2013 ADVISORY ETHICS OPINIONS

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13-01 It would be a violation of Vermont Rule of Professional Conduct 1.8(e) for Plaintiff’s lawyer to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement agreeing to hold Defendant’s liability carrier harmless in the event his client (Plaintiff) fails to satisfy his health insurance carrier’s subrogation in a personal injury claim and in the further event the liability carrier is required to pay that claim. Signing this document would constitute prohibited financial assistance in connection with litigation and would not be subject to one of the Rule 1.8’s exceptions.

13-02 A Vermont licensed attorney may represent residents of Vermont and other states in administrative proceedings before the Social Security Administration Office of Disability Adjudication and Review as may an attorney not licensed in Vermont represent Vermont residents in such proceedings.

13-03 A lawyer representing an indigent client may pay the interest charges accruing on a "non-recourse" loan made to the plaintiff in a lawsuit if the proceeds of the loan are used to pay court costs or expenses of litigation but not if the proceeds are for the personal expenses of the client. A lawyer representing a non-indigent client may advance such costs, the repayment of which may be contingent on the outcome of the matter.

13-04 (1) If a seller is represented in a real estate transaction but the seller’s attorney does not attend the closing, the purchaser’s attorney must obtain the consent of the seller’s attorney to communicate with the seller on any issues that pertain to the transaction.

(2) If the seller was previously represented by an attorney in connection with a real estate transaction but the attorney-client relationship has ended prior to closing, purchaser’s attorney must be satisfied that the seller understands that the attorney represents only the purchaser. The purchaser’s attorney must also refrain from providing legal advice to the seller except the advice to consult with an attorney.

 

 

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