Ethics Committee Formal Opinion #1997-98/1
Conflict of Interest: Member of a Firm Appearing Before Governmental Board When Another Member of the Same Firm is a Member of the Board
January 14, 1998
An attorney may appear before a quasi-judicial governmental board or agency on which an attorney of that same firm is a member, provided that (1) the firm’s attorney member (“lawyer-official”) does not sit or participate in any way in the proceeding; (2) no information obtained by the lawyer-official is used for the benefit of the firm’s client; and (3) the firm may not state or imply to the client that anyone in the law firm has an ability to influence the board or agency. Rule 1.11A(b); Rule 1.11A(c); Rule 8.4(d).
Is it proper for an attorney to appear before a quasi-judicial governmental board where another member of the attorney’s firm is a named member of that board but neither sitting on nor participating in the case in any way?