Tough divorce attorneys grapple with conflict rules

Tough divorce attorneys grapple with conflict rules


This is what happens when you get a reputation as the roughest, toughest, you-don’t-want-to-mess-with-me divorce attorney in town.

Jody Stahancyk is the attorney in question, and love her or hate her, if you’re getting a divorce, she’s the lawyer you don’t want representing your spouse. Or at least, that’s what a number of people seem to think, since Stahancyk has become the prime target of a legal but maybe not so ethical strategy called “conflicting out.”

Here’s how it works: Say a wealthy husband has already chosen legal representation for his not-yet-announced divorce. But having heard of Stahancyk’s reputation, he knows he doesn’t want his attorney going up against her. So he sets up an appointment with Stahancyk and pays for an initial consult. He tells her a thing or two about his situation, and leaves knowing that because of strict Oregon rules governing attorney conflict of interest, Stahancyk cannot represent his wife.

There are only a handful of high-profile divorce attorneys in Portland, and most say they’ve been the victims of such strategies on occasion. But only Stahancyk has seen it happen to her with regularity. And that’s despite the fact that the Oregon State Bar in 2010 amended its rules governing professional conduct with the intention of curbing the practice.

Read more in today's Portland Tribune.