1989

  • Opinion No. 89-4
    Summary: A city solicitor may give advice to a city employee with respect to proposed action by the city against a private party notwithstanding the fact that a new attorney in his office formerly represented the private party. If the new attorney represented the private party on a substantially related matter or has relevant confidences or secrets of the private party, then that attorney is personally disqualified. The city solicitor, however, may advise the city employee provided that the new attorney is screened off from any participation in the proposed action. If the new attorney did not represent the private party in a substantially related matter and has no relevant confidences or secrets, then neither the new attorney nor the solicitor is barred from advising the city employee.
  • Opinion No. 89-3
    Summary: A lawyer may disclose to an independent billing service the information necessary to send a bill for services rendered to a client. If that information includes confidences or secrets of a client, it is the lawyer's responsibility under DR 4-101(D) to make sure that the service neither discloses nor uses such information for any other purpose.
  • Opinion No. 89-2
    Summary: Under DR 5-105, a municipal planning board may be a current client of Town Counsel where Counsel advises the board on a "fairly regular though not frequent" basis, even though he is not handling a matter for it at the present moment. Nevertheless, Town Counsel may represent the town's board of selectmen in opposing an appeal prosecuted by the planning board without obtaining the planning board's consent.
  • Opinion No. 89-1
    Summary: In a civil case, a lawyer who learns from a confidential client communication that a client intends to commit perjury or some other crime has discretion under DR 4-101(C)(3) to reveal the client's intention and the information necessary to prevent the perjury or other crime even if such disclosure makes it clear that the client has already committed perjury during depositions. In addition, the lawyer has the obligation under DR 7-102(B)(l) to reveal any fraud committed by the client during the course of representation through perjury unless the information is protected as a "privileged communication." Information that a lawyer has discretion to reveal under DR 4-101(C)(3) is not protected as a "privileged communication" and must therefore be revealed. If the lawyer does not know of any future crime that client intends to commit, the lawyer must not disclose the client's past perjury committed during depositions, but the lawyer must withdraw to avoid violating DR 7-102(A)(7).
©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association