37 CFR 11.113: Organization as client

Taken from the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 07.2015, Last Revised in November 2015

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11.113    Organization as client.

  • (a) A practitioner employed or retained by an organization represents the organization acting through its duly authorized constituents.
  • (b) If a practitioner for an organization knows that an officer, employee or other person associated with the organization is engaged in action, intends to act or refuses to act in a matter related to the representation that is a violation of a legal obligation to the organization, or a violation of law that reasonably might be imputed to the organization, and that is likely to result in substantial injury to the organization, then the practitioner shall proceed as is reasonably necessary in the best interest of the organization. Unless the practitioner reasonably believes that it is not necessary in the best interest of the organization to do so, the practitioner shall refer the matter to higher authority in the organization, including, if warranted by the circumstances, to the highest authority that can act on behalf of the organization as determined by applicable law.
  • (c) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, if
    • (1) Despite the practitioner’s efforts in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section the highest authority that can act on behalf of the organization insists upon or fails to address in a timely and appropriate manner an action, or a refusal to act, that is clearly a violation of law, and
    • (2) The practitioner reasonably believes that the violation is reasonably certain to result in substantial injury to the organization, then the practitioner may reveal information relating to the representation whether or not § 11.106 permits such disclosure, but only if and to the extent the practitioner reasonably believes necessary to prevent substantial injury to the organization.
  • (d) Paragraph (c) of this section shall not apply with respect to information relating to a practitioner’s representation of an organization to investigate an alleged violation of law, or to defend the organization or an officer, employee or other constituent associated with the organization against a claim arising out of an alleged violation of law.
  • (e) A practitioner who reasonably believes that he or she has been discharged because of the practitioner’s actions taken pursuant to paragraphs (b) or (c) of this section, or who withdraws under circumstances that require or permit the practitioner to take action under either of those paragraphs, shall proceed as the practitioner reasonably believes necessary to assure that the organization’s highest authority is informed of the practitioner’s discharge or withdrawal.
  • (f) In dealing with an organization’s directors, officers, employees, members, shareholders, or other constituents, a practitioner shall explain the identity of the client when the practitioner knows or reasonably should know that the organization’s interests are adverse to those of the constituents with whom the practitioner is dealing.
  • (g) A practitioner representing an organization may also represent any of its directors, officers, employees, members, shareholders or other constituents, subject to the provisions of § 11.107. If the organization’s consent to the dual representation is required by § 11.107, the consent shall be given by an appropriate official of the organization other than the individual who is to be represented, or by the shareholders.
[Added 78 FR 20180, Apr. 3, 2013, effective May 3, 2013]