representation is prohibited by applicable law. For example, in some states substantive law provides that the same lawyer may not represent more than one defendant in a capital case, even with the consent of the clients, and under federal criminal statutes certain representations by a former government lawyer are prohibited, despite the informed consent of the former client. In addition, decisional law in some states limits the ability of a governmental client, such as a municipality, to consent to a conflict of interest.

[17] Subparagraph (3) of Paragraph B describes conflicts that are non-consentable because of the institutional interest in vigorous development of each client's position when the clients are aligned directly against each other in the same litigation or other proceeding before a tribunal. Whether clients are aligned directly against each other within the meaning of this paragraph requires examination of the context of the proceeding. Although this paragraph does not preclude a lawyer's multiple representation of adverse parties to a mediation (because mediation is not a proceeding before a "tribunal" under Paragraph M of Terminology of the Rules of Professional Conduct), such representation may be precluded by Subparagraph (1) of Paragraph B of this rule.

Informed Consent

[18] Informed consent requires that each affected client be aware of the relevant circumstances and of the material and reasonably foreseeable ways that the conflict could have adverse effects on the interests of that client. See Paragraph E of Terminology of the Rules of Professional Conduct (informed consent). The information required depends on the nature of the conflict and the nature of the risks involved. When representation of multiple clients in a single matter is undertaken, the information must include the implications of the common representation, including possible effects on loyalty, confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege and the advantages and risks involved. See Special Considerations in Common Representation, below.

[19] Under some circumstances it may be impossible to make the disclosure necessary to obtain consent. For example, when the lawyer represents different clients in related matters and one of the clients refuses to consent to the disclosure necessary to permit the other client to make an informed decision, the lawyer cannot properly ask the latter to consent. In some cases the alternative to common representation can be that each party may have to obtain separate representation with the possibility of incurring additional costs. These costs, along with the benefits of securing separate representation, are factors that may be considered by the affected client in determining whether common representation is in the client's interests.

Consent Confirmed in Writing

[20] Paragraph B requires the lawyer to obtain the informed consent of the client, confirmed in writing. Such a writing may consist of a document executed by the client or one that the lawyer promptly records and transmits to the client following an oral consent. See Paragraph B of Terminology of the Rules of Professional Conduct; see also Paragraph N of Terminology of the Rules of Professional Conduct (writing includes electronic transmission). If it is not feasible to obtain or transmit the writing at the time the client gives informed consent, then the lawyer must obtain or transmit it within a reasonable time thereafter. See Paragraph B of Terminology of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The requirement of a writing does not supplant the need in most cases for the lawyer to talk with the client, to explain the risks and advantages, if any, of representation burdened with a conflict of interest, as well as reasonably available alternatives, and to afford the client a reasonable opportunity to consider the risks and alternatives and to raise questions and concerns. Rather, the writing is required in order to impress upon clients the seriousness of the decision the client is being asked to make and to avoid disputes or ambiguities that might later occur in the absence of a writing.

Revoking Consent

[21] A client who has given consent to a conflict may revoke the consent and, like any other client, may terminate the lawyer's representation at any time. Whether revoking consent to the client's own representation precludes the lawyer from continuing to represent other clients depends on the circumstances, including the nature of the conflict, whether the client revoked consent because of a material change in circumstances, the reasonable expectations of the other client and whether material detriment to the other clients or the lawyer would result.

Consent to Future Conflict

[22] Whether a lawyer may properly request a client to waive conflicts that might arise in the future is subject to the test of Paragraph B. The effectiveness of such waivers is generally determined by the extent to which the client reasonably understands the material risks that the waiver entails. The more comprehensive the explanation of the types of future representations that might arise and the actual and reasonably foreseeable adverse consequences of those representations, the greater the likelihood that the client will have the requisite understanding. Thus, if the client agrees to consent to a particular type of conflict with which the client is already familiar, then the consent ordinarily will be effective with regard to that type of conflict. If the consent is general and open-ended, then the consent ordinarily will be ineffective, because it is not reasonably likely that the client will have understood the material risks involved. On the other hand, if the client is an experienced user of the legal services involved and is reasonably informed regarding the risk that a conflict may arise, such consent is more likely to be effective, particularly if, e.g., the client is independently represented by other counsel in giving consent and the consent is limited to future conflicts unrelated to the subject of the representation. In any case, advance consent cannot be effective if the circumstances that materialize in the future are such as would make the conflict non-consentable under Paragraph B.

