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Formal Ethics Opinion Subject Index

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
 H
I
J
L
M
N
O

 
P
R
S
T
U
V
W
 
 

 View Formal Ethics Opinions List

 

Subject Index
Numbers refer to opinions 

A

Acquisition of ownership interest in client ... 109,110

Advancement of client’s living expenses by lawyer, personal injury cases ... 34

Adverse party, communications with ... 69, 93

Advertising
     credit card acceptance ... 99
     direct mail ... 83
     endorsements and testimonials ... 83
     guidelines ... 76, 83
     history of ethics rules concerning ... 76
     insurance company employment ... 11
     internet-based ... 122
     limitation or concentration of area of practice ... 76
     misleading ... 76
     networking organizations ... 106
     newsletters by lawyers ... 74
     online listing directory ... 122
     publicity ... 83
     reference to experience ... 76
     referral services ... 83, 106, 122
     relationship with financial institution ... 24
     relationship with other law firm ... 106
     signs or shingles ... 83
     solicitation ... 83
     specialty designation ... 76, 83
     statements to media concerning litigation ... 31
     telephone directory listing ... 83
     use of letterhead in correspondence ... 81
     See also Announcement cards


Advocate, conflict with accountancy services ... 98

Alternative Dispute Resolution ... 115

Announcement cards
    
guidelines ... 83
     specialty designation ... 83

Appeal, obligation to pursue ... 114

Appearance of impropriety ...  89

Articles, writing ... 83

Assistants and employees who are not licensed lawyers ... 61, 84

Associates
     definition ... 50
     distinguished from partners ... 50
     letterhead ... 8, 9
     name of firm ... 8, 9, 89
     office space renting ... 9, 50
     office space sharing ... 8, 50, 89
     use of term ... 8, 9, 50, 89

Attorney-client privilege
     adverse party’s employee ... 69, 93
     billing statements ... 107
     lawyer practicing other profession from law office ... 98
     waiver by inadvertent disclosure ... 108

Attorney-client relationship
     employment of attorney by intermediary ... 11, 17, 23, 87
     ownership interest in client ... 109, 110
     pro bono ... 117
     temporary lawyers ... 105, 121
     termination by client ... 40, 104
     withdrawal by attorney ... 59

Attorney fees ... see Fees

Attorney’s lien ... 82, 110

Audit of legal bills ... 107

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B

Billing guidelines for insurance defense attorneys ... 107

Billing judgment rule ... 109

Bribery of witness ... 103

Broker, real estate, attorney as ... 98

Business cards, for non-lawyer employees ... 84

Business transactions with client ... 98, 109

Business ventures of lawyer ... see Dual professions

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C

Campaign activities ... 33

Campaign fund contributions ... 33

Candor, of attorney departing from firm ... 116

Cellular telephones, client confidentiality ... 90

Charging lien ... 110

Child support, contingent fees for collecting ... 67

City council member, attorney as ... 14

Civil claim, release in exchange for dismissal of criminal charges ... 62

Client
     consent and third-party auditors ... 107
     loyalty to ... 43, 91
     organization as ... 120
     ownership interest in ... 109, 110
     prospective ... 117
     relationship with ... see Attorney-client relationship
     right to select own counsel ... 40, 104, 116
     uncooperative ... 114
     under disability ... 115

Client-investment portfolios ... 109

Client’s funds, missing client ... 95

Client’s papers
     attorney’s retaining lien ... 82
     surrender of upon terminating representation ... 104, 116

Client’s property held by lawyer
     attorney’s charging lien or security interest ... 110
     surrender of upon terminating representation ... 104, 116
     third-party interest ... 94

Collaborative law ... 115

Collection agency
     assignment of claim for attorney fees ... 20
     use of name or signature on summons ... 25

