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A Note About Ethics Materials from the NH Bar Association Ethics Committee: Care should be exercised in determining which version of a given Rule applies as of a given date, and the extent to which the interpretation of a given opinion or article will apply to such version. Please note that these opinions or articles may not reflect the current rules, comments, or case law as these materials have been published with prior versions of the Rules of Professional Conduct or predecessor rules. Caution should be used before relying on or using the information in the Ethics Committee Opinions or Articles as they are meant to be informative and are not binding upon the Court, the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s Professional Conduct Committee, or the Attorney Discipline Office.

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There are three types of search available. You may use these engines in combination:

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  • Search by Rule, multiple rules may be selected.
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Ethics Opinions Older than 2008

Years 2000 – 2007

Years 1990 – 1999

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Rules: Rule 1.17, Rule 1.3 comment 5, Rule 1.5, Rule 1.7, Rule 7.3
Subjects: Attorney-Client Relationship, Client File, Communications with Prospective Clients, Competence and Diligence, Conflicts of Interest, Document retention, Fees, IOLTA, Lawyer Advertising, Safekeeping Property, Sale of Law Practice, Successor counsel,
Excerpt: Attorneys may be asked to assist with the wind-up and final disposition of a deceased or incapacitated sole practitioner’s law practice. This article provides guidelines for doing so in compliance with applicable Rules of Professional Conduct and Supreme Court Rules.
Rules: Rule 1.17, Rule 1.9 (a)
Subjects: Candor to the Tribunal, Conflicts of Interest, Municipal Representation, Planning Board / Zoning Board
Excerpt: An Attorney who represents a municipal Planning Board and provides advice to the Planning Board on interpreting the Zoning Ordinance in a particular matter, should use extreme caution and carefully evaluate the possibility that a conflict of interest may exist in providing advice to the Zoning Board of Adjustment on the same matter on appeal to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Rules: Rule 1.15, Rule 1.15(a), Rule 1.15(e), Rule 1.15(f), Rule 3.3 (a)(1)
Subjects: Abandoned Property, Candor to the Tribunal, Counsel and Third Parties, IOLTA, Nominal in Amount, Safekeeping Property, Statute of Limitations, , UCC
Excerpt: NEW HAMPSHIRE BAR ASSOCIATION Uncashed Trust Account Checks Ethics Committee Opinion #2020-21/01   ABSTRACT: New Hampshire attorneys are obligated under the Supreme Court Rules and the Rules of Professional Conduct to regularly reconcile their trust accounts. Attorneys must promptly follow up on all uncashed checks in their trust accounts. If an attorney is unable to […]
Rules: Rule 1.1, Rule 3.3, Rule 3.5
Subjects: Competence and Diligence, Duties to Report Fraud, Impartiality and Decorum of the Tribunal, Juror Contact
Excerpt: Under Rule 3.5, a New Hampshire lawyer may review a juror’s public social media presence online but may not contact the juror and must avoid any notification that the juror’s social media platform has been accessed by the lawyer. While a lawyer must exercise care, a review of a juror’s social media presence may be ethically required in providing competent representation under Rule 1.1.
Rules: Rule 1.1, Rule 1.18, Rule 1.4, Rule 1.6, Rule 1.9
Subjects: Confidentiality, Conflicts of Interest, Duties to Former Clients, Duties to Prospective Client
Excerpt: When a lawyer receives information from a prospective client which is materially adverse to the interests of the lawyer’s current client, is the lawyer authorized to reveal any information regarding the prospective client to his/her current client, and/or is the lawyer required to withdraw from representing the current client?
Rules: Rule 1.6
Subjects: Confidentiality
Excerpt: Unless one of the exceptions in Rule 1.6 applies, Rule 1.6 prohibits the disclosure of the identity of a client.
Rules: Rule 1.1, Rule 1.4, Rule 1.6, Rule 8.5
Subjects: Client Communications, Competence and Diligence, Confidentiality, Confidentiality of Information
Excerpt: Ethics Committee Advisory Opinion #2018-19/01 by the NHBA Ethics Committee. This opinion was submitted for publication to the NHBA Board of Governors at its May 6, 2019 meeting.
Rules: Rule 1.7 (a) (1), Rule 1.7 (a)(2)
Subjects: Waivability of Conflicts of Interest
