Ethical Wall Law and Legal Definition

Ethical Wall is a screening mechanism that protects a client from a conflict of interest by preventing one or more lawyers within an organization from participating in any matter involving that client. In other words it refers to procedures taken by a firm to prevent information obtained while representing a client from being disclosed to employees in the same firm who represent other clients that may profit from the information. A metaphorical wall is created between the holders of information and colleagues who represent interests or hold opinions which conflict.

Creation of an ethical wall generally entails:

  • Prohibiting certain lawyers and paralegals from having any connection with a particular matter
  • Banning discussions with those individuals regarding that matter.
  • Restriction of access to files concerning the matter and Educating all members of the firm, corporation, or entity about the separation of the lawyers and paralegals from the particular matter.

This is also referred to as Chinese wall.