11.8 Reasonable Measures
The commentary to Rule 3.4-10, paragraph 14, in the Code of Conduct, contains guidelines which assist firms to implement reasonable measures to ensure non-disclosure of confidential information. These guidelines, found in the commentary under the heading Reasonable Measures to Ensure Non-disclosure of Confidential Information, include the following recommendations:
- The transferring lawyer should have no involvement in the representation of the new firm’s client.
- The transferring lawyer and members of the new firm should not discuss the matter or any information relating to the representation by the former firm of its client or the representation of the new firm’s client by the new firm.
- Files relating to the new firm’s client should be physically segregated from the new firm’s regular files, and identified as being subject to a conflict. Access is available only to those lawyers and support staff who are working on the file or require access for approved reasons.
- The new firm should have a written policy which explains its measures to prevent the disclosure of confidential information and a statement that violation of the policy will result in sanctions, up to and including dismissal.
- Law firm members should give undertakings that they will comply with the policy.
- The physical location of the transferring lawyer’s office should be located away from the offices and work stations of lawyers and support staff working on the new firm’s client matter.
Please review the entire guideline if you are ever looking at implementing conflicts screens as this above summary is for information only and is not intended to be exhaustive.
For more information you can view the Law Society of British Columbia's Code of Professional Conduct: Appendix D - Conflicts Arising as a Result of Transfer Between Law Firms, including:
- Matters to consider when interviewing a potential transferee (page 107)
- Matters to consider before hiring a potential transferee (page 108)
Also note that the size of the firm is a factor in determining the extent of the measures which must be taken to effectively preserve confidentiality.