Washington Law Review


The motion to disqualify an adversary's attorney has become the newest weapon in a litigator's motion arsenal. Disqualification motions alleging conflicts of interest can result in a great advantage to the movant by denying the opposition their choice of counsel, or by delaying the proceedings for several weeks or months. The attractiveness of the attorney disqualification motion as a strategic weapon is enhanced by the failure of the courts to impose sanctions against attorneys who bring frivolous disqualification motions. This Comment examines the treatment in federal courts of motions made to disqualify an adversary attorney and the relevant rules of professional responsibility. The examination reveals that disproportionate weight is given to the possibility of divulgence of client confidences as compared to the harms suffered by the party whose attorney is disqualified. This disproportionate weighing results from the restrictiveness of the present rules of professional responsibility. The present imbalance of interests would be lessened by stricter requirements for standing and greater consideration of the good faith of motions. In some instances, modification of the rules of professional responsibility and increased sanctions by the courts are needed. In lieu of changes in the rules of professional responsibility or

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