This column, written by Mark Hinderks, of Stinson LLP, focuses on ethics questions. The discussion here is based on the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, but the Model Rules are often adopted in different and amended versions, and interpreted in different ways in various places. Always check the rules and authorities applicable in your relevant jurisdiction—the result may be completely different.

Question: Finally, my relationship-building efforts seem to be paying off. A former law school classmate newly appointed as a corporate general counsel called to ask me to represent his company to file a preemptive suit in a favorable forum against a competitor. The matter would be substantial, and if successful, it will likely lead to a steady stream of other work for me. He told me confidentially that based on internal documents, they believe the suit probably only has a 40-60% chance of success, but by getting to the favorable forum, they hope there will be sufficient pressure on the opponent to lead to an early and more favorable settlement. I ran a conflict check and discovered that the firm (not involving me) currently represents the opposing party in a small, unrelated real estate matter. What can I do to be able to go forward? This could be a really big ongoing client.