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Discovering that a partner at your law firm has engaged in a significant violation of New York’s Code of Professional Responsibility is not merely disillusioning. The Code’s imperative to report the ethical misconduct of your fellow lawyers also places you in a potential conflict with your firm and puts you at personal risk. Just how complicated and serious such a situation can become is illustrated by the case of Peter Kelly, the former Hunton & Williams associate who allegedly was discharged for blowing the whistle on the fraudulent billing of partner Scott Wolas, now a fugitive from justice. Ultimately, Mr. Kelly sued Hunton and won a settlement on the eve of trial (NYLJ, July 19), but not before joblessness and presumably a lot of angst along the way. Mr. Kelly’s case is a cautionary tale that raises many questions about how to act ethically without jeopardizing your employment when you suspect that one of your “superiors” has engaged in unethical conduct.

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