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06-01 With regard to a client whom a lawyer reasonably believes cannot adequately act in her own interest, a lawyer must maintain as far as possible a normal client-lawyer relationship but may take action to protect the client including seeking appointment of a guardian. The lawyer may consult with an appropriate diagnostician with regard to the client's condition but must protect against disclosure of confidential information.

06-02 A law firm may hire an associate who previously represented a party the law firm is currently suing on an unrelated matter provided no information from the prior representation is revealed or used to the client’s disadvantage.

06-03 The email address "advancingjustice.com" and the media ad phrase "we will fight for your rights - advancing justice one case at a time" are communications governed by Rule 7.1. While there is a "potential" for such communications to mislead the public regarding results a law firm can achieve, without more, the Committee is not prepared to say such communications violate Rule 7.1.

06-04 All funds provided to an attorney in connection with a real estate closing must be maintained in a pooled interest bearing trust account unless the funds can reasonably be expected to generate substantial interest for a client. All trust accounts maintained by attorneys practicing in Vermont must be "overdraft notification accounts" as specified in Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15C.

06-05 (1) A lawyer who is representing a terminated employee in litigation against the company that formerly employed her may communicate with a manager of the company if the sole topic of discussion is whether the lawyer will represent the manager in the manager's separate claim against the company and so long as no information protected by V.R.E. 502 is disclosed. (2) A former manager is not a "representative" of the company as defined by V.R.E. 502, but the anit-contact provisions of Rule 4.2, as interpreted by the Vermont Supreme Court in Baisley v. Young, may restrict a lawyer who has commenced an action against the company on behalf of a former employee from discussing that action with the former manager if the former manager remains a company employee. (3) A lawyer may represent a former manager and a former employee in separate actions against the company that employed both, but if the former manager is later called as a witness by the company to testify against the former employee, such circumstance may require the lawyer to withdraw from further representation of one or both clients depending on the circumstances existing at the time and whether each client consents to the lawyer's continued representation of both clients.

06-06 (1) An assistant judge may practice law with a law firm and may include his name in the firm's name and on its stationary so long as the assistant judge is regularly and actively practicing law with the firm. (2) An assistant judge may remain a member of an elected municipal school board to which the assistant judge was elected before becoming an assistant judge but may not run for re-election once his current school board term expires.

06-07 Lawyer may represent private clients in matters before Lawyer's former governmental agency, provided that Lawyer had not participated personally and substantially in such matters during government service, absent consent of the governmental agency; and provided that in the new representation Lawyer would not use or reveal confidences of Lawyers's former government client.


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