Opinion No. 1990-2
Opinion No. 1990-2. Conflict of interest; joint representation of a present client and a new client. In civil litigation, even where there may be identity of interests, a single lawyer may not represent both parties if one has a claim against the adverse party and the other does not.
Opinion No. 1990-3
Opinion No. 1990-3. Attorney's direct mail solicitation. Subject to certain restrictions, an attorney may solicit, by direct mail, persons charged with violations of the Vehicle & Traffic Law, as well as people involved in automobile accidents or persons who may require an attorney to handle certain estate matters.
Opinion No. 1990-4
Opinion No. 1990-4. Stopping payment on an attorney's certified check. An attorney is not required to stop payment on a check if he determines that this is unlawful.
Opinion No. 1990-5
Opinion No. 1990-5. Retaining possession of wills. An attorney may retain existing wills in order to enforce his claim to be paid for preparing new wills.
Opinion No. 1991-1
Opinion No. 1991-1. Retaining lien upon documents and other properties of the client to secure reimbursement of expenses advanced by attorney in the course of representation. An attorney may withhold documents and other property of the client in order to assert and protect a retaining lien for expenses advanced by the attorney without breaching the general duty to deliver a client's property promptly.
Opinion No. 1991-2
Opinion No. 1991-2. Propriety of advertising reduced rate fees to certain groups. Improper to advertise fees as dicounted unless customary fees are readily discernible and all applicable provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Court Rules are complied with.
Opinion No. 1991-3
Opinion No. 1991-3. Campaign donations to judicial candidates. An attorney is not prohibited from donating to the campaign of a judicial candidate even if the fact of his donation may corne to the attention of the candidate.
Opinion No. 1991-4
Opinion No. 1991-4. Advertising fact of being former judge. A former judge may include that fact in advertisements.
Opinion No. 1991-5
Opinion No. 1991-5. Reimbursement for attorney's out-of-pocket litigation expenses from funds advanced by client for expert medical witness. An attorney may, with the consent of the client, properly take reimbursement for litigation expenses from funds advanced by the client for costs and expenses where the actual expenses were not the particular litigation expenses anticipated at the time the advance was made. In the event of a dispute, the attorney may assert a retaining lien on those funds and/or upon the file to secure reimbursement.
Opinion No. 1991-6
Opinion No. 1991-6. Disqualification of partners or associates or attorneys "of counsel" to attorney in public service; appearance of impropriety. Partners and associates of, and attorneys "of counsel" to attorney in public service may not practice in areas of law in which the public servant attorney may not practice, absent statutory exemption.
Opinion No. 1992-1
Opinion No. 1992-1. Compulsion of testimony by an attorneys before a Grand Jury investigating client. When a lawyer has been ordered by a court to testify about matters of a confidential nature, the lawyer does not violate the Code by complying with the court's order.
Opinion No. 1992-3
Opinion No. 1992-3. Payment of a forwarding fee to a member of the Judiciary proportionate to the legal services rendered by the forwarding attorney before becoming a Judge. If payment of a forwarding fee by one attorney to another would otherwise be proper, and if the right to such a fee would be enforceable by the forwarding attorney, payment of such a fee would not be rendered improper solely because the referring attorney became a member of the Judiciary after earning the fee but prior to payment. The judge should, however, liquidate all fee claims as soon as possible to avoid any appearce of impropriety.
Opinion No. 1992-4
Opinion No. 1992-4. Continuing to use, as part of a firm name, the name of a partner who withdraws from the firm but continues to practice law. The name of a partner who withdraws from a firm but continues to practice law may be included as part of the firm name, at least as long as the withdrawing partner maintains a continuing "Of Counsel" relationship with the firm.
Opinion No. 1992-5
Opinion No. 1992-5. Commencement of action tor defamation and libel by attorney against: adverse pro se party in a pending lawsuit in Family Court who writes letter of complaint about conduct of attorney In handling the case to the Grievance Committee. Without consideration of the legal issue of whether complaint to the Grievance Committee is defamatory, libelous or privileged a lawyer may not bring an action against an adverse party in a pending lawsuit in Family Court re: complaints made by the adverse party about the lawyer's conduct of the case during its pendency; and thereafter only with the consent of his client after full disclosure.
Opinion No. 1992-6
Opinion No. 1992-6. Conflict of interest; representation of intestate's estate on behalf of surviving spouse whom intestate intended to disinherit. An attorney, although having prepared a draft will for a client who intended to leave the bulk of the client's estate other than to her surviving spouse, whom she had long ago abandoned, may -- notwithstanding knowing of the client wife's announced, but unexecuted intentions -- thereafter represent the surviving husband as administrator of the estate and principal or sole distributee.
Opinion No. 1993-1
Opinion No. 1993-1. Propriety of attorney's direct mail solicitation of potential clients, where correspondence is directed toward persons charged with specific crimes; contains a listing of certain of the defendant's rights, potential defenses, and penalties faced for conviction of various crimes; sets forth that the attorney has represented more than a specified number of clients charged with certain crimes; contains a statement that there are "Reasonable Fees and Payment Plans Available"; and contains a statement that the attorney has a "Practice Concentration in Criminal Law."
Opinion No. 1993-2
Opinion No. 1993-2. Referrals to and from attorney-owned medical insurance claims processing company.
Opinion No. 1993-3
Opinion No. 1993-3. Disbursement of escrow funds. To the extent escrow funds are insufficient to pay the sum due to party entitled thereto because of the escrow attorney's error, the deficiency should be covered by the attorney so that the full amount due can be paid.
Opinion No. 1993-4
Opinion No. 1993-4. Valuation of interest in law partnership in buy-sell agreement between partners. Death, retirement or disability benefits may be paid to a partner in a two-man law partnership in an amount derived from a formula equal to one-half the average of the immediately preceding two years' gross receipts.
Opinion No. 1993-5
Opinion No. 1993-5. Demanding payment for disbursements advanced on behalf of former client. Subject to certain restrictions, a lawyer may demand and seek payment from a former client for appropriate "legal disbursements."
