1992 ADVISORY ETHICS OPINIONS

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92-15 A lawyer may not represent a client whose interests are adverse to those of another current client. This applies even if the two representations are unrelated. Multiple representation for matters in litigation is allowed only in limited instances where each client consents after full disclosure and there is a clear showing that either clients' respective interests will not be adversely affected by the representation of the other client.

92-14 The Code of Professional Responsibility does not expressly bar an attorney from representing a client where the attorney's partner is a personal friend of two potential adverse witnesses and where the partner previously represented one of the witnesses in an unrelated matter; continued representation depends on the attorney's ability to provide full loyalty to the client during the representation.

92-13 An attorney may not disclose to an existing client that a person has contacted the attorney regarding possible representation in a claim against the existing client. The attorney is not precluded from representing his or her existing client in a subsequent dispute with the prospective client if the attorney did not learn any secrets relevant to the lawsuit as a result of the initial contact about representation. An attorney may not disclose to an existing client that a person has contacted the attorney regarding possible representation in a claim against the existing client. The attorney is not precluded from representing his or her existing client in a subsequent dispute with the prospective client if the attorney did not learn any secrets relevant to the lawsuit as a result of the initial contact about representation.

92-12 A law firm is not disqualified from continuing to represent a client in a pending civil case where the law firm hires a secretary who formerly worked for the corporate defendant in the pending case, provided the law firm takes appropriate precautions to prevent the firm's attorneys and other staff involved in the case from discussing the case with the secretary.

92-11 A lawyer may represent a new client despite the objection of former clients where the latter are not parties in the new action, and where there is no substantial relationship between the subject matter of the former and current representation. A lawyer may represent a new client despite the objection of former clients where the latter are not parties in the new action, and where there is no substantial relationship between the subject matter of the former and current representation.

92-10 Absent client consent, an attorney should not report the unethical behavior of another attorney if the first attorney learned of the unethical behavior in a confidential communication, since privileged information is clearly beyond the scope of the mandate of DR 1-103. Absent client consent, an attorney should not report the unethical behavior of another attorney if the first attorney's knowledge of the unethical behavior is a secret, the disclosure of which would be detrimental to the first attorney's client, since such information is "privileged" within the meaning of DR 1-103. Absent client consent, an attorney should not report the unethical behavior of another attorney if the first attorney learned of the unethical behavior in a confidential communication, since privileged information is clearly beyond the scope of the mandate of DR 1-103. Absent client consent, an attorney should not report the unethical behavior of another attorney if the first attorney's knowledge of the unethical behavior is a secret, the disclosure of which would be detrimental to the first attorney's client, since such information is "privileged" within the meaning of DR 1-103.

92-09
A lawyer who advertises that he or she specializes in a certain area of the law violates OR 2-105, which prohibits a lawyer from stating that he or she is a specialist, except in the areas of patent or admiralty law, or has met the requirements of designation as a specialist of the Vermont Supreme Court. A lawyer who advertises that he or she specializes in a certain area of the law violates OR 2-105, which prohibits a lawyer from stating that he or she is a specialist, except in the areas of patent or admiralty law, or has met the requirements of designation as a specialist of the Vermont Supreme Court.

92-08
Public defender's office may not represent a client on criminal charges where defense of current client may require assertion that former clients actually perpetrated the offense and engaged in illegal conduct, and would violate the confidences and secrets of those former clients. Public defender's office may not represent a client on criminal charges where defense of current client may require assertion that former clients actually perpetrated the offense and engaged in illegal conduct, and would violate the confidences and secrets of those former clients.

92-07 Not issued.

92-06 An attorney, who is a member of a municipal utility commission, but who does not act as counsel to the commission, may represent a state agency which is involved with the regulatory process affecting the utility regulated by the commission, in a matter, despite his membership on a commission which the agency oversees, after full disclosure to and with the consent of both organizations. An attorney, who is a member of a municipal utility commission, but who does not act as counsel to the commission, may represent a state agency which is involved with the regulatory process affecting the utility regulated by the commission, in a matter, despite his membership on a commission which the agency oversees, after full disclosure to and with the consent of both organizations.

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

92-04 Not published.

92-03
Designation of lawyers on letterhead as "Associates", when arrangement is more akin to office-sharing, may be misleading, and therefore, impermissible.

92-02 The lawyer who performs statutory duties as an assistant judge: (1) should not practice law in the court, hearing rooms and chambers where the lawyer sits as judge; (2) should not practice law in a court where the non-judicial duties and responsibilities make that lawyer a functioning member of the court and affects that lawyer's independent judgment and/or creates an appearance of impropriety. In addition, when that lawyer is disqualified from providing representation to a particular client or in a particular court, all lawyers affiliated with that lawyer are disqualified to the same extent. The lawyer who performs statutory duties as an assistant judge: (1) should not practice law in the court, hearing rooms and chambers where the lawyer sits as judge; (2) should not practice law in a court where the non-judicial duties and responsibilities make that lawyer a functioning member of the court and affects that lawyer's independent judgment and/or creates an appearance of impropriety. In addition, when that lawyer is disqualified from providing representation to a particular client or in a particular court, all lawyers affiliated with that lawyer are disqualified to the same extent.

92-01 An attorney who is an officer in the trust department of a bank may not represent customers or potential customers of the bank by which he or she is employed in the preparation of wills, trust agreements and other legal instruments pertaining to trusts, estates and related trust department business, whether or not the client pays for these services to the bank or to the individual officer/lawyer, and whether or not the bank is named as a fiduciary.

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