1979 ADVISORY ETHICS OPINIONS

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79-29 In order to avoid any possible conflict of interest, the Attorney General’s Office should not represent any Judges of the State Court bench or Justices of the Supreme Court bench, but rather such Judges and Justices should be represented, when required by statute, by other legal counsel as provided for in 3 V.S.A. 1102(e).

79-28 A law firm cannot represent a wife in a contested divorce and continue such representation after it employed a paralegal who had worked 50 hours on this case in a law office representing her husband.

79-27 An attorney should not represent both the employer or its insurance carrier and the employee or his representative, given potential for impairment of independent judgment of attorney in context of settlement negotiations.

79-26 The law firm, having once represented a client, cannot at a later date, with regard to the same subject matter, represent a different client who has opposing interests to the original client.

79-25 Not issued.

79-24 Within limitations as set out below, a firm may list attorneys as being "of counsel" when not authorized to practice in Vermont.

79-23 A bank cannot require that an attorney represent the borrower and the mortgagee (the Bank) in the real estate transaction.

79-22 Two or more attorneys sharing law offices who are not, nor hold themselves out to be, partners or associates are subject to the same conflict of interest restrictions as attorneys so affiliated.

79-21 Not issued.

79-20 A Vermont practicing attorney who is married to a Vermont trial judge is not barred from practicing before a district court bench in general and a practicing attorney’s associates in the attorney general’s office are not precluded from practicing before the practicing attorney’s spouse.

79-19 Not issued.

79-18 Not issued.

79-17 A law school may publish a directory of its law school graduates and may list the firm’s area of concentration but may not indicate that the firm or lawyer is a specialist unless the firm or lawyer is in fact a specialist defined in DR 2-105(A).

79-16 Subject to certain disclosure requirements, it is not improper for a lawyer to serve as an agent for the sale of title insurance.

79-15 Not published.

79-14 In order for an attorney to represent a client and at the same time be a witness the attorney must overcome the rule against such representation by meeting one of the exceptions listed in DR 5-101 (B).

79-13 The letterhead of a law firm may list certain non-lawyer employees such as paralegals and law clerks wherever the inclusion of such names would not be deceptive and might reasonably be expected to supply information relevant to the selection of counsel.

79-12 An elected State’s Attorney may not serve on the Vermont Public Service Board.

79-11 I. PLEAS, a Legal Services Directory plan to be instituted to the Upper Connecticut Valley area of Vermont and New Hampshire appears to be in compliance with the various requirements of the Professional Responsibility Code and specifically with DR 2-103 and EC 2-33.  II. A legal directory for a legal services delivery plan may list a firm’s area of concentration but may not indicate that it is an area of specialization unless the firm or attorney is in fact a specialist as defined in DR 2-105 (A).

79-10 Not published.

79-09 The simple fact of membership by a law firm, as an associate member in an organization entitled "The Associated General Contractors of Vermont," or by representation, by such law firm, of other members of such organization does not violate the Code of Professional Responsibility.

79-08 Not issued.

79-07 Spouse of trial judge may represent a party in a case where the trial judge has previously signed a temporary order or otherwise been involved in the case.

79-06 An attorney should not represent a client in litigation involving a legal document prepared by the attorney where an adverse party was neither represented by independent counsel at the time of preparation of the document, nor clearly advised by the attorney to obtain such representation.

79-05 No conflict arises simply from the existence of two contracts, serving as special legal counsel to governor and simultaneous "consulting agreement" with Control Electronic Corporation, to require automatic withdrawal from one contract or the other.

79-04 Not issued.

79-03 An attorney may interview a juror after a criminal or civil trial, prior to the end of the juror’s service on the current jury panel with regard to matters pertaining to the juror’s reaction to the case.

79-02 A state’s attorney may not institute criminal proceedings in order to assist a third person in collecting moneys due and owing from the defendant.

79-01 Not issued.


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1978-Present Index to the Advisory Ethics Opinions of the VBA Committee on Professional Responsibility