Opinion No. 1993-6
Opinion No. 1993-6. Tax preparation service advertising "Tax Lawyer on staff." Improper for accountant/lawyer employee of tax preparation service to permit employer's advertisement to provide "Tax Attorney - C.P.A. - Registered Rep on Staff."
Opinion No.: 1994-2
Opinion No.: 1994-2. Distribution of settlement proceeds. At the client's request, an attorney must distribute funds received in settlement of litigation unless he has been notified of a lien. The fee for legal services must not be increased when more than one attorney has been employed on the matter.
Opinion No.: 1994-3
Opinion No.: 1994-3. Attorney's liens; fee sharing. Attorneys have only such liens against recovery as are provided by law. A fee for legal services may be divided with another lawyer only pursuant to the Codes requisites and applicable case law.
Opinion No.: 1994-4
Opinion No.: 1994-4. Propriety of member of county bar association grievance committee representing a client in a post-matrimonial dispute subsequent to having investigated the client's prior lawyer. Having, on behalf of a county bar association grievance committee operating as an adjunct of the departmental grievance committee, investigated a complaint against a former attorney, inquiring counsel is prohibited from thereafter representing the former complainant in an action related to the one regarding which the complaint was filed. Whether the action is "related" cannot -- on the facts presented to this Committee -- be determined in this instance.
Opinion No.: 1994-5
Opinion No.: 1994-5. Propriety of letter soliciting appellate employment sent to litigant whose case has been dismissed in decision published in Law Journal. An attorney may solicit appellate employment by sending a letter to a litigant whose case has, in a decision published in the Law Journal, been dismissed.
Opinion No.: 1994-6
Opinion No.: 1994-6. Retainer of client and statements made to client prior to Retainer. Subject to stated qualifications, an attorney may advise client of applicable law before hearing client's version of facts.
Opinion No.: 1994-8
Opinion No.: 1994-8. Propriety of letter soliciting class action claimants. An attorney may solicit potential claimants to join in a class action by sending a letter to those claimants.
Opinion No.: 1994-9
Opinion No.: 1994-9. An attorney may, subject to stated qualifications, act as a commission salesman for a collection agency. An attorney may, subject to stated qualifications, act as a commission salesman for a collection agency.
Opinion No.: 1994-10
Opinion No.: 1994-10. Attorney's ethical obligations upon discovering that document provided to the attorney by the attorney's client and thereafter produced by the attorney to opposing counsel, was altered by the client prior to the document's provision to the attorney. An attorney whose client discloses to the attorney that the client, when providing a tax return which has been produced to opposing counsel, "whited out" the names of two imaginary children whom the client had created for deduction purposes, but who left in the deduction amount, is, subject to stated qualification, not required or permitted to report the confidential information to the tribunal or disclose it to anyone, but may be required to withdraw from representation if the alternative would be using perjured testimony or false evidence.
Opinion No.: 1994-11
Opinion No.: 1994-11. Payment of a "packaging fee" to an out-of-state attorney or corporation wholly owned by an out-of-state attorney. With certain limitations, an attorney engaged in collections may pay a "packaging fee" to an out-of-state attorney who has requested the New York attorney to render legal services in this state on behalf of a lending institution. The New York attorney may not pay a similar packaging fee to a corporation wholly owned by an out-of-state attorney.
Opinion No.: 1995-5
Opinion No.: 1995-5. Disclosure of Attorney's "House Counsel" or Employee Relationship with Insurance Company on Professional Letterhead, Business Cards, Door Placard and Building Marquee and Cover Sheet of Pleadings. Under the Lawyer's Code of Professional Responsibility, an insurance company's attorneys, who are employed on a salaried basis as house counsel to, represent and defend insureds, need not identify themselves as insurance company employees on their professional letterhead, business card, and other identifying indicia. used in their law practice; however, it is not ethically improper for them to do so.
Opinion No.: 1995-7
Opinion No.: 1995-7. Propriety of cover letter and firm brochure soliciting parents of prospective college students. An attorney may solicit the parents of prospective college students for legal assistance with respect to college financial aid programs by mailing a letter and brochure to those parents.
Opinion No.: 1995-8
Opinion No.: 1995-8. Lawyers filing bankruptcy petitions. An attorney who has filed a bankruptcy petition may continue to practice before the courts of the State of New York.
Opinion No.: 1995-9
Opinion No.: 1995-9. Retirement of lawyer handling active litigations. A retiring lawyer seeking to withdraw from a employment as litigation counsel in ongoing matters must take steps; to the extent reasonably practicable to avoid foreseeable prejudices to his clients. In matters in which the lawyer is attorney of record before a tribunal the rules of which require permission for withdrawal, the lawyer must not withdraw without obtaining permission. Questions pertaining to the fees that the retiring lawyer may be entitled to retain or collect in connection with litigated matters pending at the time of his withdrawal generally involve issues of law rather than ethics, except that the retiring lawyer is required to refund promptly any part of a fee paid in advance that has not been earned.
Opinion No.: 1995-10
Opinion No. 1995-10 Allocation of travel expenses between two clients when a lawyer is traveling on behalf of only one client. An attorney who performs work for one client while traveling on behalf of another client may only bill all travel expenses to the client on whose behalf the attorney is traveling.
Opinion No.: 1995-11
Opinion No.: 1995-11. Communication by a lawyer with a person who has an interest adverse to the lawyer's client, and who is not represented by counsel. A lawyer suing the relative of a homeowner on behalf of a construction company that was hired by the relative to perform certain work on the homeowner's house, may communicate directly with the homeowner who is not a party to the lawsuit provided that certain conditions are observed.
Opinion No.: 1995-12
Opinion No.: 1995-12. Continued representation of criminal defendant where attorney may be called as witness for client in pretrial speedy trial hearing. An attorney may continue to represent a criminal defendant where the attorney may be a witness if withdrawal would work "substantial hardship" on the client or where the attorney's testimony would not go toward the ultimate fact of guilt or innocence and would not occur before the jury.
