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I've been a legal assistant at a firm for over a year and looking to leave for a firm that pays more. I rather be placed in a different area of law, but I'm not too picky at this point.

I asked my recruiter to not set me up anywhere that would be a conflict of interest.

Friday afternoon, my recruiter set me up with an interview for this upcoming Monday morning. We were both really busy during the phone call but I should have asked which firm it was. After work, I saw in her e-mail that it's the law firm that we work with (not for) daily; I'll call it Lyons Packertt. In fact, I know the names of the staff already from sending them documents and overhearing their names being spoken of.

This law firm has seen my resume therefore knows where I'm currently working. My current firm and Lyons Packertt work together at times but they compete for clients.

My firm has offered me two promotion in the past 6 months but I'm trying to go somewhere that is closer and pays more. Lyons Packertt isn't very appealing compared to other firms I've interviewed at, but it's better than where I'm working now.

Would this situtation be considered conflict of interest? I can't get ahold of my recruiter until the morning of my interview. Even if it isn't, I'd feel terrible for even interviewing there since I adore my coworkers, who know I'm looking.

  • I'm not sure what kind of conflict if interest you are worrying about. If you aren't working for both at once, and don't tell the new firm anything that the old firm would consider confidential, and don't work on the opposing side of a case you were previously involved with, you should be fine -- unless there is a noncompete clause in your contract or something like that. But I am not a lawyer. Why not ask the firm you are interviewing with? – keshlam Nov 5 '16 at 18:32
  • Yup. Recruiter didn't feel the need to tell me over the phone but it's my responsibility to to ask. – Angelpond Nov 5 '16 at 19:04
  • Working at company A and B simultaneously would likely be a conflict of interest if the companies compete. Moving from A to B doesn't cause any conflict of interest whatsoever. Let's say A and B have clients X and Y involved in a court battle. You work for A, you support X. You quit and join B, you support Y. No conflict of interest. – gnasher729 Nov 6 '16 at 16:44
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"Conflict of interest" is a vague term and subject to interpretation. You should carefully study your employment contract any associated confidentiality, non-compete, non-disclosure agreements, etc. These should spell out what type of activities and contacts are allowed and which ones are not. In addition you should also take a look at the applicable labor laws in your area.

You are a legal professional, but the recruiter isn't. I would NOT rely on your recruiter to interpret the legal landscape. If you feel, you can't do it yourself, contact a knowledgeable legal expert.

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