Conflicts in Corporate Representation Self-Quiz








You represent a musicians’ union fighting for its rights against the big record companies who employ them. Most of the time your work involves employment contracts – you try to get the most for union members, and have been especially successful when it comes to helping those who have a few hit songs under their belts. One of the union members, DJ Buttmaxxx, is especially popular but also especially crooked. A year earlier, he was elected as treasurer of the union. Now the union members are alleging Buttmaxxx misappropriated union funds, using them to buy a set of platinum teeth. Buttmaxx wants you to represent him personally in a suit brought against him and the union by certain union members. May you simultaneously represent the union and DJ Buttmaxxx, the treasurer?
Choice 1 Yes, because Buttmaxxx and the union are on the same side of the suit.
Choice 2 Yes, because there is no tangible conflict of interest between Buttmaxxx and the union which he helps manage.
Choice 3 No, because the union and Buttmaxxx might find one another in an adversarial position.
Candy Pewter is a lawyer representing a major pharmaceutical manufacturer. In a discussion with the manager of one of the pharmaceutical’s factories, the manager tells Candy that a small percent of ash is included in the pill for hypertension. This percentage is beyond that which the federal government allows. Candy is concerned, because she knows the manager is substituting cheap junk for a more expensive ingredient in order to increase the pill’s profitability. What must Candy do?
Choice 1 Report the manager to the Food and Drug Administration immediately.
Choice 2 Remind the manager that she is the firm’s rep and not his personal lawyer, and then report the information to the appropriate company official.
Choice 3 Advise the manager to quit his job or you will tell the media what he is doing.
You represent Horrible, Nasty, Brutish, and Short L.P., a high-fallutin’ investment bank enjoying wonderful business these days, underwriting a large number of initial public offerings for small tech companies. One of the bank’s superstar fixed-income traders, Sam Snee, has an unfortunate insider trading compulsion. He could be prosecuted criminally for his acts, and the partnership is exposed to serious liability. As a seasoned Wall Street professional, you know how serious the issue is. You dash into the office of Harry Horrible while he’s hard at work eating a tunafish on rye and talking full-steam into his speakerphone about his golf handicap. You interrupt Mr. Horrible and explain what Sam Snee’s been up to. Horrible already knows about Snee, and says, “Tell me something new, lawyer!! He’s making me big money—why stop when the going’s good?” So Horrible approves of Snee’s insider trading. There is no one higher in the firm to report the illegal activity to. Must you resign?
Choice 1 Yes, there is no other choice.
Choice 2 No, that would be unethical given your commitment to the firm.
Choice 3 No, but you may resign if you so choose.

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