Opinion No.: 1995-13
Opinion No.: 1995-13. Conflict: Attorney's continuance as counsel for plaintiff, after defendant in plaintiffs action retains counsel in related declaratory judgment action by the defendant's insurance carrier against plaintiff and defendant where the law firm retained by... ...defendant previously represented plaintiff's attorney personally in an unrelated litigation. An attorney may continue to represent a client after acknowledging that defendant's counsel in a related action had previously represented the attorney in an unrelated litigation provided the attorney obtains the unqualified consent of the client after full Disclosure.
Opinion No.: 1995-14
Opinion No. 1995-14 Advertising Minimal Fees and Fee Ranges. An attorney who advertises a minimal fee, or a range of fees, must clearly state in an obvious fashion that the lowest fee stated is a minimal fee, and may not separate this Qualifying language from the fee by asterisk or other artifice. Any minimal fee must reflect the usual or customary fee charged by the attorney most frequently for similar services. An attorney need not include in the ad the fact that a written statement of the scope of the advertised service is available to the public.
Opinion No.: 1995-15
Opinion No.: 1995-15. Propriety of employing a suspended attorney to draft pleadings, contracts, trust agreements and wills, and to perform legal research as a "litigation analyst," and duty to report employing attorney and/or suspended attorney to appropriate authorities Whether an attorney may ethically employ a suspended attorney to draft pleadings, contracts, trust agreements and wills, and to perform legal research as a "litigation analyst," depends on the scope of the rules and statutes governing the unauthorized practice of law and the scope of the specific suspension order at issue. If the employing attorney knows that the suspended attorney would be violating the suspension order or engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, the employing attorney may not ethically employ the suspended attorney in the described capacity. Moreover, if the inquiring attorney learns that the employing attorney has hired a suspended attorney in a capacity that would violate the suspension orde
Opinion No.: 1995-16
Opinion No.: 1995-16. Propriety of inquiring law firm ("Law Firm Two") representing a client where the client is engaged in ii legal malpractice action against another law firm ("Law Firm One"), and a partner in Law Firm Two ("Attorney A") was a partner in Law Firm One at .... ....the time the legal malpractice action was commenced. Whether a law firm may represent a client is a factual determination dependent upon whether the client has consented to the representation after full disclosure of any potential conflict of interest and the likely effect of the conflict on the law firm's independent professional judgment.
Opinion No.: 1996-1
Opinion No.: 1996-1. Lawyer's Duty To Report Fraud or Professional Misconduct of Another Lawyer -- Exception for Client's Confidences or Secrets -- Fraud upon a Tribunal -- Definition of "Tribunal" as Adjudicatory Body. Inquiring Counsel is required under DR 1-103(A) to report fraud and other professional misconduct of clients' prior lawyers, to the extent such conduct is proscribed by DR 1-102(A) and raises a substantial question as to their honesty, trustworthiness or fitness, unless Inquiring Counsel's information is protected as a client's confidence or secret under DR 4-101(A). Filing of backdated fraudulent retainer statement with judicial administrative office is not " Fraud upon a tribunal," and therefore is not required to be reported under DR 7-102 (B)(2) , unless fraudulent document is used or its application or validity urged in subsequent action, when Inquiring Counsel must disclose prior attorneys' fraud to the court.
Opinion No.: 1996-2
Opinion No.: 1996-2. Partnership with a non-lawyer in a business entity to negotiate out of court settlements for business debtor clients. An attorney should not form a business partnership with a non-lawyer to provide out-of-court negotiation services notwithstanding disclaimers as to the attorney's ability to dispense legal advice.
Opinion No.: 1996-3
Opinion No.: 1996-3. Communicating with jurors after trial. Subject to any applicable statutes, court rules, or court customs, an attorney may send a letter to jurors after they are discharged asking them to talk with him about the trial, provided he does not harass or embarrass the jurors or attempt to influence their actions in future jury service. Moreover, subject to other laws, he may use the information he obtains in a book or other publication about the trial as long as the publication will not materially prejudice any ongoing adjudicative proceeding.
Opinion No.: 1996-4
Opinion No. 1996-4 Advertising of legal services pursuant to a directory of attorneys prepared by a non-profit organization; (b) Fee splitting arrangement between non-profit organization and such attorneys. (a) Provided that certain restrictions are adhered to, advertising in the form of a directory is permissible conduct. (b) An attorney may not split a legal fee with a non-lawyer for any legal work even where the non-lawyer is a not-for-profit organization. Payments for advertising on a percentage basis in the manner presented in this inquiry constitutes such an impermissible fee split.
Opinion No.: 1996-5
Opinion No.: 1996-5. Providing reduced-fee legal services through a corporation. A lawyer may not practice in a corporate form except according to applicable statutes and rules; the name of the attorney must be disclosed in the corporation's name and on papers to be used by pro se clients. Any participation by the corporation in the functions of civic and religious organizations must not be for the solicitation of business; and limitations on scope of representation, the consequences thereof and fee reductions must be fully and accurately disclosed to clients.
Opinion No.: 1996-9
Opinion No. 1996-9 "Factoring" fees for legal services" It is not per se impermissible for an attorney to "factor" (i.e., to finance) earned legal fees to another attorney, provided adequate precautionary measures are taken for the protection of the client.
Opinion No.: 1996-10
Opinion1996-10. Dealings with printer that employs suspended attorney. An attorney may use the printing services of an appellate printer even though the printer has hired a suspended attorney as a commissioned salesperson, provided the attorney does not share any part of the legal fee with the suspended attorney and does not give anything of value to the printer in exchange for referring cases to the attorney.
