Are All Attorneys In a Firm Disqualified If One Attorney Is Disqualified ?

In Cardinale v. Golinello (43 NY2d 288, 372 N.E.2d 26, 401 N.Y.S.2d 191 [1977]), the Court of Appeals held that, if one attorney in a firm is disqualified, then all attorneys in that firm are disqualified as a matter of law. This was based on the irrebuttable presumption of shared confidences among attorneys employed at the firm, and due to their ethical obligation to avoid the appearance of impropriety. This rule was later modified in Solow v. W.R. Grace & Company (83 NY2d 303, 632 N.E.2d 437, 610 N.Y.S.2d 128 [1994]) to provide that, in certain large firms, depending on the nature of the firm's practice and its ability to insulate lawyers from sharing clients' confidences, imputed disqualification was not an irrebuttable presumption as it indiscriminately disqualified all members of a law firm.