Many ethics practitioners have argued for strict application of the imputation of receipt of confidential information to all lawyers who are members of a law firm, regardless of where each lawyer is physically situated, and regardless whether there is any reasonable probability that the distant lawyer actually was exposed to confidential information. It is generally accepted that the duty of loyalty to an existing client precludes any lawyer affiliated with the law firm from accepting any engagement adverse to the client. It is also commonly assumed that neither geographic distance, nor separation of the lawyers within the firm (e.g., by department), is sufficient to prevent the vicarious imputation to each lawyer in the firm of the presumption that client confidences have been communicated throughout the firm.
Ellen A. Pansky, Application of California's Modified Substantial Relationship Test to International Law Firm Conflict of Interest: Creative Solution or Can of Worms?, 27 Penn St. Int'l L. Rev. 403 (2008).