Trusts and Estates

Ca. Trs. & Estates Quarterly 2021, Volume 27, Issue 4


By Dianne Jackson McLean, Esq.*

This article discusses some of the issues that should be considered when deciding whether a lawyer should represent multiple clients in a matter, be it a transactional or a litigation matter. In connection with joint representation, a related issue is advance waivers and their effectiveness when a conflict arises in connection with joint representation. The California Rules of Professional Conduct ("CRPC") which govern attorneys generally do not make a distinction between transactional and litigation matters. However, joint representation can create impermissible conflicts in both, but such conflicts generally occur more frequently in the context of litigation.

The article provides practical tips regarding issues that should be considered before a lawyer or law firm agrees to provide joint representation; and once such representation is commenced, the on-going obligations of the lawyer to monitor the issues of each client as the representation progresses. This article is organized as follows: The first section includes a discussion of the applicable CRPCs; the second section provides a summary of the issues that should be considered before determining if joint representation is appropriate; and the third section provides for a discussion on advance waivers and the criteria for determining their effectiveness.


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