Motions to disqualify opposing counsel are generally viewed with skepticism. Georgia courts have recognized that the right to counsel is an “important interest which requires that any curtailment of the client’s right to counsel of choice be approached with great caution.”
Disqualification has an immediate adverse effect on a client by separating her from her counsel of choice and results in expense and delay that are costly both to the client and to the administration of justice. For these reasons, disqualification of counsel is an extraordinary remedy and is granted sparingly.
A motion to disqualify must be made with reasonable promptness after a party discovers the facts which lead to the motion or else he may waive the conflict.
When determining whether to disqualify counsel, a trial court “should consider the particular facts of the case, balancing the need to ensure ethical conduct on the part of lawyers against the litigant’s right to freely choose counsel.” A possible conflict, however, does not itself always preclude the representation. “The critical questions are the likelihood that a conflict will eventuate and, if it does, whether it will materially interfere with the lawyer’s independent professional judgment in considering alternatives or foreclose courses of action that reasonably should be pursued on behalf of the client.” Rule 1.7, Comment 2