Ethics Opinions 1983-84 to1980
1983-84 #1983-84/1 Formal Opinion Ethical Rules on Attorney Advertising #1983-84/2 Formal Opinion (BOG 9/20/83) Contingent Fee in Support Arrearage Case #1983-84/3
#1984/5-1 Credit Cards: Use for Payment of Legal Fees
A credit card may be used for the payment of legal fees and a lawyer may enter into the standard “Merchant Agreement” with the credit card issuer provided the lawyer enters into a fee agreement in which the client consents to limited disclosure concerning the client to a third party and the imposition of interest charges. Canon 2 and 5
#1984/5-2 Referrals to a Law School Clinic from a State Agency
The Appellate Division of the State Department of Employment Security has included in its mailing to pro se appellants a notice of the availability of representation through the Family and Housing Law Clinic of the Franklin Pierce Law Center. The issue presented for consideration is whether the mailing of such notices is prohibited by the Code of Professional Responsibility.
#1984/5-3 Municipal Representation Conflicts; “Of Counsel” Conflict
An attorney may not act as town counsel when the firm with which the attorney is associated represents clients in pending matters against that town and continues to accept representation of clients in future matters against the town. DR5-105, DR9-101.
#1984/5-4 Taking Statements From An Opposing Party
During the course of representation of a client, a lawyer shall not communicate or cause another to communicate on the subject of the representation with a party that he/she knows is represented by a lawyer in that matter, unless he/she has the prior consent of the lawyer representing that party, or is otherwise authorized by law to communicate with that party.
#1984/5-7 Contingency Fee; Extension of Fee Agreement to Medical Consulting Service
An attorney may recommend that client enter into a separate contingency fee agreement with a medical consulting firm which offers technical research services, expert witnesses, etc., provided that (1) the service does not engage in the practice of law, (2) any witnesses are paid regardless of the outcome, and (3) the attorney exercises control over the services performed.
#1984/5-9 Dual Professions: Attorney-Realtor
A lawyer who is admitted to practice in New Hampshire, but who maintains an office and practices primarily in Boston, has formed a New Hampshire corporation with a licensed realtor and another party experienced in the real estate business. The purpose of the corporation is to develop, manage, and sell real estate in the (small town) area. A press release about the corporation identifies the lawyer as a resident of (small town) who practices law in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The inquiry letter states that the lawyer has never had a law office in this state, does not intend to have an office here, and does not contemplate being in the general practice of law, or seeking clients where the possibility of a conflict between the law practice and his real estate business would exist. However, the letter further states that the lawyer presently practices law and has several “large clients” in the North Country. The lawyer has sought a reconsideration of a reconsideration of two prior Ethics Opinions issued by the predecessor of this Committee, holding that New Hampshire lawyers may not engage in the business of real estate.
#1984/5-10 Municipal Representation Conflicts: County Attorney/City Councilor
Does the concurrent occupancy of the office of County Attorney and the office of City Councilor in a city in the same county violate the Code of Ethics?
#1984/5-11 Disposition of Client Funds When Client Cannot Be Located
The disposition of the client funds is governed by New Hampshire statute. Whether attorney’s fees and expenses can be withdrawn from the funds depends upon the terms of the fee agreement and whether there is a dispute or whether there is a reasonable likelihood of a dispute under that agreement.
#1984/5-12 Client Confidences: Obligation to Protect/Disclose (Probation Violation)
An attorney is under no duty to inform the authorities of a past probation violation by a client, and in fact is prohibited from doing so without the client’s consent. (DR4-101(b)(1); DR4-101(c)(3)).
#1984/5-14 Preservation of Client Confidences: Former Lawyer as Witness
The inquiring attorney appeared on behalf of an accused in a New Hampshire district court in 1979. The charge was driving while intoxicated (DWI), second offense. It was reduced to a DWI, first offense, to which the defendant entered a plea of not guilty. Admitting to sufficient facts, he was found guilty. Following the current practice at that court, no acknowledgement of rights was executed or filed.
Inquiry #1984/5-15 ATTORNEYS’ LIENS
Historically, there have been two types of liens which an attorney was entitled to impose on his or her client’s property. The first is the so-called charging lien. This lien is usually embodied in a state statute. Such is the case in New Hampshire. RSA 311:13, which is referred to in the February 1982, opinion of this committee, allows an attorney to employ such a lien in applicable situations. The statute provides for the imposition of a lien for reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs on a verdict or judgment decree of the Court.