2011 ADVISORY ETHICS OPINIONS

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11-01 An attorney who is a principal owner of a separate online service for the organization and storage of personal information and documents may refer clients and others to the service provided that the attorney takes objectively reasonable measures to assure that the referred individuals know that this law related online service does not provide legal services and that the protections of the client-lawyer relationship do not exist.

11-02 Although there have been changes in the Rules of Professional Conduct and in the rules and regulations applicable to real estate closings, the Committee concludes the opinion expressed in Opinion 2001-02 remains valid under the present circumstances. The Committee continues to believe that an attorney may represent the lender and the buyer/borrower in a real estate closing if the attorney complies with the provisions of Rule 1.7. The requirements for representing multiple parties in a real estate transaction are set out in Rule 1.7. The additional issues raised by changes in various rules and regulations related to real estate closings are a factor in determining whether the possibility of conflicting interests is of such significance that an attorney cannot provide diligent and competent representation to both parties simultaneously.

11-03 Lawyer may retain papers relating to a former client to the extent permitted by other law, provided that the former client is informed.

11-04 An attorney acting as the trustee of a trust funded upon a spouse’s death for the benefit of the surviving spouse and upon that spouse’s death to be distributed to other family members is governed by the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct (the “VRPC”) and also the Vermont codification of the Uniform Prudent Investor Act, so must maintain a diversified portfolio and is not required to hold the funds in a “pooled interest” ( I O LTA) account under VRPC 1.15B where by interest or dividends would be paid to the Vermont Bar Foundation to support legal services to the needy or public education on legal matters only in financial institutions approved by the Vermont Professional Conduct Board.

 

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