The practice of immigration law invariably involves the representation of two clients. One immigration attorney represents both spouses as well as the employer and employee. While it is ideal for each party to have his or her own attorney, it may not be cost effective or efficient for the co-clients, who generally retain one attorney or law firm to achieve a common objective, namely, either a temporary or permanent immigration status in the country. The representation of more than one client, however, may lead to conflicts of interest between the co-clients. Moreover, representing multiple clients implicates two fundamental principles of the attorney-client relationship – the duty of loyalty and care towards the sole client. Cyrus D. Mehta’s article, FINDING THE “GOLDEN MEAN” IN DUAL REPRESENTATION – UPDATED, which presents tools for attorneys to effectively represent more than one client. The article suggests that conflicts may be minimized by limiting the scope of representation of one client. In addition to limiting representation, the article further develops the ethical basis for obtaining a prospective waiver from the client to a future conflict. By effectively using one or both strategies, which Mr. Mehta has coined as the “Golden Mean” approach, a lawyer may still be able to effectively and ethically represent two clients with potentially differing interests.
This article is reprinted from Immigration Briefings, August 2006, Copyright © 2006 Thomson/West, with permission. It is a revised and updated version of an article by Mr. Mehta that appeared in the Immigration & Nationality Law Handbook (2005-06 ED.) at 29, copyright © 2005 American Immigration Lawyers Association.