96-08 A law firm may not create an employee stock ownership plan (“ESOP”) using the stock of the law firm. Such a plan would be contrary to the Disciplinary Rules regarding lawyers engaging in the practice of law with non-lawyers. The Disciplinary Rules prohibit the ownership of any interest in a law firm by non-lawyers. In addition, the proposed ESOP would require that a lawyer in the firm act as the trustee of the ESOP. The attorney who was both a member of the firm and the trustee of the ESOP would face an impermissible and unavoidable conflict of interest in attempting to perform the necessary functions of both roles.
95-14 The individual attorneys in two professional corporations practicing in the same community may enter into a partnership with each other for the sole purpose of owning an office building and converting it into two condominium units, each of which will then be sold to one of the two professional corporations. This is true even though the two professional corporations have occasion to oppose each other on behalf of their respective clients.
90-05 A lawyer may go into business with a client, provided their interests in the business do not differ and the client does not expect the lawyer to exercise his professional judgment in the business for the protection of the client.
83-03 A Vermont lawyer may form an interstate law partnership with an out of state partnership, adopting a name that includes the name of partners admitted only in another state, as long as the firm letterhead, business cards and the like clearly disclose the limitations on the practice of each lawyer in the firm.
81-02 Attorney who formerly represented three partners in partnership-related matters is not disqualified from representing two remaining partners in dissolution negotiations with withdrawing partner, under facts presented.