Opinion No.: 1996-11
Opinion No.: 1996-11. Attorney right to hold himself out as a certified specialist. DR 2-105(B) of the New York Lawyer's Code of Professional Responsibility prohibits an attorney from holding himself or herself out as a specialist unless (1) the certification is made by the "authority having jurisdiction under the laws of this state over the subject of specialization..." and (2) the lawyer abides by "the rules prescribed by that authority." However, no such authority exists in New York. Therefore, DR 2-105(B) effectively constitutes a blanket ban on a lawyer's right to hold himself or herself out as a certified specialist. The United States Supreme Court has declared any ban this broad to be unconstitutional. New York lawyers who wish to communicate their certification in a legal specialty are advised that while the current version of DR 2-105(B) may be unconstitutional, the apparent conflict with constitutional doctrine must be resolved by the courts.
Opinion No.: 1996-12
Opinion No.: 1996-12. Propriety of two or more attorneys joining together to advertise their separate legal practices in one advertisement where there is no professional relationship between the attorneys other than the sharing of office space. An attorney may advertise together with another attorney in a single advertisement where there is no professional relationship between the two attorneys other than the sharing of office space, provided that the advertisement does not mislead the likely reader into believing that there is in fact a relationship between the attorneys. The attorneys may not use the term "specialist" in the advertisement.
Opinion No.: 1996-13
Opinion No.: 1996-13. Extent of attorney's obligation to honor liens asserted by health rare providers over proceeds of personal injury actions. When a lawyer receives proceeds from a personal injury action, DR 9-102(C)(1) requires the attorney to "notify" every third party who has asserted a lien over the proceeds. In response to the notice, the third parties will presumably advise the attorney of the amounts to which they believe they are entitled for their services. If the client does not dispute the amount of a particular third party's claim, then DR 9-102(C)(4) requires the attorney to "promptly pay" the undisputed amount to the third party. If the client does dispute the amount of the claim, then the attorney may either continue to bold the funds in escrow until the dispute is resolved or may institute an action to determine the amount to which the client and the third party claimants are entitled.
Opinion No.: 1996-14
Opinion No.: 1996-14. Factors that a lawyer may properly consider in deciding whether to accept or reject a case. In deciding whether to accept or reject a case, a lawyer may properly consider -- subject to the restrictions of DR 5-101(A) -- factors such as (a) the opportunity to work with a specific expert, (b) extending professional courtesy or consideration to a family member, friend or colleague, and (c) the ability to become known and networked in a community in which the firm is not otherwise established.
Opinion No.: 1996-15
Opinion No.: 1996-15. Limits on disclosure of an attorney's billing records for legal services when these records are requested by a civil inquiry from a federal agency, without a court order. Absent client consent after full disclosure, an attorney may not disclose billing records for legal services to a federal agency pursuant to the agency's civil inquiry unless a court orders the attorney to do so. Billing records for legal services generally constitute client "secrets" under DR 4-101(A). In addition, some portions of billing records for legal services may constitute "confidences" protected by the attorney-client privilege, and an attorney must make every effort to assert and protect the attorney-client privilege to the extent it arguably applies.
Opinion No.: 1996-16
Opinion1996-16. Conflict of interest, propriety of attorney opposing client of law firm where attorney was previously employed in same or substantially related matters on behalf of same client. An attorney may not represent a client against a former client in the same or "substantially related" matters absent informed consent by the attorney's former client. An attorney who worked in a law firm is not automatically barred from undertaking representations adverse to clients of the former firm, unless the attorney worked on the same or substantially related matters for the client in the former firm or learned any of the client's confidences or secrets that could be used to the client's disadvantage in the present representation. Whether the current matter and former matters in which the attorney may have participated are "substantially related" depends upon the "totality of the circumstances," including, "the factual and legal similarity of the former and present cases" involving the s
Opinion No.: 1997-1
Opinion No.: 1997-1. Conflicts of interest, appearance of impropriety: attorney's appearance before local criminal court or administrative adjudicative agency representing a private individual while employed as a police officer. An attorney who is also actively employed as a police officer may not represent a client in connection with a traffic infraction which is adjudicated in either a local criminal court or an administrative adjudicative agency.
Opinion No.: 1997-2
Opinion No.: 1997-2. Propriety of attorneys establishing a budget planning service in accordance with General Business Law § § 455, 456, and 457. Because only lawyers may operate a statutorily defined "budget planning service" without obtaining a special license, lawyers may operate such a service only in conformity with the standards of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and must supervise any non-lawyer employees of the budget planning service to ensure that they also comply with the Code of Professional Responsibility. Lawyers thus may not operate such a service under a trade name, must not engage in prohibited conflicts of interest, and must abide by all other provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility in the operation of the service.
Opinion No.: 1997-4
Opinion No.: 1997-4. Obligations to constituents of corporate client; disclosure of confidences and secrets. Attorney for corporation owes allegiance to the corporation, not its officers, directors, shareholders or employees. Attorney may reveal confidences and secrets to extent necessary to establish or collect the attorneys fee.
Opinion No.: 1997-6
Opinion No.: 1997-6. For-profit enterprise renting office space to a lawuer concentraded in elder law and no-lawyers offering various other services related to lawyer's area of concentration, with advertising by such enterprise of multi-disciplianry aproach to those fields A lawyer may not enter into an arrangement with a for-profit enterprise, including non-lawyer professionals offering services in fields related to the lawyer's area of concentration, pursuant to which the professionals would maintain offices in close proximity to one another and the for-profit enterprise would advertise the various types of services, including the lawyer's services, which are available at that location and its ability to refer clients in need of the services offered by each professional participant.
Opinion No.: 1997-7
Opinion No.: 1997-7. Propriety of agreeing that future fee be paid from proceeds of sale of residence after eviction of tenant. An attorney retained to represent a plaintiff in a litigation to evict a defendant from a residence owned by plaintiff may agree that future fees will be paid out of the proceeds of the sale of the residence once the defendant is evicted, but the attorney may not accept a proprietary interest in the subject premises via a tenancy in common with his client.
Opinion No.: 1997-8
Opinion No.: 1997-8. Referrals to health care providers based on (1) mutual referrals back to lawyer, or (2) free medical reports An attorney may not refer clients to a health care provider organization in exchange for referrals to the attorney from that organization, but may make referrals to any appropriate health care facility without a quid pro quo. An attorney may refer clients to a health care provider that promises free medical reports, provided the lawyer's professional judgment will not be adversely affected by the lawyer's own financial interests or if the client consents after full disclosure of the lawyer's interests and the advantages and disadvantages of the referral.
