The University Record, January 14, 1997

Regents request investigation into conduct of two law firms

The Board of Regents has requested an investigation by the state's Attorney Grievance Commission of two Michigan law firms---Dykema Gossett and Hooper, Hathaway, Price, Beuche & Wallace. Dykema Gossett represented several Michigan newspapers in litigation surrounding the University's presidential search and the Open Meetings Act. Hooper, Hathaway represented Dykema Gossett when the University moved to disqualify Dykema Gossett from representing the newspapers.

At issue is the fact that both law firms have previously represented the Board of Regents on other legal matters. The Board believes that the two firms violated the Michigan Rule of Professional Conduct. Under the rules, a lawyer cannot represent a client if the representation of that client will be directly adverse to another client, unless (1) the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not adversely affect the relationship with the other client; and (2) each client consents after consultation.

Regent Laurence Deitch, who made a formal motion to file the grievance at the December meeting of the Board of Regents, said that the Board was not consulted before Dykema Gosset was retained by the newspapers, nor did it consent to the firm's representation of the newspapers.

The Board also was not consulted and did not give consent to Hooper, Hathaway in the matter of its representation of Dykema Gossett, Deitch said when he presented his motion to the Board.