Conflicts in Litigation

[23] Subparagraph (3) of Paragraph B prohibits representation of opposing parties in the same litigation, regardless of the clients' consent. On the other hand, simultaneous representation of parties whose interests in litigation may conflict, such as co-plaintiffs or co-defendants, is governed by Subparagraph (2) of Paragraph A. A conflict may exist by reason of substantial discrepancy in the parties' testimony, incompatibility in positions in relation to an opposing party or the fact that there are substantially different possibilities of settlement of the claims or liabilities in question. Such conflicts can arise in criminal cases as well as civil. The potential for conflict of interest in representing multiple defendants in a criminal case is so grave that ordinarily a lawyer should decline to represent more than one co-defendant. On the other hand, common representation of persons having similar interests in civil litigation is proper if the requirements of Paragraph B are met.

[24] Ordinarily a lawyer may take inconsistent legal positions in different tribunals at different times on behalf of different clients. The mere fact that advocating a legal position on behalf of one client might create precedent adverse to the interests of a client represented by the lawyer in an unrelated matter does not create a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest exists, however, if there is a significant risk that a lawyer's action on behalf of one client will materially limit the lawyer's effectiveness in representing another client in a different case; for example, when a decision favoring one client will create a precedent likely to seriously weaken the position taken on behalf of the other client. Factors relevant in determining whether the clients need to be advised of the risk include: where the cases are pending, whether the issue is substantive or procedural, the temporal relationship between the matters, the significance of the issue to the immediate and long-term interests of the clients involved and the clients' reasonable expectations in retaining the lawyer. If there is significant risk of material limitation, then absent informed consent of the affected clients, the lawyer must refuse one of the representations or withdraw from one or both matters.

[25] When a lawyer represents or seeks to represent a class of plaintiffs or defendants in a class-action lawsuit, unnamed members of the class are ordinarily not considered to be clients of the lawyer for purposes of applying Subparagraph (1) of Paragraph A of this rule. Thus, the lawyer does not typically need to get the consent of such a person before representing a client suing the person in an unrelated matter. Similarly, a lawyer seeking to represent an opponent in a class action does not typically need the consent of an unnamed member of the class whom the lawyer represents in an unrelated matter.

Non-litigation Conflicts

[26] Conflicts of interest under Subparagraphs (1) and (2) of Paragraph A arise in contexts other than litigation. For a discussion of directly adverse conflicts in transactional matters, see Committee Commentary above, Identifying Conflicts of Interest: Directly Adverse. Relevant factors in determining whether there is significant potential for material limitation include the duration and intimacy of the lawyer's relationship with the client or clients involved, the functions being performed by the lawyer, the likelihood that disagreements will arise and the likely prejudice to the client from the conflict. The question is often one of proximity and degree. Id.

[27] For example, conflict questions may arise in estate planning and estate administration. A lawyer may be called upon to prepare wills for several family members, such as husband and wife, and, depending upon the circumstances, a conflict of interest may be present. In estate administration the identity of the client may be unclear under the law of a particular jurisdiction. Under one view, the client is the fiduciary; under another view the client is the estate or trust, including its beneficiaries. In order to comply with conflict of interest rules, the lawyer should make clear the lawyer's relationship to the parties involved.

