Ethics Committee Formal Opinion #1992‑93/13

Representing a State Agency

June 9, 1993


A lawyer, having previously represented a governmental agency can generally not represent a private client in a matter (involving a specific party or parties) in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially.  (Rule 1.11(a); Rule 1.11(d)(1)

Even if the lawyer had not been personally and substantially involved in the same or related matter, care must be taken that the new representation would not use previous information known to the attorney to the disadvantage of the former client (or governmental agency), unless such information is not protected under Rule 1.6 or has otherwise become generally known (Rule 1.9(a); Rule 1.9(b))


Is it a violation of the Rules for an attorney who has been representing a State governmental agency prosecuting cases on the agency’s behalf to take cases against the State agency under the following circumstances:

  1. The contract with the agency has ended;
  2. All work on behalf of the agency pursuant to the contract has terminated;
  3. The agency is no longer a client; and
  4. the cases are not the same cases that the attorney was involved with when representing the agency.

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