Colorado Legal Services ... 117

COLTAF accounts ... 95

Communications
     with adverse party or party’s employee ... 69
     with authorized constituents of organization-client ... 120
     with government officials ... 93
     with insurance adjuster or company ... 73
     intercepting ... 90
     with jurors after verdict ... 70
     newsletter ... 74
     with person represented by lawyer ... 73, 111
     with potential witnesses ... 65
     with represented persons during criminal/regulatory investigations ... 96
     revealing client’s confidences ... 60, 108
     for second opinion ... 111
     statements concerning pending litigation ... 31
     surreptitious recording of ... 112
     with treating physicians ... 71

Compensation of non-expert witness in civil action ... 103

Competency in area of law ... 76, 106, 111

Complaint against attorney, grievance ... 56, 85
 

Confidential information
     inadvertent disclosure of ... 108, 119
     metadata and ... 119
     misleading witness into disclosing ...102
     modern communications technology ... 90, 108
     office sharing ... 89
     pro bono cases ... 117
     referral services ... 106
     surreptitious recording ... 112
     third-party audits of bills ... 107

Conflict of interest
     attorney as witness ... 57
     city councilman handling municipal cases ... 14
     collaborative or cooperative law ... 115
     confidentiality walls 97
     dual occupations ... 98
     elected official representing clients in same jurisdiction ... 14
     errors by attorney ... 113
     financial interest in case ... 57
     former government lawyer handling case against former employer ... 57
     insurance company attorney representing insured in damages settlement ... 23
     insurer and insured ... 107
     lawyer as part-time judge ... 45
     multiple clients ... 57, 58, 68
     municipal attorney representing defendant ... 46
     office sharing ... 89
     ownership interest in clients ... 109
     person represented by lawyer ... 111
     pro bono case ... 117
     referral service ... 106
     representing both parties in divorce ... 47, 68
     representing buyer and seller ... 17, 68
     representing governmental body ... 48
     representing lender and borrower ... 29
     representing partnership in drafting partnership agreement ... 68
     second opinion ... 111
     service on board of public entity ... 97
     suit against former client ... 57
     temporary lawyer ... 105
     title opinion by lender’s lawyer ... 12
     “wall” around partner or associate ... 97
     water rights case ... 58
     witness and advocate ... 57

Contingent fee
     cases other than personal injury ... 100
     for collecting child support or spousal maintenance ... 67
     conversion clause in fee agreement ... 100
     conversion to alternate fee upon termination of case ... 100
     medical-legal consulting firm ... 77

Contraband ... 60

Cordless telephones, client confidentiality ... 90

Corporation, as member of law firm ... 55

Credit cards, payment for legal services ... 99

Criminal case
     discovery ... 65
     evidence seen or possessed by lawyer ... 60
     incriminating physical evidence ... 60
     pre-trial interview of potential witness ... 65, 102
     recording of conversations and statements ... 112
     release of civil claim in exchange for dismissal by prosecutor ... 62
     representing more than one defendant ... 57

Criminal charges
     dismissal in exchange for release of civil claim ... 62
     threatening in civil case ... 56

 

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D

Delegation of work to non-lawyer assistants ... 61

Delinquent account for attorney fees, interest or finance fee ... 66

Dependency and neglect cases ... 114

Direct mail advertising ... 83

Disability, client under ... 115

Discharge of attorney by client ... 40

Disclosure
     of billing statements to insurers or auditors ... 107
     of confidential documents ... 108
     of errors of attorney ... 113
     of errors in real estate closing ... 80
     of metadata ... 119
     of outsourced legal services ...121

Disqualification
     of advocate/witness ... 78
     imputed or vicarious ... 78

Dissolution of law firm ... 116

Dissolution of marriage ... see Divorce
 

Divorce, representing both parties ... 47, 68

Documents
     electronic ... 119
     inadvertent disclosure of ... 108
     returning to client after terminating representation ... 104, 116

Domestic lawyers ... 121

Dual professions ... 98
     broker ... 26, 98
     city council member ... 14
     employed by municipality ... 46
     employed part-time as judge ... 45
     financial institution ... 24
     insurance ... 11
     judges ... 45
     part-time judge ... 45
     public office ... 28
     real estate broker/agent ... 98
     title insurance agent ... 98
     traffic offenses disposition clinic ... 63

