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Minneapolis, MN 55415-1005
How does LRC handle conflicts of interest?
LRC avoids conflicts of interest when delivering research and writing services to LRC customers through three principal methods: LRC policy; contracts with research attorneys; and observance of ethics rules.
It is LRC's policy to guard against conflicts of interest by declining employment in any case if it or its research attorneys have provided services to opposing counsel with respect to the same case. LRC accepts research and writing projects on a first-come, first-served basis. Each time a research or writing request is received, LRC asks the customer to identify:
- a) all opposing counsel;
- b) the firm names of each opposing counsel; and
- c) the full title of the case, identifying each party to the lawsuit.
This information is then cross-referenced against LRC's computerized database. If it is found that LRC's services have already been employed by opposing counsel with respect to any issue in that same case, the customer is immediately notified of this conflict of interest and informed that LRC will not undertake the assignment. Although this may exceed the ethical obligations of LRC and its research attorneys, LRC has adopted this policy to preserve the independence of its research judgment and to assure its customers that LRC will never be working on both sides of a case.
LRC Contracts with its Research Attorneys
LRC also guards against possible conflicts through its contractual arrangements with its Research Attorneys. LRC Research Attorney contracts prohibit them from undertaking projects that may create a conflict of interest. With respect to every project assigned to an LRC Research Attorney, if he or she identifies a potential conflict, he or she is obligated to inform LRC's Director of Research and to cease work on the project immediately. Such projects will be reassigned unless LRC, in consultation with the customers, resolves the conflict.
All of LRC's Research Attorneys are licensed attorneys obligated to comply with the ethical requirements of their licensing state. As of 2009, every state other than California (including Minnesota, LRC's headquarters) has adopted a version of the ABA's Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Thus, in addition to our own internal conflict of interest policies, LRC's research attorneys are bound by several ethical rules that were specifically designed to avoid conflicts of interest. See Minn. Rules of Professional Conduct, 1.7–1.11.
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