Excerpt: Ethics Committee Advisory Opinion #2017-18/02 by the NHBA Ethics Committee. This opinion was submitted for publication to the NHBA Board of Governors at its June 28, 2018 meeting.
Rules: Rule 1.8, Rule 1.8 (a)
Subjects: Barter, Business Transaction with a Client, Conflicts of Interest, Fees
Excerpt: This opinion was submitted for publication to the NHBA Board of Governors at its November 16, 2017 meeting.
Rules: Rule 1.16 (d), Rule 1.17, Rule 1.5 (f), Rule 5.4 (a)(1), Rule 5.4(a)(2), Rule 5.4(a)(3), Rule 5.4(b), Rule 5.4(d)
Subjects: Professional Independence of a Lawyer, Sale of Law Practice, , Withdrawal from Representation
Excerpt: This opinion was submitted for publication to the NHBA Board of Governors at its April 20, 2017 meeting.
Rules: Rule 1.1, Rule 1.1 (c), Rule 1.2 (a), Rule 1.2 (d), Rule 1.2 (f), Rule 1.2 (g), Rule 1.6, Rule 1.7, Rule 3.1, Rule 3.3 (a)(3), Rule 3.4 (d)
Subjects: Candor to the Tribunal, Competence and Diligence, Limited Representation, Meritorious Claims and Contentions, Scope of Representation
Excerpt: This opinion was submitted for publication to the NHBA Board of Governors at its March 3, 2016 meeting.
Rules: Rule 1.15, Rule 1.15(a), Rule 1.16, Rule 1.6 (a)
Subjects: Client File, Confidentiality, Document retention, Safekeeping Property
Excerpt: This opinion was submitted for publication to the NHBA Board of Governors at its June 16, 2016 meeting.
Rules: Rule 1.0 (e), Rule 1.16, Rule 1.4, Rule 1.6, Rule 1.7
Subjects: Joint Representation
Excerpt: This opinion was submitted for publication to the NHBA Board of Governors at its June 18, 2015 meeting.
Rules: Rule 1.4, Rule 1.6
Subjects: Client with Diminished Capacity, Confidentiality
Excerpt: Can an Attorney Disclose Confidential Client Information, Over a Client's Objection, to Protect the Client from Elder Abuse or Other Threats of Substantial Bodily Injury?
Rules: Rule 1.1, Rule 1.15, Rule 1.16, Rule 1.18, Rule 1.5, Rule 1.7, Rule 1.9, Rule 5.4, Rule 7.1, Rule 7.2
Excerpt: May a lawyer ethically offer discounted legal services through a "group coupon" or "daily deal" service?
Rules: Rule 1.1 (b), Rule 1.1 (c), Rule 3.4, Rule 4.1 (a), Rule 4.2, Rule 4.3, Rule 4.4, Rule 5.3, Rule 8.4 (a)
Subjects: Agents of Lawyers; Acting Through Others, Competence and Diligence, Contact with Witnesses, Truthfulness
Excerpt: The Rules of Professional Conduct do not forbid use of social media to investigate a non-party witness. However, the lawyer must follow the same rules which would apply in other contexts, including the rules which impose duties of truthfulness, fairness, and respect for the rights of third parties. The lawyer must take care to understand both the value and the risk of using social media sites, as their ease of access on the internet is accompanied by a risk of unintended or misleading communications with the witness. The Committee notes a split of authority on the issue of whether a lawyer may send a social media request which discloses the lawyer’s name – but not the lawyer’s identity and role in pending litigation – to a witness who might not recognize the name and who might otherwise deny the request. The Committee finds that such a request is improper because it omits material information. The likely purpose is to deceive the witness into accepting the request and providing information which the witness would not provide if the full identity and role of the lawyer were known.
Rules: Rule 1.0 (e), Rule 1.1, Rule 1.15, Rule 1.6, Rule 1.8 (c), Rule 2.1, Rule 5.3
Subjects: Competence and Diligence, Confidentiality of Information, Informed Consent, Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants, Safekeeping Property
Excerpt: A New Hampshire lawyer who uses cloud computing must be certain that such use complies with the Rules of Professional Conduct, including, Rule 1.8(c), 1.0(e), 1.1, 1.6, 1.15, 2.1, and 5.3.
Rules: Rule 1.0 (f), Rule 1.1 (b), Rule 1.7, Rule 1.7 (a)(2), Rule 1.7 (b)(4), Rule 1.8 (c), Rule 2.1
Subjects: Client Gifts to Lawyer, Confirmed in Writing, Conflicts of Interest, Informed Consent
Excerpt: The Committee analyzed several scenarios where a lawyer was asked by a client to benefit either the lawyer or the lawyer’s family by a present or testamentary gift. In this opinion, the Committee discussed the issues of direct gifts to the lawyer, gifts to individual related both to the testator and the lawyer, and a gift to a charitable organization for which the lawyer raised funds.
Rules: Rule 1.1, Rule 1.2, Rule 1.6, Rule 1.7, Rule 2.1, Rule 5.1, Rule 5.3, Rule 5.4, Rule 5.5, Rule 7.1
Subjects: Competence and Diligence, Confidentiality, Conflicts of Interest, Fees, Independent Judgment, Outsourcing, Supervision, Unauthorized Practice of Law
