Providing yet more fodder for this blawg, the May issue of Corporate Counsel contains a short article entitled “Conflict Avoidance,” which discusses Citigroup’s new policy on conflicts, which makes it difficult to impossible to get a waiver to sue the company. My vantage point as a partner in a 30 plus lawyer firm makes it easier to discuss contflicts since it seems to follow that the number of conflict problems increases with the size of the firm. But having spent a long time at a big firm, after reading a number of stories in various media, and more recently having observed closely the negotiation a client endured with another of its firms (a big one, needless to say), it seems fair to say that many firms take off their client service hats and put on their adversary hats when they negotiate for waivers. I think that, over time, more companies will follow the Citigroup course and refuse waivers when litigation is involved. If there are any firms with a real client service focus, they might consider adopting such a rule too—not asking for waivers to litigate against a client. Sure, it might cost them a case, but I believe the loyalty generated will be recognized and rewarded.
What do you think?