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99-09 An Assistant Attorney General who formerly worked for an organization that represented class members in a class action against the State and who represented some class members personally on matters not directly affected by the class action should not represent the State or participate on behalf of the State in the pending class action or in future class actions involving the same class members or the same core legal issues.

99-08 A lawyer who is also a physician may indicate on his/her letterhead that he/she is both an attorney and a physician.

99-07 A lawyer must deliver to a client or former client, upon request, all property that the lawyer has in his/her possession which the client is entitled to receive. Further, a lawyer may only assert a lien for attorney's fees and costs if to do so would not prejudice the client in pursuing his/her case.

99-06 Not Published.

99-05 An attorney may simultaneously enter an "of counsel" relationship with a new firm while maintaining a practice with another law firm.

99-04 An attorney who has had communications with a party to a divorce which might be of significant use or materiality in the representation of such party, and who has rendered counsel or advice in response to such communications, has an obligation to maintain confidentiality as to such information and advice even if he is not retained to represent such party. In the event he should subsequently discover that the opposing party to the matter is represented by another attorney in the firm with which he practices, he should make the fact of his contact (but not the substance of it) known to the relevant attorneys in his firm. His firm may continue to represent B provided the attorney does not disclose any information obtained from, or advice given to, A to others in the firm, and further provided that both A and B consent to the firm’s continued representation of B after the facts (including the prophylactic measures being undertaken to preserve any confidential information obtained from A) are disclosed to both clients.

99-03 With client consent, a supervising attorney may permit a paralegal to conduct a loan closing on behalf of a lender client where the client consents, the paralegal’s role is ministerial in nature, and the attorney is available for questions, at least by telephone.

99-02 In the context of a plea agreement in a criminal case, a defense attorney should not advise a client to sign a written Waiver of Rights drafted by the prosecution without first fully informing the client of the legal consequences of the Waiver, and that by signing it, the client could also be considered to have waived the right to keep confidential the nature and substance of communications that had taken place between the lawyer and client in deciding whether to enter a plea and could be used against the client in any subsequent dispute over whether the lawyer fully discharged his or her professional duty to the client. Further, the attorney should not sign an Attorney's Certificate as part of a written plea agreement which has the effect of disclosing the nature, substance and extent of confidential attorney-client communications; which will be used as evidence of the knowing and voluntary nature of the plea; and which may have the effect of limiting the client's remedies against the attorney in any subsequent dispute concerning the client's rights involved in the plea agreement.

99-01 An attorney may list a non-lawyer nurse or paralegal who is an employee with appropriate credentials on firm letterhead so long as it shows non-lawyer status and is not false or misleading; however, the listing on the firm’s letterhead of a non-lawyer nurse, paralegal or another attorney who is an independent contractor to the firm and may hold other employment would appear to mislead the public as to the relationship between the firm and non-lawyer and is prohibited.


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