Excerpt: May a New Hampshire attorney outsource litigation support services, such as document review, to a company located overseas, on a temporary or an ongoing basis? Must that attorney notify the client of the use of these services?
Rules: Rule 1.6, Rule 1.7 (a), Rule 1.8 (h), Rule 8.3 (a)
Subjects: Confidentiality, Conflicts of Interest, Reporting Misconduct, Settling Malpractice Claims
Excerpt: A lawyer may not condition settlement of a dispute with a client upon the client agreeing not to file professional conduct complaint against the lawyer.
Rules: Rule 7.1
Subjects: Disclaimer, Lawyer Advertising
Excerpt: Advertising that a lawyer is a “million dollar advocate” or is a member of the “Million Dollar Advocates Forum” is permissible only if the advertisement includes an appropriate disclaimer.
Rules: Rule 1.5, Rule 1.6, Rule 1.9
Subjects: Confidentiality of Information, Duties to Former Clients, Fees
Excerpt: In an attempt to collect an unpaid bill, an attorney may not (a) threaten to or actually inform the Internal Revenue Service that the attorney has written off the account receivable and considers the unpaid legal fees a debt that has been forgiven, or (b) inform a regulatory agency that a client owes unpaid fees to the attorney.
Rules: Rule 1.2, Rule 1.6, Rule 1.7, Rule 1.9, Rule 5.6
Subjects: Allocation of Authority between Client and Lawyer and Third Parties, Confidentiality of Information, Conflicts of Interest, Duties to Former Clients, Restrictions on Right to Practice
Excerpt: Settlement agreements afford individuals the opportunity to resolve disputes quickly and with finality in order to avoid the uncertainty and expense of litigation. Settlements typically are private arrangements among disputing parties and, consequently, specific terms often are not public to avoid disclosure of confidential information or facts that would negatively impact a party. During the course of representation and, in particular, during settlement negotiations, an attorney is obligated pursuant to Rule 1.2 to abide by the client’s objectives and decisions, subject at all times to the Rules of Professional Conduct. One such rule is Rule 5.6(b), which prohibits an attorney from “offering or making” a settlement agreement that restricts the attorney’s “right to practice.”
Rules: Rule 1.1, Rule 1.4, Rule 1.6
Subjects: Client Communications, Competence and Diligence, Confidentiality, Interpreters
Excerpt: A lawyer representing a client who needs an interpreter should, ideally, engage the services of a qualified, impartial third party to ensure compliance with Rule 1.1, Rule 1.4 and Rule 1.6.
Rules: Rule 1.0 (k), Rule 1.11, Rule 1.18, Rule 1.7, Rule 1.9
Subjects: Conflicts of Interest, Duties to Former Clients, Duties to Prospective Client, Special Conflicts of Interest for Former and Current Government Officers and Employees
Excerpt: A lawyer must be careful when exposed to confidential information from a prospective client. If a lawyer is exposed to such confidential information, it may disqualify the lawyer from later representing an opposing party. This opinion outlines certain steps to avoid disqualifying the entire law firm from representing others with materially adverse interests in the matter.
A Note About Ethics Materials from the NH Bar Association Ethics Committee

Care should be exercised in determining which version of a given Rule applies as of a given date, and the extent to which the interpretation of a given opinion or article will apply to such version. Many interpretations of New Hampshire ethics law (including many ethics opinions, practical ethics articles, and ethics corner articles issued by the NHBA Ethics Committee) have been published under the prior version of the Rules of Professional Conduct or predecessor rules. Read more.

General Ethics Guidance

Brief Bar News articles by the Ethics Committee examine frequently asked questions on ethics. View Ethics Corner and Practical Ethics articles.

NH Rules of Professional Conduct

The Rules of Professional Conduct constitute the disciplinary standard for New Hampshire lawyers. Together with law and other regulations governing lawyers, the Rules establish the boundaries of permissible and impermissible lawyer conduct. View the rules.

How to Obtain Answers
Can’t Find an NHBA Ethics Opinion on Point?

The Ethics Committee provides several services for members of the Bar. New Hampshire lawyers may contact the Committee for confidential and informal guidance on their own prospective conduct or suggest topics for Ethics Corner.

Members are encouraged to ask the NHBA Ethics Committee questions pertaining to New Hampshire practice. Inquiries and requests for opinions should be directed to staff liaison to the Ethics Committee Robin E. Knippers, 603-715-3259. Learn more.