1988

  • Opinion No. 88-6
    Summary: When a lawyer and his firm have been disqualified as litigation counsel under DR 5-102(A) and (B) because the lawyer ought to be called as a witness on behalf of the client and also because the lawyer may be called by the other side since some of his testimony will be prejudicial to the client, the firm ought not to continue as co-counsel in the pretrial proceedings.
  • Opinion No. 88-5
    Summary: An attorney for a condominium unit owner involved in litigation against the condominium trust may communicate ex parte with a former trustee who was a witness to relevant acts, but may not ask the trustee anything that might be protected by the trust's attorney-client privilege. Such a discussion would not violate the prohibition against ex parte communications with an opposing party embodied in DR 7-104(A)(1). Effective representation of counsel for the trust, which is the touchstone for our application of DR 7-104(A)(1), would not be significantly diminished by such an ex parte interview.
  • Opinion No. 88-4
    Summary: A lawyer who leaves a law firm that represented Seller in a business transaction is not necessarily disqualified from representing Buyer in litigation against Seller with respect to that transaction. The critical questions are whether the lawyer possesses relevant confidences or secrets of Seller and whether Seller might reasonably fear that the lawyer possesses such information. When the representation of Seller occurred before the lawyer joined the firm and was done in a different branch of the firm from the one in which the lawyer worked, the representation of Buyer would be proper given that the lawyer does not possess any relevant confidences or secrets, and it would also not be reasonable for the Seller to fear that she did.
  • Opinion No. 88-3
    Summary: An agreement between a law firm and a union in which the firm agrees to provide legal services for union members at reduced rates is not an improper payment to the union to solicit business for the firm under DR 2-103 because of the exception in that section for cooperation by lawyers with "qualified legal assistance organizations." The appearance of the firm at a union hall once a month to answer general questions at no fee is also permissible so long as any suggestion that the law firm handle the legal problem of any particular member comes from the member and not the law firm.
  • Opinion No. 88-2
    Summary: A former government attorney may appear in a matter on the opposite side of his former agency if the matter is not one in which he had substantial responsibility while in that agency if he does not misuse confidences or secrets of the agency. If the former government attorney is disqualified from opposing his former agency in a particular matter, his firm is not automatically disqualified as well under DR 5-105(D) but may, in an appropriate case, appear against the agency if the former government employee is "screened off" from participation in the matter.
  • Opinion No. 88-1
    Summary: An attorney who regularly represents criminal defendants in matters in which municipal police officers are the defendants may represent the autonomous school board of the municipality absent special disqualifying circumstances, such as representation of a defendant charged with damaging school property.
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