Dual representation ... see Conflict of interest, Multiple clients, Representation

Duty to disclose mistakes ... 80, 113

Duty to disclose potential conflicts of interest ... 109

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E

Election campaign
    by judge ... 33
    by lawyer ... 33
    contributions ... 33
    endorsements ... 33

Electronic documents ... 119

Employees who are not lawyers ... 61, 84

Employment of attorney
    by another business or agency ... see Dual professions
    by client previously represented by another attorney ... 40
    by lay (non-law) agency ... 12, 17, 23, 29
    by lender, recovery of attorney’s fees in foreclosure ... 72
    prepaid legal services ... 81
    solicitation of employment ... see Solicitation of clients
    temporary attorney ... 105

Endorsements and testimonials in advertising ... 83

Equality interest in clients ... 109
 

Errors, duty to disclose ... 80, 113

Estate
    planning services, collaboration with non-lawyer ... 87
    sale of assets ... 26

Ethical violations, lawyer’s duty to report ... 64

Evidence, incriminating, observed or possessed by lawyer ... 60

Ex parte communications during criminal/regulatory investigations ... 96

Ex parte communications with represented person ... 111

Ex parte contacts with government officials ... 93

Ex parte interview of plaintiff’s treating physician ... 71

Executor of estate ... see Estate, Personal representative

Expert witnesses, payment of fees ... 103

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F

Facsimile machines, client confidentiality ... 90, 108

Feeder operations
estate planning services ... 87
living trust marketing packages ... 87
real estate closing company ... 17
second occupation of lawyer ... 98

Fees
    advance ... 109
    agreement ... 66, 104
    assignment of claim to collection agency ... 20
    attorney’s lien ... 82, 110
    auditors of bills ... 107
    billing guidelines ... 107
    collection ... 20, 82, 110
    contingent
        cases other than personal injury ... 100
        child support or spousal maintenance ...
        conversion clauses ... 100
        medical-legal consulting firm ... 77
    credit card acceptance ... 99
    disclosure of billing statements ... 107
    disputes ... 118
    division of ... 38, 106, 121
    division with non-lawyers ... 12, 54, 63, 87
    dual practice ... 98
    estate planning in collaboration with non-lawyer ... 87
    finance charges ... 66
    foreclosure proceeding ... 54
    interest on delinquent accounts ... 66
    lawsuit to collect ... 20
    malpractice claim settlement ... 85
    ownership interest in lieu of ... 109, 110
    past-due accounts ... 66
    payment to witness ... 103
    of previous lawyer ... 40 

 

Fees, cont...
    reasonable ... 106, 121
    recovery in foreclosure when lender’s in-house counsel is used ... 72
    referral ... 38, 106
    retainer from non-lawyer employer ... 63
    security interest in client property ... 110
    splitting with client in foreclosure ... 54
    splitting with non-lawyer ... 87, 105
    suit to collect ... 20
    temporary lawyer ... 105
    third-party auditors of bills ... 106

Files of clients
    attorney’s retaining lien on ... 82
    returning to client after terminating representation ... 104, 116

Financial interest in transaction, conflict of interest ... 57

Firm ... see Law firm

For-profit lawyer referral services ... 106

Foreclosure, attorney fees for ... 54, 72

Foreign lawyers ... 121

Four-Way Agreement ... 115

Fraud upon the tribunal ... 60

Funds of client held by lawyer, third-party interest ... 94

Funds of missing clients ... 95

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G

Government official or employee
    ex parte contacts with ... 93
    suit against former employer after leaving government service ... 57

Grievance complaint, withdrawal as condition of settlement of malpractice suit ... 56, 85
 

Grievance mediation ... 56, 85

Group advertising ... 83

Guardian of minor, representation by insurer’s attorney ... 23

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H

Harassing jurors ... 70

Husband and wife
    divorcing, same attorney representing both ... 47, 68

 

