2004

  • Opinion 2004-3
    Summary: It is normally permissible for a municipal Solicitor to represent the municipality before its Zoning Board of Appeals even though the Solicitor represents the Zoning Board of Appeals in other matters. However, there are circumstances, such as a conflict of interest or a personal relationship with Board members, that may preclude such representation.
  • Opinion 2004-2
    Summary: Lawyer represents a joint venture AB, consisting of A and B, in certain litigation and also represents A individually. Lawyer inquires whether she may represent third party C in a suit against B that is unrelated to the business of AB. Before taking C’s case, Lawyer must first determine whether, in the course of representing AB, she has either established an attorney-client relationship with B individually or has undertaken a fiduciary duty to B that would preclude suing B. If she represents B, or has such a fiduciary duty to B, Lawyer may not bring a suit against B on behalf of C without obtaining the consent of both B and C.

    Next, Lawyer must consider whether bringing suit against B might impair her ability to represent AB in the pending litigation by undermining her ability to obtain B’s cooperation in the suit. Lawyer must also consider whether pursuing C’s claim might require attachment of B’s interest in AB and thus involve impermissible use of AB’s confidential information. Finally, Lawyer must consider whether C’s lawsuit against B might have such an impact on the financial interests of AB or A that her representation of C would be materially limited. If any of these possibilities seem likely, Lawyer cannot undertake the proposed representation without meeting the consent and reasonableness requirements of Rule 1.7(b)(1) and (2).

  • Opinion 2004-1
    Summary: A lawyer discharged by a client should normally turn over the client’s file to a new attorney when requested to do so. When circumstances indicate that the client may not have had the capacity to make an adequately considered decision to discharge the lawyer, the lawyer should take further steps to ascertain whether the discharge represents the client’s real wishes. Moreover, if the lawyer concludes that the client did not have such capacity and if the lawyer reasonably believes that the client is at risk of substantial harm, physical, mental, financial, or otherwise, the lawyer may consult with family members in order to protect the client’s interests and may disclose confidential information of the client to family members, but only to the extent necessary to protect client’s interests.
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