Opinion No.: 1997-9
Opinion No.: 1997-9. Illegal or excessive fee-Propriety of seeking additional fees for services rendered to alleged incompetent where attorney has already sought court approval of the requested fees and the court has reduced them. It is unethical to charge or collect a fee from client in excess of fee determined by court to be fair and reasonable after seeking court's approval of higher fee.
Opinion No.: 1997-10
Opinion No.: 1997-10. Lawyer's duties when representing the executor of an estate, or the estate, or both; disclosure of alleged fraud by the executor; withdrawal from continued representation. The question of to whom an attorney for the executor of an estate owes a duty in the event of the executor's fraud -- whether to the executor, or to the estate, or to both -- is a question of law which is beyond the jurisdiction of this Committee -- but we may give advice based on alternative legal assumptions. If the attorney's client is solely the executor, then any confidences and secrets learned during the course of the attorney-client relationship with the executor would be confidential and could not be divulged. If the attorney's client is solely the estate, then the acts of the executor must be disclosed to the beneficiaries and to the tribunal. If the attorney represents both the executor and the estate, then the executor's fraud must be disclosed to the beneficiaries or the tribunal.
Opinion No.: 1997-11
Opinion No.: Opinion 97-11. Donating legal services for charitable fund-raising purposes. A lawyer may not donate the legal service of making a valid will to a charitable fund-raising program. However, lawyer may cooperate with a fund-raising organization to present and advertise a program in which the lawyer explains about wills and why it is important to have one, as long as the program and the advertising comply with the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Opinion No.: 1998-1
Opinion No.: 1998-1. Attorney's obligation to disclose to the court information received from a client during the course of representation that may affect the decision by the court in the client's pending or past litigation. An attorney is obligated to disclose client information to the court only if it would be material to the resolution of a disputed issue in the litigation, and then only if the information is not a confidence or secret.
Opinion No.: 1998-2
Opinion No.: 1998-2. What are an attorney's ethical obligations to an elderly client and the beneficiaries of the client's will when the attorney believes that an attorney-in-fact may be taking advantage of the client? No disciplinary rules or prior ethics opinions are on point. The question of whether the attorney owes a duty to his client under the circumstances described is based solely upon Ethical Considerations in the Code of Professional Responsibility, not upon Disciplinary Rules. Therefore the opinion expressed by this Committee represents a strong suggestion, rather than an ethical mandate. Pursuant to Ethical Considerations in the Code of Professional Responsibility, an attorney should make sure that an elderly client is aware of the actions she has been taking and the fact that these actions contravene certain provisions of her will. The attorney may also wish to ascertain whether the client has the capacity to make financial decisions, or whether she is merely taki
Opinion No.: 1995-1
Opinion No.: 1995-1. Attorneys direct mail solicitation to targeted areas. Direct mail solicitation of potential clients by lawyers is constitutionally protected and may be regulated but not prescribed, but the particular letters inquired about are misleading as written.
Opinion No.: 1995-3
Opinion No.: 1995-3. Formation of a Corporation by an Attorney and Real Estate Broker; Sharing of Legal Fees with a Non-Lawyer. A lawyer who actively renders services may not form a corporation with a real estate broker for the purpose of filing residential tax certiorari cases; a lawyer may not practice law in affiliation with a non-lawyer; a lawyer may not share legal fees with a non-lawyer; a lawyer may, however, be a passive investor in a corporation which files residential tax certiorari cases where Services are provided only by the agents and employees of the corporation.
Opinion No.: 1998-4
Opinion No.: 1998-4. Use of pre-authorized credit card charge form for payment of legal fees. Attorney may use pre-authorized credit card charge signed by client to pay attorney's fees where services have already been rendered, the client approves the, bill or retainer, and the authorization is executed as a means of assuring payment or if a "general retainer" has been agreed to, but may not use the credit card charge signed by the client for the purpose of collecting attorney fees for services to be rendered.
Opinion No.: 1998-5
Opinion No.: 1998-5. Revealing client's identity in response to subpoena, search warrant, or official request, absent a court order. An attorney who receives an official request or subpoena asking for the identity of a client may not reveal the client's identity without the client's consent or some other exception to the duty of confidentiality if the circumstances are such at that the client's identity is either a "confidence" or a "secret " within the meaning of DR 4- 101 (A).
Opinion No.: 1998-6
Opinion No.: 1998-6. Non-Disclosure of Client's secret as to another lawyer's violation of disciplinary rule. A lawyer may not disclose information learned in representing a client indicating a violation by another lawyer of a disciplinary rule, as otherwise required by DR 1-103(A), where the information is protected as a client's "secret" as defined in DR 4- 101 (A).
Opinion No.: 1998-7
Opinion No.: 1998-7. Prohibition on paying referral fee to lawyer who could not have handled the case due to a conflict of interest. A lawyer who receives a referral from a lawyer who withdrew from a case due to a conflict of interest may not pay a referral fee to the conflicted lawyer for any work done after the referring lawyer discovered the conflict.
Opinion No.: 1998-8
Opinion No.: 1998-8. Unauthorized practice of law within other states - trusts and estates legal services provided to Florida client by New York Lawyer in consultation with Florida counsel. Determining what constitutes the "practice of law" in Florida or another state is ultimately a question of law under Florida's or other states' court rules governing legal services in Florida or those of such other state where performed; it is not unethical, however, under N.Y. Lawyer's Code DR 3-101(B) for a lawyer admitted to the New York Bar (but not the Florida Bar) to give legal advice and draft a trust and will and selected documents in New York for a Florida resident in consultation with Florida counsel who will review same and whose services will be disclosed to and paid for by the client.
