WITHDRAWAL FROM REPRESENTATION

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06-01 With regard to a client whom a lawyer reasonably believes cannot adequately act in her own interest, a lawyer must maintain as far as possible a normal client-lawyer relationship but may take action to protect the client including seeking appointment of a guardian. The lawyer may consult with an appropriate diagnostician with regard to the client's condition but must protect against disclosure of confidential information.

05-04 An attorney may charge a flat fee or a minimum fee, so long as the basis for the fee is understood by the client and the fee is reasonable when measured by Rule 1.5(a). Any advance payment remains the property of the client until earned and must be deposited in the attorney’s trust account. If, however, the client knowingly agrees the fee is “earned upon receipt,” it becomes the property of the lawyer and cannot go into the trust account.

00-03 An attorney who has been appointed by the court who is discharged by the client during the preparation for a pending case which has been scheduled for a hearing on the merits, should fully advise the client of his or her rights and, consistent with the Rules on confidentiality, should prepare a motion to withdraw; and if the client consents, the lawyer should continue to prepare for the merits hearing, including conducting discovery, in the event the court denies the motion to withdraw. The lawyer is obliged to carry through to conclusion all matters undertaken for the client within the scope of the court’s appointment until the relationship is terminated as provided for in Rule 1.16.

97-14 Lawyer A must withdraw from any further participation as a member of a municipal zoning board in all proceedings related to a particular conditional use application, where Lawyer B, a member of Lawyer A’s firm, represents clients who have challenged the zoning board’s jurisdiction to reconsider an earlier decision that had been favorable to the interests of Lawyer B’s clients. Similarly, Lawyer B has a non-waivable duty to withdraw from further representing clients in a matter on which Lawyer A had participated in a quasi-judicial capacity.

97-12 An attorney may not represent a criminal defendant where one theory of defense involves implicating a person who was previously represented by the same attorney in defense against a charge brought by the same victim.

97-10 An attorney whose client first agrees to a settlement and later refuses to endorse the settlement check may not accept a substitute check payable to the attorney as trustee on behalf of his client for deposit in his Trust Account and distribution.

97-09 Law Firm A may employ a paralegal who formerly was employed by Law Firm B, despite the fact that the two firms are engaged in litigation against each other in a matter in which the paralegal participated for Law Firm B. However, Law Firm A must now screen the paralegal from involvement in the pending litigation and any matter in which the interests of Law Firm B’s client is adverse to any client of Law Firm A. Further, Law Firm A must ensure that no information relating to the representation of the client of Law Firm B is revealed by the paralegal to any person in Law Firm A.

97-03 If a lawyer, while with one firm, acquires no knowledge or information relating to the representation of a particular client of the firm, and that lawyer later joins another firm, the second firm may represent another client in the same or a related matter even though the interests of the two clients conflict.

95-19 Where an attorney learns through a client confidence that one of several jointly represented clients has committed a fiduciary crime against one of the other joint clients, the attorney may not breach the confidence by alerting law enforcement authorities or third parties or by alerting the other clients, but the attorney must immediately withdraw from further representation of any of the clients.

93-08 An attorney is not required to withdraw from general representation of a client in a complex litigation matter because the attorney may be called as a witness in a related proceeding. An attorney, who has previously represented all the heirs and the estate of a decedent in a wrongful death action, may not thereafter represent any one of the heirs in a contested action for distribution of the proceeds of the wrongful death action pursuant to 14 V.S.A. §1492, although the attorney may continue to represent the estate.

92-05 A Deputy State's Attorney should not prosecute a case in which he or she will be called as a witness. However, the other attorneys in that prosecutor's office are not necessarily required to recuse themselves from that case.

91-03 (A) Upon request of the client an attorney may not refuse to deliver to the client the papers and property of the client, to which the client is entitled. (B) An attorney may not collect an excessive fee. (C) It is beyond the authority of this committee to answer questions of law related to the scope of the attorney's lien and enforceability of retainer agreements.

90-07 A lawyer who represents simultaneously Client A and Client B in separate and unrelated matters should discontinue multiple employment under DR 5-105 (b) when the lawyer likely would cross-examine Client A, expected to be a principal witness for Client B's ex-spouse in a divorce modification proceeding brought by the lawyer on behalf of client B.

89-16 An attorney may act as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals for his town and also represent the town in an appeal de novo from an action taken by that board, where there is no inconsistency between the Board's decision and the town's position in the de novo proceeding and where it is not obvious that the attorney ought to be called as a witness at the de novo hearing.

88-02 An attorney must withdraw from representation when a former client with whom an attorney shares confidences and secrets is a trial witness for the opposition, unless the former client makes an informed consent to allow the attorney's use of the confidences and secrets and, if it is "obvious" that the attorney can protect both clients' interests, the former and present clients each make informed consents to allow the attorney's continued employment not-withstanding any conflict of interest.

84-08 Under the facts presented, an attorney is not required to withdraw from a boundary dispute even though s/he represented the opposing party, when a property in question was purchased, where the prior representation specifically excluded investigation of "area, boundaries and such matters as would be disclosed by a survey and/or a personal inspection of the premises" and the attorney gained no secrets or confidences during the former representation relating to the subject matter of the boundary dispute

83-06 A lawyer may provide the defense of a criminal case even though in doing so he will attempt to impeach the testimony of a person the lawyer formerly represented in a juvenile case because the past juvenile case and the current criminal case are not substantially related. The lawyer may not, however, disclose or use confidential information obtained from the witness while a client.

80-14 Attorney who has represented wife in divorce proceedings against first and second husbands, thereafter representing first husband in criminal proceeding alleging criminal assault on second husband

79-06 Attorney representing client in litigation involving legal document prepared by the attorney where an adverse party was neither represented by independent counsel at time document was prepared nor clearly advised by the attorney to obtain representation

79-05 Attorney serving as special legal counsel to governor and simultaneously employed under "consulting agreement" with Control Electronic Corporation

77-05 Lawyer's duty, notice of appeal

76-15 Lawyer's duty when client violates fee agreement

 

 

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