[28] Whether a conflict is consentable depends on the circumstances. For example, a lawyer may not represent multiple parties to a negotiation whose interests are fundamentally antagonistic to each other, but common representation is permissible where the clients are generally aligned in interest even though there is some difference in interest among them. Thus, a lawyer may seek to establish or adjust a relationship between clients on an amicable and mutually advantageous basis; for example, in helping to organize a business in which two or more clients are entrepreneurs, working out the financial reorganization of an enterprise in which two or more clients have an interest or arranging a property distribution in settlement of an estate. The lawyer seeks to resolve potentially adverse interests by developing the parties' mutual interests. Otherwise, each party might have to obtain separate representation, with the possibility of incurring additional cost, complication or even litigation. Given these and other relevant factors, the clients may prefer that the lawyer act for all of them.

Special Considerations in Common Representation

[29] In considering whether to represent multiple clients in the same matter, a lawyer should be mindful that if the common representation fails because the potentially adverse interests cannot be reconciled, the result can be additional cost, embarrassment and recrimination. Ordinarily, the lawyer will be forced to withdraw from representing all of the clients if the common representation fails. In some situations, the risk of failure is so great that multiple representation is plainly impossible. For example, a lawyer cannot undertake common representation of clients where contentious litigation or negotiations between them are imminent or contemplated. Moreover, because the lawyer is required to be impartial between commonly represented clients, representation of multiple clients is improper when it is unlikely that impartiality can be maintained. Generally, if the relationship between the parties has already assumed antagonism, the possibility that the clients' interests can be adequately served by common representation is not very good. Other relevant factors are whether the lawyer subsequently will represent both parties on a continuing basis and whether the situation involves creating or terminating a relationship between the parties.

[30] A particularly important factor in determining the appropriateness of common representation is the effect on client-lawyer confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege. With regard to the attorney-client privilege, the prevailing rule is that, as between commonly represented clients, the privilege does not attach. Hence, it must be assumed that if litigation eventuates between the clients, the privilege will not protect any such communications and the clients should be so advised.

[31] As to the duty of confidentiality, continued common representation will almost certainly be inadequate if one client asks the lawyer not to disclose to the other client information relevant to the common representation. This is so because the lawyer has an equal duty of loyalty to each client, and each client has the right to be informed of anything bearing on the representation that might affect that client's interests and the right to expect that the lawyer will use that information to that client's benefit. See Rule 16-104 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The lawyer should, at the outset of the common representation and as part of the process of obtaining each client's informed consent, advise each client that information will be shared and that the lawyer will have to withdraw if one client decides that some matter material to the representation should be kept from the other. In limited circumstances, it may be appropriate for the lawyer to proceed with the representation when the clients have agreed, after being properly informed, that the lawyer will keep certain information confidential. For example, the lawyer may reasonably conclude that failure to disclose one client's trade secrets to another client will not adversely affect representation involving a joint venture between the clients and agree to keep that information confidential with the informed consent of both clients.

[32] When seeking to establish or adjust a relationship between clients, the lawyer should make clear that the lawyer's role is not that of partisanship normally expected in other circumstances and, thus, that the clients may be required to assume greater responsibility for decisions than when each client is separately represented. Any limitations on the scope of the representation made necessary as a result of the common representation should be fully explained to the clients at the outset of the representation. See Paragraph C of Rule 16-102 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

[33] Subject to the above limitations, each client in the common representation has the right to loyal and diligent representation and the protection of Rule 16-109 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct concerning the obligations to a former client. The client also has the right to discharge the lawyer as stated in Rule 16-116 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Organizational Clients

[34] A lawyer who represents a corporation or other organization does not, by virtue of that representation, necessarily represent any constituent or affiliated organization, such as a parent or subsidiary. See Paragraph A of Rule 16-113 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Thus, the lawyer for an organization is not barred from accepting representation adverse to an affiliate in an unrelated matter, unless the circumstances are such that the affiliate should also be considered a client of the lawyer, there is an understanding between the lawyer and the organizational client that the lawyer will avoid representation adverse to the client's affiliates or the lawyer's obligations to either the organizational client or the new client are likely to limit materially the lawyer's representation of the other client.

