Ethical Challenges of Aggregate Settlement Agreements

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Aggregate settlements pose several ethical challenges, primarily because they involve lawyers representing the interests of more than one client. Care must be taken at all times to ensure the interests of all clients are respected and fully served. This article examines the ethical issues raised by aggregate settlements and the responsibilities of counsel.

Every state has ethical rules governing aggregate settlements, with most modeled on Rule 1.8(g) of the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Those that have varied from this Rule do so primarily by way of exclusion, such as Louisiana and North Dakota, which specifically exclude class actions from their aggregate settlement rules, and Ohio and New York, which exclude court-approved settlements altogether.

Originally published on Law.com on June 10, 2014.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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