Opinion No.: 1998-9
Opinion No.: 1998-9. Obligation of inquiring attorney to inform existing client of information material to its interests which was imparted to inquiring attorney by another attorney in discussion of attorney's availability to serve as co-counsel on a prospective matter. Information regarding identities of the parties and general nature of proposed representation disclosed to an attorney in the course of a preliminary conversation with another attorney regarding the first attorney's availability to serve as co-counsel in a prospective new matter must not be disclosed to a client which the attorney is representing in an unrelated matter. Such information is generally expected both by prospective clients and counsel speaking on their behalf to be kept confidential. Communication of the limited information necessary for an attorney to conduct the requisite conflicts check for a prospective client should not ordinarily give rise to an attorney-client relationship disqualifying an attorney
Opinion No.: 1998-10
Opinion No. 1998-10 (1) Providing discount coupons for attorney's legal fees to real estate brokers for distribution to the broker's clientele; and (2) dual representation in a residential mortgage transaction of (a) the same entity as both seller and loan originator/lender It is improper for a lawyer to provide a real estate broker with lawyer discount coupons to be given to the broker's clientele, whether or not the brokers regularly refer clients to the lawyer, as it would constitute the giving of consideration for a reference and a request for promotion of a lawyer's services in violation of DR 2-103(B) and DR 2-103(C) of the Code of Professional Responsibility. (2) Attorney may represent a single entity as both seller and loan originator/lender in the same residential mortgage transaction. (3) Attorney may not represent both the purchaser and the lender in the same residential purchase and mortgage transaction.
Opinion No.: 1998-12
Opinion No.: 1998-12. Duty when confronted with information raising a substantial question as to the fitness of another attorney to practice law - - bringing fraud to the attention of a tribunal. An attorney who has information indicating the possibility of an adversary attorney being involved in perpetrating a fraud upon a court must make a determination whether the attorney has knowledge sufficient to require reporting of such information, and if so, when and how to make such report.
Opinion No.: 1998-13
Opinion No.: 1998-13. Lawyer retained by client upon recommendation of person with adverse legal interest who, directly or indirectly, pays lawyer to render legal services to client. It is not impermissible for a lawyer to render legal services to a client (a purchaser of real property) at the recommendation of a third party with differing legal interests (the developer/seller of the property) after full disclosure to and consent of the client of the payment by the third party, provided that the lawyer does not give anything of value for the referral and does not permit the third party to direct or regulate the lawyer's professional judgment in rendering such legal services.
Opinion No.: 1999-1
Opinion No.: 1999-1. Attorney’s acceptance of all referrals made by fee-collection company organized by attorney and subsequent fee-splitting between attorney and collection company. An attorney may not organize, and then accept referrals of all legal business from, a fee-collection company organized, in part, for the purpose of indirectly soliciting business for the attorney. Assuming a nonlegal business has legitimate nonlegal functions, an attorney may accept referrals of legal work from that business, provided the client consents after full disclosure and if the attorney may adequately represent both the client and the business. An attorney may not split fees with a non-legal entity.
Opinion No.: 1999-2
Opinion No.: 1999-2. Conflict of Interest - Associate Lawyer as Advocate and Possible Witness for Law Firm's Client in Civil Case; Associate Lawyer as Client's Spouse and Former Codefendant in Prior Criminal Matter. Lawyer who is spouse and former Codefendant with attorney's client in criminal case and who was dismissed from criminal case upon spouse's acquittal may act as associate of attorney representing spouse, in related civil action and as potential witness for spouse, but not as spouse's trial counsel.
Opinion No.: 1999-3
Opinion No.: 1999-3. Permissibility of attorney's participation as "Sponsor" or "Lead Counsel" of Internet advertising service providing information to inquirers about particular fields of law with references to Internet sites containing discussions concerning the law. A lawyer may advertise as a "Sponsor" on an Internet legal. information and advertising service, provided that (1) the service does not in any way state or suggest that the information to which the inquirer is referred was prepared or is being compiled by the "Sponsoring"-- attorney, (2) the format in which the Sponsor's name is presented does not suggest that this attorney is being recommended or endorsed by the service, (3) the Internet service makes clear that the attorney's name appears, in response to the inquirer's request, as an advertisement, and (4) the "button" or "link" provided by the service does not create a "real-time" dialogue with the Sponsor, but is limited to permitting the inquiring person to view th
Opinion No.: 1999-4
Opinion No.: 1999-4. Validity of hybrid minimum and contingent fee retainer for employment - law matters - Application of court rules on certain contingent fee matters -- required specification for deducting expenses in contingent -Fee matters-Invalidity of agreement. (1) The Professional Ethics Committee has no competence or jurisdiction to opine on the application to or legality of a proposed retainer agreement under the N.Y.. court rules setting limits on contingent fees and requiring filing of statements for prescribed contingent-fee cases. Therefore, the Committee will not rule on the application of these court rules to employment law cases to be filed with various administrative agencies. (2) There is judicial and ethics opinion authority that, if the Court Rules apply, then a hybrid arrangement combining a minimum hourly rate retainer and an alternative contingency fee would be illegal and therefore unethical under DR 2-106(A) in providing for payment to the attorney of
Opinion No. 2000-01
Opinion No. 2000-01. Attorney's duty, even after resigning from representing client, to disavow untrue or fraudulent pleadings or other representations upon which the court or other persons may rely. (1) An attorney, after resigning from clients' representation, is not required to reveal to the court or other persons information showing that clients perpetrated fraud if such information is protected as clients' confidence or secret. (2) Nevertheless, an attorney, even after resigning from clients' representation, must disavow previously certified pleadings or representations after clients disclose information indicating that such pleadings or representations on which the court or other persons may rely are false.
Opinion No.: 2001-01
Opinion No.: 2001-01. An attorney's permissible use of a standard real estate sales contract form. Subject to the clarifications as described, an attorney may utilize a standard real estate sales contract form.
Opinion No.: 2001-2
Opinion No.: 2001-2. Permissive Withdrawal of Counsel; Effect of Retainer Agreement; Escape Clause. Client’s advance consent may be obtained in Retainer Agreement for an attorney to withdraw from representation in a personal injury action if the attorney discovers after investigation that the claim is not viable. Attorney has the obligation to advise the client at the time of the retention of any foreseeable ramifications of a later withdrawal by counsel.
