Brian Eason wrote a story for the Sunday Clarion Ledger (h/t RFP in comments) that is simply excellent about the conflicts of interest involved with Jones Walker representing everyone against the middle and it involves a truckload of public money with the Jackson Redevelopment Authority and the Farish Street Entertainment District in blighted downtown Jackson. Eason takes a complicated subject in legal conflicts of interest and makes it understandable for the reader. This part is key:
Larry Dessem, an expert on legal ethics, says conflict of interest rules are in place to protect a key principle of the profession:
“One of the primary duties of any lawyer is loyalty to his client,” says Dessem, a professor at the University of Missouri School of Law. “You owe that duty first and foremost.”
And even when a large firm is involved, conflicts can’t be ignored simply because different attorneys represent the clients.
“While lawyers are associated in a firm, none of them shall knowingly represent a client when any one of them practicing alone would be prohibited from doing so,” the rule says.
Once upon a time a reporter that was not from this area was nice enough to lecture me on legal conflicts with a “Big C” and a “Little C”, a delineation that is evidently made on Wall Street to justify perverting the legal process. I don’t buy it. In fact there is a critter known as an Unwaivable Conflicts of Interest, the rules of which vary a bit from state to state. I would argue that Eason’s article makes clear Jones Walker’s conflict of interest in this matter is of the unwaivable variety, which requires the firm to step aside. Problem is they won’t.
What I find most revealing about the firm’s behavior in this whole deal is how down and dirty nasty Jones Walker became despite the massive conflict of interest: Continue reading “Jackson Legal: If it weren’t for a conflict of interest, Jones Walker would have no interest at all”