[35] A lawyer for a corporation or other organization who is also a member of its board of directors should determine whether the responsibilities of the two roles may conflict. The lawyer may be called on to advise the corporation in matters involving actions of the directors. Consideration should be given to the frequency with which such situations may arise, the potential intensity of the conflict, the effect of the lawyer's resignation from the board and the possibility of the corporation obtaining legal advice from another lawyer in such situations. If there is material risk that the dual role will compromise the lawyer's independence of professional judgment, the lawyer should not serve as a director or should cease to act as the corporation's lawyer when conflicts of interest arise. The lawyer should advise the other members of the board that in some circumstances matters discussed at board meetings while the lawyer is present in the capacity of director might not be protected by the attorney-client privilege and that conflict of interest considerations might require the lawyer's recusal as a director or might require the lawyer and the lawyer's firm to decline representation of the corporation in a matter.

[Adopted by Supreme Court Order No. 08-8300-029, effective November 3, 2008.]

.

ANNOTATIONS The 2008 amendment, approved by Supreme Court Order No. 08-8300-029, effective November 3, 2008, in the title to the rule, changed "general rule" to "current clients"; in Paragraph A, in the title, changed "adverse to other client considered" to "involving concurrent conflict of interest"; added "Except as provided in Paragraph B of this rule" at the beginning of the sentence; and changed "of that client will be directly or substantially adverse to another client, and" to "involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of interest exists if:"; in Subparagraph (1) of Paragraph A, replaced the former language which provided that "the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not adversely affect the relationship with the other client" with the current language; and in Subparagraph (2) of Paragraph A, replaced the former language which provided for client consent after consultation and for consultation that included an explanation of the implications of the common representation and the advantages and risks involved with the current language; in Paragraph B, replaced former the title "Lawyer's other responsibilities considered" with the current title; deleted the former prefatory language of the rule which prohibited a lawyer from representing a client if the representation may be materially limited by the lawyer's responsibilities to another client, a third party, or the lawyer's interests by the current prefatory language; in Subparagraph (1) of Paragraph B, replaced the former language which provided that "the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not be adversely affected" with the current language; in Subparagraph (2) of Paragraph B, replaced the language which provided for client consent after consultation and for consultation with multiple clients in a single matter that included an explanation of the implications of the common representation and the advantages and risks involved by the current language; and added Subparagraphs (3) and (4) of Paragraph B. Compiler's notes. - The old ABA Comment was replaced by the 2008 committee commentary. Threats against a prosecutor. - A defendant does not create a disqualifying interest and cannot choose his or her prosecutor for an underlying offense by the use of threats against prosecutors and an entire district attorney's office is not subject to disqualification unless an individual prosecutor is disqualified and there is a danger that the prosecutor's bias or disqualifying interest will taint the remaining attorneys in the office or give the appearance of impropriety to continued prosecution by other attorneys. State v. Robinson, 2008-NMCA-036, 143 N.M. 646, 179 P.3d 1254, cert. denied, 2008-NMCERT-002. Attorney's dual relationship with child-as guardian ad litem during abuse and neglect proceedings, and then as her defense attorney during delinquency proceedings-had potential to become actual, active conflict of interest, but record did not demonstrate actual conflict so as to lay sufficient foundation for ineffective assistance of counsel claim on which to base motion to withdraw plea. State v. Joanna V., 2004-NMSC-024, 136 N.M. 40, 94 P.3d 783. Attorney's representation of personal representative. - Where there is a significant risk that an