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I

Impartiality of judiciary, relationships with attorneys ... 13

In-house counsel, recovery of attorney fees ... 72

In-person solicitation ... 83

Inadvertent disclosure of confidential information ... 108, 119

Independent judgment
    and investing in client ... 109
    and referral services ... 107
    and third-party audits of bills ... 107

Influence
    of the court ... 13, 14, 46
    of governmental body ... 48, 97

Informed consent, disclosure of billing statements ... 107

 

Insurance
    audits of defense attorneys’ bills ... 107
    plaintiff’s lawyer communicating with defendant’s insurance company ... 73
    representation of insured ... 43, 91, 107

Intake process for pro bono clients ... 117

Interest charged on delinquent fees ... 66

Inter-firm referrals ... 106

Intermediaries between lawyer and client ... 12, 17, 23, 29

Internet-based marketing ... 122

Intimidating witnesses ... 103

Investigation of jurors ... 70

Investment in clients ... 109

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J

Judges
    dual professions ... 45
    election campaigns ... 33
    lawyers employed part-time as ... 45
    office sharing with attorney ... 13
    relationship with attorney ... 13, 14

Juror communications, after verdict ... 70

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L

Law firm
    attorney’s departure from ... 116
    confidentiality wall around partner or associate ... 97
    dissolution of ... 116
    inter-firm referrals ... 106
    name ... see Name of firm
    network of ... 106
    supervision of temporary attorney ... 105

Lawsuits ... see Litigation

Legal aid for the poor ... 59

Legal assistants
    business cards or letterhead ... 84
    representing clients ... 79

Legal clinic, use of term ... 83

Legal service organizations ... 106, 107

Legal services, unbundled ... 101

Legal Services Corporation, termination ... 59

Legal services programs, reduction or termination of funding ... 59

Letterhead
    “associates” ... 8, 9
    non-lawyer employees listed ... 84
    office sharing ... 89

Lien, attorney’s ... 82, 110

Limited legal services ... 101

Litigation
    against client for recovery of fees ... 20
    against former clients ... 57
    avoidance by collaborative or cooperative law ... 115
    by former government lawyer against former employer ... 57
    lawyer advancing funds to client ... 34
    representing more than one client ... 57
    statements to press concerning ... 31
    to collect attorney fees ... 20

Living trust packages ... 87

Low-income persons’ legal aid ... 59

Loyalty to client ... 43, 60, 91

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M

Malpractice suit
    grievance complaint in connection with ... 56
    settlement and release ... 85    

Marketing, internet-based ...122

Media, statements concerning complaint or trial ... 31, 83

Mediation ... 56, 85

Medical-legal consulting firms charging contingent fees ... 77

 

Merger of partnership and professional corporation ... 55

Metadata ... 119

Missing client funds ... 95

Mistakes, duty to disclose ... 80, 113

Modern communications technology, preserving confidences of client ... 90

Multiple clients
    conflict of interest ... 57, 68
    water rights in same river system ... 58

Municipal attorney, defense of client in municipal court ... 46

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N

Name of firm
    advertising guidelines ... 83, 89
    "associates" ... 8, 9, 50, 89
    legal clinic ... 83
    member holding public office ... 28
    office space renting ... 9, 50, 89
    office space sharing ... 8, 50, 89

Negligence, professional (malpractice) ...56, 85

Networking organizations ... 106

Newsletters by lawyers ... 74

Newspaper
    advertising ... 76
    statements concerning pending litigation ... 31

Non-lawyer employees, business cards ... 84

Not-for-profit lawyer referral services ... 106

Note suit, recovery of attorney fees for lender's in-house counsel ... 72

 

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O

Occupation in addition to lawyer ... see Dual professions

Office location, in premises of client ... 24

Office space
    "associates"... 8, 9, 50
    judge and lawyer in same suite .. 13
    lawyer conducting second occupation from law office ... 98
    renting ... 9, 89
    sharing ... 8, 89
    sharing by judge and attorney ... 13

