Ethics Forum: Questions and Answers on Professional Responsibility

What should I do? May I charge interest on past due accounts? I share office space with another attorney. May we use letterhead that shows both of our names but disclaims that we are a partnership? An associate is leaving our firm. How long must I retain closed files? I am holding in my trust account settlement proceeds belonging to a client. The client has not contacted me, and I do not know his present whereabouts. What must I do with these funds? I represent a plaintiff in a case against a corporate defendant.

What are the ethical duties when a lawyer leaves a firm? Formal ethics opinion offers guidance

I watched a lot of MTV during law school. It reads:. Vermont has not.

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Effective May 1, Amendments Through October 19, ADKT That Rules through That these rule amendments shall become effective May 1, ; and. That the clerk of this court shall cause a notice of entry of this order to be published in the official publication of the State Bar of Nevada. Publication of this order shall be accomplished by the clerk disseminating copies of this order to all subscribers of the advance sheets of the Nevada Reports and all persons and agencies listed in NRS 2.

The certificate of the clerk of this court as to the accomplishment of the above-described publication of notice of entry and dissemination of this order shall be conclusive evidence of the adoption and publication of the foregoing rule amendments. Robert E. Rose , Chief Justice.

Frequently Asked Ethics Questions

By Wendy Patrick Mazzarella. Click the button below and follow the onscreen instructions. What rules apply when during the course of legal representation, a lawyer decides that he or she is becoming sexually attracted to his or her client? Even then, however, other ethics rules may apply to the extent that sexual involvement may adversely impact the attorney-client relationship.

In other words, lawyers are never to have a sexual relationship with a client unless they were dating prior to when their attorney/client relationship.

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Practical Practice Tips: Lawyers Lusting After Clients and Their Spouses

Sometimes, a legal blogger has to hunt for topics to write about. Q: I am an attorney. Although we only talk business, from my perspective we get along well. The first is whether she is in a relationship. How can I ask her out, or even speak with her in a nonbusiness setting to see if she has any interest? Consume, at most, just under two drinks.

Establishment of Attorney-Client Relationship. Issued by the Professional Ethics Commission. Date Issued: September 4, Facts. Pursuant to Bar Rule.

Under the general rule on conflicts and the rule on prohibited transactions Rule 1. The rules on conflict of interest have always prohibited the representation of a client if a sexual relationship with the client presents a significant danger to the lawyer’s ability to represent the client adequately. The present rule clarifies that a sexual relationship with a client is damaging to the client-lawyer relationship and creates an impermissible conflict of interest that cannot be ameliorated by the consent of the client.

The relationship is also inherently unequal. The client comes to a lawyer with a problem and puts his or her faith in the lawyer’s special knowledge, skills, and ability to solve the client’s problem. The same factors that led the client to place his or her trust and reliance in the lawyer also have the potential to place the lawyer in a position of dominance and the client in a position of vulnerability.

Because of the dependence that so often characterizes the attorney-client relationship, there is a significant possibility that a sexual relationship with a client resulted from the exploitation of the lawyer’s dominant position and influence. Moreover, if a lawyer permits the otherwise benign and even recommended client reliance and trust to become the catalyst for a sexual relationship with a client, the lawyer violates one of the most basic ethical obligations; i.

This same principle underlies the rules prohibiting the use of client confidences to the disadvantage of the client and the rules that seek to ensure that lawyers do not take financial advantage of their clients. See Rules 1. The existence of a sexual relationship between lawyer and client, under the circumstances proscribed by this rule, presents a significant danger that the lawyer’s ability to represent the client competently may be adversely affected because of the lawyer’s emotional involvement.

Rule 1.8. Conflict of Interest: Current Clients – Specific Rules

For purposes of this paragraph, related persons include a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, or grandparent. The Louisiana Supreme Court adopted this rule on January 20, It became effective on March 1, , and was amended in to address financial assistance to clients. The rule contains several significant differences from the corresponding model rule.

Q. What rules govern attorney A. Communications to existing clients or other lawyers are not advertisements. by the lawyer or law firm as of the date on which the.

Accordingly, the Committee has prepared a set of answers to frequently asked questions for the general edification of the Bar. The answers provide only an introduction to the topics discussed. May a lawyer simultaneously represent multiple clients with conflicting interests? Rule 1. Such waiver and consent are effective if three conditions are met:.

Absent consent, when a lawyer represents a client in one matter, he may not be adverse to that client in a different matter, even if the two matters are wholly unrelated. See Rule 1. See also N. City before binding multiple clients to an aggregate settlement, a lawyer has a nonwaivable obligation to obtain the informed consent of every affected client. With respect to aggregate settlements, Rule 1. If it is not feasible to obtain or transmit the writing at the time the person gives oral consent, then the lawyer must obtain or transmit it within a reasonable time thereafter.

Ethics and Intimate Relations with a Client

And while most states do have such laws today, they are pretty watered down. Rule 1. By comparison, the rules of professional ethics for doctors are far more stringent. ABA Rule 1. Although Rule 1.

The lawyer’s communication to the client should include the fact and date of the change in affiliation, and whether the lawyer wishes to continue the representation.

The model rules set forth specific guidelines defining the attorney-client relationship. An attorney will be guilty of misconduct, for example, if she or he fails to provide competent representation to a client, to act with diligence and promptness regarding a client’s legal concerns, or to keep a client informed of legal proceedings. Charging exorbitant fees or overbilling is also considered misconduct, as is counseling a client to commit a crime.

For example, trial lawyer Harvey Myerson was suspended in from the practice of law by the New York Supreme Court after he was convicted of over-billing. Although the opinion acknowledged that the Model Rules of Professional Conduct do not specifically address the issue of attorney-client sex, it argued that an attorney’s sexual relationship with a current client “may involve unfair exploitation of the lawyer’s fiduciary position and presents a significant danger that the lawyer’s ability to represent the client adequately may be impaired, and that as a consequence the lawyer may violate both the Model Rules and the Model Code.

Any secrets revealed to an attorney by a client outside of their legal relationship may not be protected by attorney-client privilege. Proponents of professional rules against attorney-client sexual contact argue that the legal profession should follow the example of other professions such as psychology and psychiatry, and create strict sanctions against sex with clients.

A lawyer who becomes sexually involved with a client in a DIVORCE proceeding can take advantage of the client under-going emotional trauma. That lawyer may hinder any attempts at reconciliation between a couple and complicate matters for any children involved. Sexual relationships between lawyer and client may also affect custody and child visitation decisions in the case. They bristle at the notion of state bar associations regulating the private affairs of consenting adults. Nevertheless, attorneys are increasingly being disciplined for becoming sexually involved with clients, and state bar associations are drafting clearer and more stringent rules against attorney-client sexual contact.

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, for example, in , revoked the license of an attorney in part because he had sex with a client In re Hallows, Wis.

Should Lawyers Be Friends With Clients?