attorney's representation of the personal representative of a decedent will be materially limited by the attorney's responsibilities to the statutory beneficiary, a conflict of interest may exist between the personal representative and his or her attorney, but where there is no assertion that the attorney's representation will be materially limited, there is no conflict of interest. Spoon v. Mata, 2014-NMCA-115. No per se conflict of interest exists when Post Conviction Conflict Division of Public Defender Department represents individual arguing ineffective assistance of counsel by attorney from Department's Trial Division, but each potential conflict must be reviewed on case-by-case basis, and individual may waive any such conflict by knowingly and intelligently signing waiver after proper advisement. Morales v. Bridgforth, 2004-NMSC-034, 136 N.M. 511, 100 P.3d 668. Attorney cannot represent two clients with possible conflicting interests. State v. Aguilar, 1975-NMCA-060, 87 N.M. 503, 536 P.2d 263. Determination of conflict of interest must precede substantive proceedings. - Upon being alerted to a potential conflict of interest, a tribunal has a duty to immediately stay the proceedings and determine whether a conflict of interest exists and whether an attorney is disqualified from a case. Living Cross Ambulance Serv., Inc. v. N.M. Pub. Regulation Comm'n, 2014-NMSC-036. Tribunal's duty to determine whether conflict exists. - Where attorney's representation of ambulance company was directly adverse to competing ambulance company that was also a former client of the attorney, the Public Regulation Commission erred in allowing a potentially disqualified attorney to conduct a hearing over the objection of opposing counsel without first determining whether an actual conflict of interest existed and whether the attorney should have been disqualified from the case. Living Cross Ambulance Serv., Inc. v. N.M. Pub. Regulation Comm'n, 2014-NMSC-036. District court's order compelling the defense to produce evidence originally disclosed by the prosecution did not create a conflict. - In defendant's DWI trial, where the state requested that the defense counsel return a copy of the officer's dashcam video, which the state had previously provided to the defense, because the state had lost or misplaced its only copy of the video, the district court's order compelling defendant to return to the state a copy of the video the state had originally produced did not create a conflict impairing defense counsel's performance at trial, because the duty of an attorney to a client is subordinate to his responsibility for the due and proper administration of justice, and an attorney's compliance with his or her obligations to the system of justice generally does not give rise to a conflict of interest. State v. Salazar, 2019-NMCA-021, cert. denied. Representation of two defendants by lawyers who became partners. - While two defendants were, in effect, represented by the same attorney since their lawyers became partners, nothing prohibited this dual representation as long as there was no actual conflict of interest adversely affecting the lawyers' performance. State v. Martinez, 1984-NMCA-106, 102 N.M. 94, 691 P.2d 887. Office-sharing agreement with former partner of former prosecutor not conflict. - A defendant is not entitled to the disqualification of his appointed counsel on the grounds of appearance of impropriety or potential conflict of interest where the counsel has an office-sharing arrangement with a former partner of a former prosecutor who had prosecuted defendant on a prior conviction. State v. Martinez, 1983-NMCA-138, 100 N.M. 532, 673 P.2d 509. Attorney general's prosecution of officer he formerly represented. - The appointment of the New Mexico attorney general, and a deputy attorney general, to act as special assistant United States attorneys for prosecution of criminal charges against the state investment officer and an assistant state treasurer alleging a conspiracy to extort a political contribution, involved no inherent or actual conflict of interest under former Canons 4 or 9 (now this rule) or 8-5-2 NMSA 1978. An inherent conflict of interests does not arise merely because a state attorney general prosecutes a state office whom he formerly represented. United States v. Troutman, 814 F.2d 1428 (10th Cir. 1987). Representation of wife in domestic relations case. - In a domestic relations case, the wife's second husband, an attorney, was not disqualified from representing her on the basis of an alleged conflict of interest since the attorney