Opinion No.: 2001-3
Opinion No. 2001. An attorney's entitlement to a fee from another attorney, when initially a conflict of interest existed, but at the time the fee was earned there was no longer a conflict. 3Subject to the clarifications as described, an attorney may not accept a referral fee when a conflict of interest exists.
Opinion No.: 2001-4
Opinion No.: 2001-4. Attorney’s affiliation with on-line legal services-related website. Subject to the operational structure and advertising content as described, an attorney may affiliate with an on-line legal services-related website.
Opinion No. 2001-5
Opinion No. 2001-5. Contlict of interest in dual representation of two defendants, an employer and one of its employees, in a civil proceeding, where, by agreement between them, the employer shall be solely responsible for payment of legal fees and the employee shall be solely responsible for payment of all settlement amounts and/or any award that may result. Applicability of full disclosure and consent of both parties. In a civil suit against two defendants, where one, "Ms. M", is a stockbroker employed by the other, "XYZ Company," and where, by agreement, the employer will be solely responsible for payment of legal fees, and the employee will be solely responsible for payment of any settlement or award, both may be represented by the same attorney provided adequate disclosure of the potential contlict has been made by the attorney to each client and provided the attorney withdraws from representing both clients if an actual contlict arises.
Opinion No.: 2001-06
Opinion No.: 2001-06. Firm name lawyers who only share expenses. May lawyers use a firm name as partners when they only perform minimal professional work and don't share employees but only share expenses for supplies and telephone charges.
Opinion No.: 2001-07
Opinion No.: 2001-07. The circumstances under which "confidences" and "secrets" of clients are to be revealed. Where, prior to the commencement of any court proceedings, the attorneys ("the Firm"), client and client's group sever the professional relationship because they intend to pursue an illegal course of action, what is the obligation of the Firm with respect to information disclosed during the course of such representation, which information is "confidential" and/or "secret," and to whom, if anyone, is the Firm mandated to disclose such information.
Opinion No.: 2001-08
Opinion No.: 2001-08. Preservation of confidences and secrets of a client, attorney's obligation to disclose former client's admission, made after conclusion of the representation, that representations made by client and certified by attorney, were known by client to be false. A matrimonial attorney whose former client advises him, after the representation has ended, that a Statement of Net Worth prepared by a former counsel falsely withheld assets has an obligation to call upon the client to rectify the fraud and may reveal the fraud to the person affected or the tribunal.
Opinion No.: 2001-09
Notwithstanding consent of a client, a lawyer may not accept a fee from a real estate broker and/or mortgage broker for referral of a client to a real estate broker or mortgage broker if the attorney represents the client, directly or indirectly, in connection with the subject transaction.
Opinion No.: 2001-10
Opinion No.: 2001-10. Referral Fee Arrangement with Termite Inspection and Extermination Service; Association with Termite Inspection and Extermination Service Internet Web Site; Web Based Advertising. An attorney may ethically accept a referral fee from a company engaged in termite inspection and extermination provided: (i) The client consents to the arrangement after full disclosure; (ii) A disinterested lawyer would believe that the representation of the client will not be adversely affected by the arrangement; and (iii) the attorney tenders the fee to the client if the client requests the attorney to do so. An attorney who accepts referral fees from a termite inspection and extermination company may not link the attorney's law office Internet web site with the web site of the termite service company. Such an arrangement would result in a lawyer referral system that does not comply with DR 2-103(D) and would not enable the lawyer to assure that the web link complies with the pr
Opinion No.: 2002-01
Opinion No.: 2002-01. Conflicts of interest arising from partners' law partnership in one state and independent practices in New York representing adverse parties in same transactions - application of New York Lawyer's Code to conduct partially occurring in another state - imputation of conflict among related entities - consentability of and clients' informed consent to conflict.
Opinion No.: 2002-02
Opinion No.: 2002-02. The extent to which one of two attorneys representing the same client for the same criminal matter, may comment on the capabilities of the other attorney in representing this mutual client. A criminal defendant has two different, independent attorneys representing him at the same time and in the same case, Attorney A and Attorney B. Attorney A becomes convinced that Attorney B is not "right" for the case and wishes to communicate this to the client, but B objects, claiming that to do so would be interfering with his attorney client relationship.
Opinion No. 2002-3
Opinion No. 2002-3.Supervision and compensation of paralegals or other non-lawyer employees in real estate closings.
Opinion No. 2002-4
Opinion No. 2002-4. Conflict of interest of attorney solicited by private school to represent students and their parents in dispute with local school districts over the proper placement of students in "appropriate" schools, where the private school pays the attorneys fees, and an "appropriate" school in the clients' best interests may be one other than the school soliciting the attorney and paying the fees.
Opinion No. 2002-13
Opinion No. 2002-13. Accepting Compensation For Representation From Someone Other Than Client; Professional Independence of Lawyer; Conflict of Interest; Payment for Referrals. Inquiring counsel may undertake the representation or counseling of a family of a prospective student in a proceeding to have the student's school district pay the student's tuition at a private school at which the attorney is employed as in-house counselor a consultant, provided that (a) the school does not direct or regulate the lawyer's professional judgment in rendering such legal services or cause the lawyer to compromise the lawyer's duty to maintain confidential information, and (b) the school and the family give their informed consent, in writing, to the representation.
