It is becoming increasingly rare for an attorney to remain at the same firm for an entire career. Lateral movements of lawyers coupled with large firms employing hundreds of attorneys creates ample opportunity for conflicts of interest to arise. The American Bar Association explains a conflict of interest is present when "there is a significant risk that a lawyer's ability to consider, recommend or carry out an appropriate course of action for the client will be materially limited as a result of the other lawyer's responsibilities or interest." Furthermore, Rule 1.10(b) dictates that a lawyer joining a new firm brings with him all his previous conflicts, to the extent that they are "substantially related to that which the formerly associated lawyer represented the client" and the lawyer has confidential info1mation related to the matter.
While the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility serve only a persuasive purpose, both federal and state courts have adopted the exact model rule language in addressing conflicts of interest.