1993 ADVISORY ETHICS OPINIONS

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93-11 A lawyer must withdraw from representing a Town on an Act 2S0 project, where the lawyer's partner had earlier given legal advice to an opponent of the same project.

93-10 An attorney may conduct a legal practice and real estate brokerage from the same office. An attorney may advertise his or her real estate business by stating he or she is also an attorney and has rep- resented buyers and sellers for a number of years. An attorney may represent to the clients and customers of his or her real estate business that he or she is an attorney with experience in real estate transactions.

93-09 Plaintiff's counsel, in an action against the State of Vermont and named employees of a State department, may interview employees of any other State department or agency without the express con- sent of the State's counsel.

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 anyone 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.

93-07 An attorney may not disclose to a former client or to a tribunal a confidence or secret gained in the course of a professional relationship with other clients where disclosure would be embarrassing or likely to be detrimental to the other clients.

93-06 A law firm may make payments over time to a partner and member who is leaving the firm to join the local prosecutor's office when such payments are part of a bona fide, arms-length separation agreement and bear no relation to his or her action as a prosecutor. This same conclusion applies regard- less of whether the lawyers are organized as a corporation, partnership, or some combination of the two.

93-05 With appropriate safeguards in place, an attorney may participate in a business association which provides mediation, arbitration and dispute resolution services, independent of his or her law practice. With appropriate safeguards in place, an attorney may participate in a business association which provides mediation, arbitration and dispute resolution services, independent of his or her law practice.

93-04 An attorney may not "serve" a Vermont subpoena on an out-of-state party to secure that party's attendance at a criminal trial in Vermont where the subpoena to be "served" is unenforceable because served beyond the territorial limits of the court.

93-03 An Attorney representing a Husband in a divorce action, who also is a landlord to the Husband and the Wife, may continue to represent the Husband in the divorce action so long as he makes full disclosure to the Husband of potential areas where the attorney's pecuniary interest as landlord might conflict with the Husband's objectives in the lawsuit and the Husband provides an informed consent.

93-02 An attorney employed by an accounting firm may use a business card which identifies him as "Tax and Estate Planning Counselor" to that firm.

93-01 A public defender who is on an involuntary unpaid furlough due to budgetary constraints does not violate the Code of Professional Responsibility if he or she is not available for advice or appointment of new clients during such furlough, but must either be available or make appropriate arrangements for existing clients to have access to advice and necessary representation at critical stages of the criminal legal process during his or her absence.

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