Opinion No.: 2003-1
Opinion No.: 2003-1. Preservation of Confidences and Secrets; Effect of Statute Permitting Disclosure of Client's Financial Ineligibility for Assigned Counsel Program. An attorney appointed by a tribunal to represent a criminal defendant under a publically funded Assigned Counsel Program based upon indigence, must not voluntarily reveal the client's financial misrepresentation to the tribunal since the information constitutes a confidence or secret. A statute which permits assigned counsel to disclose his or her client's financial misrepresentation to the tribunal for the purpose of terminating the legal representation or directing payment from the client does not vitiate the attorney's duty to preserve the confidences and secrets of a client. However, if the attorney receives information clearly establishing that the client has intentionally misrepresented his or her financial status to the court in order to obtain assigned counsel, the attorney must call upon the client to correct t
Opinion No. 2003-2
Opinion No. 2003-2. Conflict of interest of attorney solicited by private school to represent students and their parents in dispute with local school districts over the proper placement of students in "appropriate" schools, where the private school pays the attorneys fees, and an "appropriate" school in the clients' best interests may be one other than the school soliciting the attorney and paying the fees.
Opinion No. 2003-3
Opinion No. 2003-3. Placement of clients' applications for title Insurance with own title abstract company. Mayan attorney with an ownership interest in a title abstract company place title insurance applications for real estate clients with the attorney's own title abstract company in transactions in which the attorney represents those clients if the attorney disclosures his or her interest in the title abstract company to the client and obtains the client's consent after full disclosure?
Opinion No. 2003-4
Opinion No. 2003-4. Preservation of Clients Confidences and Secrets and Attorney-Client Privilege as to Confidential Communications; Consent to Disclosure and Waiver of Privilege by Deceased Client's Personal Representative; Validity of Informed Consent in Light of Executor's Conflict of Interests; Lawyer's Duty To Preserve Confidences and Secrets Pending Proof of Valid Waiver or Judicial Determination and Court Order Mandating Disclosure
Opinion No. 2006-02
Opinion No. 2006-02. Inquiry No. 731. Attorney’s fee to be uniformly charged every client for continued storage of their files after closing of clients’ matters.
Opinion No. 2006-03
Opinion No. 2006-03. Inquiry No. 715. Conflict of interest of attorney solicited by a medical service provider to represent patients in disputes with insurance carriers over failure to pay the provider's fees for medical services where the attorney is paid a percentage of the settlement or litigation proceeds by the provider and the parties may subsequently have divergent interests.
Opinion No. 2006-03
Opinion No. 2006-03. Inquiry No. 715. Conflict of interest of attorney solicited by a medical service provider to represent patients in disputes with insurance carriers over failure to pay the provider's fees for medical services where the attorney is paid a percentage of the settlement or litigation proceeds by the provider and the parties may subsequently have divergent interests.
Opinion No. 2006-04
Opinion No. 2006-04. Multiple client representation, preservation of client loyalties, avoiding conflicts of interest, exercising independent professional judgment.
Opinion No. 2006-05
Opinion No. 2006-05. In retainer agreement, attorney seeks prior consent of the client to attorney withdrawal if payment has not been made within sixty (60) days of any future statement or bill.
Opinion No. 2006-06
Opinion No. 2006-06. Inquiry 756. Preservation of confidence and secrets of client – attorney subpoenaed to testify against former client in civil litigation.
Opinion No. 2007-01
Opinion No. 2007-01. Inquiry No. 745. Conflict of interest of attorney in real estate transaction simultaneously acting as broker for seller and attorney for third-party lender (Bank’s attorney) prohibited.
Opinion No. 2007-02
Opinion No. 2007-02. Inquiry No. 763. An attorney who practices law privately and holds a position as the Teen Court Coordinator for a City Court wishes to practice law before this same City Court.
Opinion No. 2007-03
Opinion No. 2007-03. Inquiry No. 765. Conflict of interest – former client; preservation of confidential information. Matrimonial attorney interviewed by wife in divorce action later interviewed by husband for appeal of judgment in same action.
Opinion No. 2008-01
Opinion No. 08-01. Inquiry No. 736. Duty to report misconduct of another attorney – Attorney’s responsibility to report suspicion that opposing attorney may be proffering false evidence in litigation.
Opinion No. 2008-02
Opinion No. 2008-02. Inquiry No. 721. Conflict of interest - - an orthopedist refers a client to inquiring attorney and inquiring attorney pays the orthopedist for his initial medical report and agrees to pay expenses reasonably incurred by the orthopedist with respect to attending and/or testifying.
Opinion No.: 2009-01
Duty to report misconduct of another attorney—Attorney’s responsibility to report an illegal solicitation. Opinion 2009-01. Inquiry No. 793
Opinion No.: 2009-02
Opinion No. 2009-2 Whether a lawyer can represent a client in a sale or purchase of real estate where the lawyer's wife is the real broker handling the transaction. Opinion 2009-02. Inquiry No. 788
Opinion No. 2011-01
Opinion No. 2011-01. The duties of an attorney who is subpoenaed to produce records and to testify concerning a prior engagement.
Opinion No. 2012-01
Opinion No. 2012-01. Attorney advertising using testimonials, superlatives, and statements regarding success and prominence.
Opninion No. 2012-2
Practice Limitations Placed on Retired Attorneys - Responsibility of Retired Attorneys to Identify Status on Letterhead Used in Pro Bono Representations
Opinion No. 2012-03
New York equity partnership with and activity in New York by attorney admitted solely in the State of Massachusetts and the New York Federal Courts -- Advertising limitations.
Opinion No. 2013-01
Safekeeping, payment and delivery of property.
Opinion No. 2013-02
Accepting Compensation For Representation From Someone Other Than Client; Professional Independence of Lawyer; Conflict of Interest; Payment for Referrals
Opinion No. 2013-03
Opinion No. 3-13. Duty to report; where to report. Opinion March 2013.
Opinion No. 2013-04
Opinion No. 2013-04. Confidentiality in settlements
Opinion No. 2013-05
Opinion Opinion No. 2013-05. Ethical issues for attorneys accepting payment by credit card.
Opinion No. 2014-01
Opinion No. 2014-01. Law firm names; attorney advertising; use of logo; misleading the public.
Opinion No. 2015-01
Opinion No. 2015-01 Practice and / or advertisement in New York jurisdiction by practitioner of Federal immigration law, who is not admitted to practice in New York.
Opinion No. 2015-2
Opinion No. 2015-2 Use of altered "form" or boilerplate documents, and the disclosures required with their use.

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