1975

  • Opinion No. 75-1
    Summary: It would be proper for a lawyer to write to each of his former clients for whom he has handled a residential real estate transaction, to call attention to the 1970, 1973 and 1974 amendments of G.L. c.188, S1, which permit an increase in the value of an estate of homestead from $4,000 to $24,000, and to recommend that the client, if a householder who has a family, establish such an estate by declaration. Such letters also may properly be written to other persons whom the lawyer reasonably believes to be regular clients.
  • Opinion No. 75-2
    Summary: Where a lawyer and his firm otherwise would be required to withdraw from representation of a client in a pending action (because the lawyer finds that he will be a witness in the case), and where the pending action is relatively simple in nature, the fact that the client may have to incur some additional expense in order to have new trial counsel become familiar with the case probably will not constitute "a substantial hardship on the client because of the distinctive value of the lawyer or his firm as counsel in the particular case," for purposes of Disciplinary Rule DR 5-101(B)(4).
  • Opinion No. 75-3
    Summary: An attorney may not announce his return from government service to the full-time private practice of law by placing an announcement to that effect in a local newspaper. Such an announcement may be made in the form of a brief professional announcement card which may be mailed to lawyers, clients, former clients, personal friends and relatives.
  • Opinion No. 75-4
    Summary: If a lawyer finds that he has accepted employment in a litigation matter in violation of the provisions of DR 5-101(B) (in that he knew or should have known when he accepted the employment that he or a lawyer in his firm ought to be called as a witness in the case), he and his firm should withdraw from the case immediately. If after undertaking employment in a litigation matter, a lawyer learns that he or a lawyer in his firm may be called as a witness for a party other than his client, and that the testimony may be prejudicial to the interests of his client, the lawyer and his firm should withdraw from the case immediately; but if after undertaking employment in a litigation matter, a lawyer learns that he or a lawyer in his firm ought to be called as a witness for his client, the lawyer and his firm may continue to represent the client until the time of trial on the merits.
  • Opinion No. 75-5
    Summary: A lawyer may charge his client interest on bills for legal services and disbursements which have remained unpaid for more than a stated period of time, if the client so agrees in advance. [Editor's note: See MBA Opinion 83-1, which supercedes Opinion 75-5 "to the extent that it is inconsistent ... ."] MBA Opinion No. 74-1, relating to a lawyer's use of credit card arrangements, is affirmed without modification: a lawyer should not display a credit card sign or insignia in his offices. [Editor's note: But see MBA Opinion 77-15, which reconsidered Opinion 74-1 in light of more recent cases construing the First Amendment as applied to professional advertising: "We now hold that the truthful use of credit card signs or insignia in the office of a lawyer is proper."]
  • Opinion No. 75-6
    Summary: Members of the bar should not sponsor advertisements in any publication, whether directed solely to the legal profession or not, offering congratulations to members of the judiciary or to court officials where the attorney sponsoring such advertisements is identified by name or otherwise. Such advertisements where the sponsor is identified as "anonymous" would not be prohibited.
  • Opinion No. 75-7
    Summary: A lawyer should not represent a present client in an adversary matter against a former client if his representation of the present client in such matter may involve the use of confidences or secrets of the former client or even may appear to do so. A lawyer should not represent one present client in an adversary matter against another present individual client without the informed consent of both clients.
  • Opinion No. 75-8
    Summary: A lawyer who is engaged in general practice of law may offer a legal research service to other lawyers, and may publicize the availability and advantages of such service by means of letters and advertisements directed to other lawyers, but only upon the following conditions: (1) the research service may be provided only to other lawyers; (2) the publicity for the legal research service may not identify the lawyer by name nor state that the work will be performed or supervised by a lawyer; (3) the lawyer may not accept any general work which comes to him through the legal research service; and (4) in the course of his general practice the lawyer may not indicate on his letterhead, office sign, or professional card that he operates the legal research service.
  • Opinion No. 75-9
    Summary: A lawyer who has been appointed a public administrator may send an announcement of his appointment to other lawyers in the same county, but the announcement should not indicate that he is a lawyer.
  • Opinion No. 75-10
    Summary: A law firm may practice under a firm name which consists of the names of two former partners, both now deceased, if the present firm is a direct successor to a firm known by that name for many years, although the firm has practiced under other names in the immediate past.
©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association