Sharing Space

The Code of Conduct includes space-sharing arrangements within the definition of the term “law firm” (see the definition section at the beginning of the Code). The definition expressly includes lawyers who practice from the same premises and who indicate that their practices are independent.

This has two implications for the purposes of conflicts of interest. First, the conflicts rules require lawyers to assess conflicts not only with respect to their own clients but with respect to the clients of the lawyers with whom they share space.

Second, lawyers in space-sharing arrangements must ensure that their conflicts-checking systems are integrated and that all of their clients’ information is entered. You do not require consent from clients to share information within the law firm for the purpose of conducting a conflict search. Rule 3.3-1 allows confidential information to be divulged if impliedly authorized by a client. Clients’ authorization to share information within a firm is inferred as it would be onerous to request client information to share information every time a new person becomes involved with the file. Confidential information may be shared for the purpose of conducting a conflict check, and this applies to all types of law firms, including those who share space with other independent practitioners. See paragraph [7] of Rule 3.3-1.  

Last modified: Monday, 21 August 2023, 9:18 AM