1983

  • Opinion No. 83-10
    Summary: A law firm may include on its stationery and business cards the names of employees of the firm who are not lawyers, with titles or identifications of such employees, provided it is clear to lawyers and non-lawyers that such employees are not lawyers and the inclusion is not otherwise deceptive.
  • Opinion No. 83-9
    Summary: The Disciplinary Rules do not, per se, prohibit in-house counsel from representing corporations affiliated with counsel's corporate employer. A pro rata share of the cost of an attorney's services may be allocated to the affiliated corporation, but an attorney's fees separately charged may not be paid to the corporation.
  • Opinion No. 83-8
    Summary: The ability of one of two equal shareholders of a corporation to hire and instruct an attorney on behalf of the corporation involves a question of law that is beyond the jurisdiction of the committee. A lawyer may not sue a former client on a matter substantially related to the prior representation of the former client without the consent of the former client after full disclosure.
  • Opinion No. 83-7
    Summary: A lawyer may borrow funds from a bank to assist him in bearing the expenses of litigation. A lawyer representing a client in litigation may not lend money to the client for purposes of helping the client defray non-litigation-related expenses, nor may the lawyer's firm do so, nor may the lawyer or his firm cosign or guarantee a bank loan to the client for such purposes or purchase a percentage of the client's claim. However, the lawyer or the firm may properly refer the client to unaffiliated third parties who would lend the client money or purchase a portion of the tort claim, at least so long as no commission, finder's fee, or the like is to be paid to the lawyer or the law firm for doing so.
  • Opinion No. 83-6
    Summary: There is no inherent conflict for an attorney in representing a client and also serving as an escrowee pursuant to agreement between the client and an adverse party. An attorney should not, however, undertake duties as escrowee that require independent exercise of discretion since the assumption of such duties involves a conflict between the fiduciary obligations of an attorney and the nonpartisan duty of an escrowee.
  • Opinion No. 83-5
    Summary: An attorney may send a demand letter under M.G.L. c.93A, S9 directly to a party represented by counsel.
  • Opinion No. 83-4
    Summary: A lawyer may properly provide an educational seminar to local unions and their members as to the provisions of the Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Law, even where the underlying intent and desire is that such seminars will generate legal business in the future, provided that (1) neither the lawyer nor anyone on his behalf recommends employment of the lawyer as a private practitioner for a fee and (2) neither the seminar nor advertisement for the seminar involve deceptive statements or claims.
  • Opinion No. 83-3
    Summary: A lawyer representing an automobile insurance company on a subrogated claim may ethically notify the debtor prior to commencing litigation against him stating that the lawyer intends to bring litigation and that if a judgment is obtained and remains unpaid the lawyer will petition the Registry of Motor Vehicles to suspend the license and registration of the debtor.
  • Opinion No. 83-2
    Summary: An attorney in Massachusetts is not required to report violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility to the Board of Bar Overseers in the absence of a request under Disciplinary Rule 1-103(B). Disciplinary proceedings before the Board of Bar Overseers are sufficiently similar to criminal proceedings that it could violate Disciplinary Rule 7-105(A) if an attorney reported violations of the Disciplinary Rules on the part of another attorney to the board. The attorney may report the "serious violations" referred to in this inquiry, however, so long as the attorney is not acting solely in order to gain an advantage in a civil matter.
  • Opinion No. 83-1
    Summary: An attorney may ethically charge interest on unpaid balances for legal services previously rendered whether or not the attorney and client agreed to such charging of interest prior to the rendering of services, provided that the client has notice and a reasonable opportunity to pay the balance due without interest. MBA Opinion No. 75-5 is superseded to the extent it is inconsistent with the foregoing.
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