1988 ADVISORY ETHICS OPINIONS

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88-13 A lawyer, not an Assistant Attorney General. who regularly appears before a quasi-judicial board on behalf of a state agency, may represent the agency in litigation where the board is represented by the Attorney General's office and provided that the lawyer's previous contact with the Attorney General's office was on unrelated matters not involving any secrets or confidences.

88-12 A firm may represent a client in a dispute against former clients where the dispute is not substantially related to any matters as to which the firm represented the former clients and where the firm learned no secrets or confidences of the former clients that could be used to the disadvantage of the former clients or to the advantage of the current client.

88-11 Not Published.

88-10 An attorney may indicate that he or she is licensed in other professions on letterheads, business cards and advertising.

88-09 It is improper for a member of a law firm to act as a part-time prosecutor in one County, while this attorney and other members of the same law firm are conducting criminal defense work in other Counties.

88-08 An executor of an estate who is also an attorney may, under strictly limited circumstances, convey estate property to an associate in the executor/attorney's law firm.

88-07 A defense attorney may continue to represent a client when a former client may testify as an adverse witness and the attorney does not share secrets or confidences or have a potential pecuniary interest in future relations with the former client, provided both clients make informed consents to the representation.

88-06 In representing a person accused of murdering a former client, a public defender may present evidence of the former client's reputation for violence if none of that evidence contains confidences or secrets originating with the attorney-client relationship with the former client.

88-05 The general mailing to prospective clients of law office announcements indicating subject areas of practice is ethically permitted.

88-04 A non-lawyer employee of a law firm may not represent the firm's client at proceedings before the Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board.

88-03 In the sale of a law practice, the goodwill of the firm may not, consistent with accepted ethical principles, be sold. The selling attorney is obliged to notify his clients of their right to retain other counsel and to take possession of their files. Compensation arrangements between the buying attorney and selling attorney, if the selling attorney remains "of counsel" to the buyer's firm, should be structured as a genuine attempt to compensate the selling attorney for his services, and must not be simply an attempt to disguise sale of goodwill.

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 notwithstanding any conflict of interest.

88-01 A firm may not represent a criminal defendant charged with the first degree murder of a former client without betraying client secrets, in violation of DR 4-101.

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