represented to the court that his representation would not be affected by any responsibilities he might have to the wife's children, and the wife explicitly manifested her consent to such representation. Sanders v. Rosenberg, 1995-NMCA-039, 119 N.M. 811, 896 P.2d 491. Rule applies to participation as counsel rather than as witness; thus testimony for the state by assistant district attorney, the immediate supervisor of the state's trial counsel, did not violate former Canon 5, regarding the exercise of independent professional judgment. State v. Martinez, 1976-NMCA-103, 89 N.M. 729, 557 P.2d 578, cert. denied, 90 N.M. 8, 558 P.2d 620, and cert. denied, 430 U.S. 973, 97 S. Ct. 1663, 52 L. Ed. 2d 367 (1977). Representation of conflicting parties violated Subdivision A of DR 5-105 (now Paragraph A of this rule). In re Arrieta, 1987-NMSC-016, 105 N.M. 418, 733 P.2d 866. Attorney's representation of conflicting interests of a husband and wife in related divorce, domestic violence, and criminal proceedings violated Paragraphs A and B of this rule. In re Houston, 1999-NMSC-032, 127 N.M. 582, 985 P.2d 752. Suspension warranted if conflicting interests impair independent judgment. - If a lawyer allows his independent professional judgment on his client's behalf to be impaired by his representation of conflicting interests and, through negligence and acceptance of undue influence and instructions from others, he unintentionally aids an embezzlement scheme in which his client is the victim, such conduct warrants suspension from practice of law for a 30-day period and thereafter until reinstated as provided by the rules of the supreme court. In re Dilts, 1979-NMSC-055, 93 N.M. 131, 597 P.2d 316. Constitutional rights violation requires "actual" conflict. - A conflict of interest violation of these rules will not in itself constitute a violation of constitutional rights because under case law an "actual" conflict must be established. United States v. Gallegos, 39 F.3d 276 (10th Cir. 1994). One-year suspension warranted. - Actions by an attorney involving false statements of material fact to a bankruptcy court, representation of a client in bankruptcy when owed money by the client, deposit of monies in his operating account instead of his trust account, failure to produce required records for his trust account, and misrepresentations to the Internal Revenue Service when acting in his capacity as a CPA, warranted suspension. In re Archuleta, 1996-NMSC-039, 122 N.M. 52, 920 P.2d 517. Rule violated. In re Chavez, 2000-NMSC-015, 129 N.M. 035, 1 P.3d 417. Law reviews. - For article, "Ethics and the Settlement of Civil Rights Cases: Can Attorneys Keep Their Virtue and Their Fees?", see 16 N.M.L. Rev. 183 (1986). For article, "Attorney as Interpreter: A Return to Babble," 20 N.M.L. Rev. 1 (1990). Am. Jur. 2d, A.L.R. and C.J.S. references. - 7 Am. Jur. 2d Attorneys at Law §§ 121, 184 to 189. Attorney's representation of parties adversely interested as affecting judgment or estoppel in respect thereof, 154 A.L.R. 501. Propriety and effect of attorney representing interest adverse to that of former client, 52 A.L.R.2d 1243. What constitutes representation of conflicting interests subjecting attorney to disciplinary action, 17 A.L.R.3d 835. Propriety of attorney who has represented corporation acting for corporation in controversy with officer, director, or stockholder, 1 A.L.R.4th 1124. Disqualification of attorney because member of his firm is or ought to be witness in case - modern cases, 5 A.L.R.4th 574. Circumstances giving rise to prejudicial conflict of interests between criminal defendant and defense counsel - state cases, 18 A.L.R.4th 360. Propriety of attorney acting as both counsel and class member or representative, 37 A.L.R.4th 751. Disqualification of member of law firm as requiring disqualification of entire firm - state cases, 6 A.L.R.5th 242. Propriety of law firm's representation of client in federal court where lawyer affiliated with firm is disqualified from representing client, 51 A.L.R. Fed. 678. Circumstances giving rise to prejudicial conflict of interests between criminal defendant and defense counsel - federal cases, 53 A.L.R. Fed. 140. Disqualification of law firm from representing party in federal civil suit involving former client of that firm, 56 A.L.R. Fed. 189. Sufficiency of screening measures (Chinese Wall) designed to prevent disqualification of law firm, member of which is disqualified for conflict of interest, 68 A.L.R. Fed. 687. 7 C.J.S. Attorney and Client §§ 77 to 87; 7A C.J.S. Attorney and Client §§ 150 to 159.