1. Something that makes one ineligible; esp., a bias or conflict of interest that prevents a judge or juror from impartially hearing a case, or that prevents a lawyer from representing a party. [Cases: Judges 39; Jury 97. C.J.S. Judges ¡ì¡ì 62, 98, 100¨C102, 107; Juries ¡ì¡ì 225, 248, 370¨C373, 378¨C379, 398¨C399, 415, 417¨C418, 420.]
vicarious disqualification. Disqualification of all the lawyers in a firm or in an office because one of the lawyers is ethically disqualified from representing the client at issue.
¡ª Also termed imputed disqualification. [Cases: Attorney and Client 21.15. C.J.S. Attorney and Client ¡ì 164.]
¡°In general, disqualification of a lawyer from representation, at least in multiple client-conflict scenarios, means disqualification of that lawyer’s entire firm from the same representation. When a lawyer has been exclusively or chiefly responsible for the representation of a client and that lawyer changes jobs, there is little question but that the imputed-disqualification rule will apply to disqualify the new firm from representing the opponent of the first client. But because lawyers often work for large organizations, … a question may arise about the application of the imputation rule when a lawyer has left employment …. If the lawyer had little or no responsibility in the first organization for the representation or if the lawyer can be effectively shielded from the representation in the new organization, or both, there may be no useful purpose served by imputing the lawyer’s disqualification to the new organization ….¡± James E. Moliterno & John M. Levy, Ethics of the Lawyer’s Work 151 (1993).
2. The act of making ineligible; the fact or condition of being ineligible. Cf. RECUSAL. ¡ª disqualify, vb.