Tom Takes a Page From Logan Roy's Playbook in 'Succession' by "Conflicting out" Every Lawyer

Jamie Lerner - Author

Apr. 3 2023, Published 9:53 a.m. ET

Shiv in 'Succession' on the phone
Source: HBO

Spoiler alert: This article contains minor spoilers for Succession Season 4, Episode 2.

While the character dynamics behind Succession are the real reason we watch the dark comedy, sometimes the business and legal jargon can get in the way of our enjoyment. We can typically keep up, but as everything comes to a head in Season 4, there are many moving pieces. One of those pieces is Shiv’s relationship with Tom.

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In Episode 2’s cold open, Shiv learns that a woman named Gretchen Young is “conflicted out.” This noticeably irks Shiv when she realizes that lawyer after lawyer is “conflicted out.” But what exactly does “conflicted out” mean in Succession, and who is Gretchen Young?

Shiv in 'Succession'
Source: HBO
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Gretchen Young is “conflicted out” in ‘Succession,’ which means that Shiv can’t use her as a divorce lawyer.

In Season 4, Episode 2’s cold open, Shiv takes an important phone call while the Roy siblings discuss what they’ll do with their nearly-acquired Pierce Global Media networks. On the call, she learns that Gretchen Young is “conflicted out” and Shiv is surprised that Tom “went with Gretchen.” When she asks who’s in the second position, she learns that many others are also “conflicted out.”

In legal jargon, this means that a lawyer can’t work with a potential client because of a prior conflict. In the case of Tom and Shiv’s divorce, the fact that all these lawyers are conflicted out means that Tom must have met with every good lawyer in the city to ensure that they can’t work with Shiv. When it comes to divorce, even if a potential client only meets with a lawyer, that lawyer cannot work with the other spouse because of the conflict.

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We quickly learn that Tom “tied up all five” of the best lawyers with Logan Roy’s assistance. This means that in Shiv and Tom’s divorce, Logan is on Tom’s side instead of his daughter’s. “You’ve met with or retained every usable lawyer in New York just to f--k with me?” Shiv asks Tom, who plays off his naïveté. "I got mommed," she tells her siblings.

Tom and Shiv in 'Succession'
Source: HBO
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While we don’t know much about Gretchen, she’s not a romantic interest of Tom’s if she’s his lawyer or even his potential lawyer. All we know is that Gretchen Young must be one of the best and most expensive lawyers in New York City if both Tom and Shiv are interested in hiring her for their divorce.

Shiv recognizes Tom’s move to conflict out all the best lawyers from her father’s playbook, which provides yet another motive to get revenge on Logan Roy.

New episodes of Succession air Sundays at 9 p.m. EST.

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