• Opinion 06-03

    Summary:  A lawyer who represents a client in a real estate transaction that is adverse to a party who has offered to retain the lawyer with respect to a separate, future transaction involving the same property faces a potential ethical dilemma.  Under Rule 1.7, the lawyer may agree to undertake the representation of both parties only if the lawyer reasonably perceives no risk of an actual or potential conflict in her present engagement and both sides consent after disclosure of all of the facts necessary to permit the client to appreciate the significance of the matter in question.  In all other circumstances, the Committee believes that the lawyer should decline the proposed representation because of its potential adverse effect on the lawyer’s ability to zealously represent her existing client.  Regardless of the course of action that the lawyer ultimately takes, she may not later represent the currently-adverse party in a dispute with the lawyer’s original client concerning the subject matter of her representation of that client without the original client’s express consent, nor may she disclose or utilize any confidential information received from the original client for the benefit of the adverse party without obtaining the original client’s specific authorization. 

  • Opinion 06-02

    Summary:   A request that a judge instruct jurors that they are free to speak to participating lawyers after the case is concluded would be improper if the proposed instruction does not describe completely the restrictions contained in Rule 3.5(d). In any event, the Rule forbids the request if the lawyer’s purpose in requesting the instruction is to encourage the juror to talk about the deliberation process.

  • Opinion 06-01

    Summary:  While there is no outright bar to Massachusetts lawyers’ drafting wills naming themselves as fiduciaries and, as such, retaining themselves as counsel to the fiduciaries, ethical rules require that these steps be taken only when in a client’s best interests.

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