Online listing directory ... 122

Opposing counsel contacting witness ... 65, 102

Organization as client ... 120

Outsourcing ... 121

Ownership interest in client, acquiring ... 109, 110

 

 

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P

Parent and child, dependency and neglect case ... 114

Partner
    confidentiality wal l... 97
    distinguished from associate ... 50
    as witness in lawsuit ... 57, 78

Partnership
    agreement drafting ... 68
    announcement card ... see Announcement cards
    with non-lawyer ... 87
    professional corporation as member ... 55
    representation for agreement drafting ... 68

Payment
    for legal services with credit cards ... 99
    to witness ... 103

Pecuniary interest in case ... 34, 57

Personal influence on the court, appearance of ... 13, 14

Personal injury cases
    advancement of client's living expenses by lawyer ... 34
    ex parte communications with plaintiff's physician ... 71
    medical-legal consulting firms charging contingent fees ... 77

Physician-patient privilege ... 71

Placement agencies for temporary attorneys ... 105

Practice of law
    dual professions ... 11, 98
    restrictions in settlement agreements ... 92
    unauthorized ... see Unauthorized practice of law
    while holding public office ... 28

Pre-trial interview of witness ... 65, 102

Pre-trial publicity ... 31, 83

Prepaid legal service plans ... 106

Prepaid legal services ... 81

Press conferences or releases concerning litigation ... 31, 83

Privilege
    attorney-client ... 60, 69
    attorney-work product ... 104
     physician-patient ... 71
    psychologist-client ... 71

Privileged information
    billing statements ... 107
    inadvertent disclosure of ... 108
    misleading witness into disclosing ... 102
    work-product ... 107

Pro bono programs ... 117

Pro se litigants ... 101

Professional corporation, as partner in law firm ... 55

Property of client held by lawyer, third-party interest ... 94

Prosecutor
    pre-trial interview of witness ... 65
    public, duties ... 62
    relationship with judge ... 13
    release-dismissal agreements ... 62

Psychologist-client privilege ... 71

Public office, practicing law ... 28, see also Conflict of interest

Public prosecutor
    duties ... 62

Publications ... see Advertising, Articles, Newspaper

Publicity ... 31, 83

 Return to Top

R

Real property
    attorney as broker ... 98
    document preparation ... 17
    duty to disclose mistakes in closing ... 80
    representation of buyer and seller ... 17, 68
    sale by attorney as executor of estate ... 26
    security interest in client property ... 110
    title insurance, lawyer's role ... 38, 98

Recording conversations or statements ... 112

Referral fees ... 38, 76, 106

Referral services
    advertising ... 83, 106, 122
    definition and scope ... 106

Referrals
    improper ... 29, 38, 63, 106
    inter-firm ... 106

Release and settlement of malpractice claim ... 85

Release-dismissal agreements by public prosecutor ... 62

Reporting ethical violations ... 64

Representation
    both parties in divorce ... 47
    lender and borrower ... 29
    limited ... 101
    multiple clients ... 57
    of organization ... 120
    pro bono ... 117
    use of legal assistants ... 79
    See also Attorney-client relationship; Conflict of interest

Restriction of lawyer's right to practice in settlement agreements ... 92

Retaining lien ... 82

 

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S

Second opinion ... 111

Security interest in client's property ... 110

Services
    unbundled ... 101
    second opinions ... 111

Settlement
    agreements restricting lawyer's right to practice ... 92
    reached in mediation ... 56, 85
    and release, malpractice suit ... 85
    through collaborative or cooperative law ... 115

Signature, on summons prepared by client or collection agency ... 25

Signs or shingles ... 83, 89

Solicitation of clients
    by sending newsletters ... 74
    guidelines ... 83
    relationship with financial institution ... 24
    See also Advertising; Feeder operations

Solicitation of votes ... 33

 

Specialty designation, advertising guidelines ... 83

Spousal maintenance, contingent fees for collecting ... 67

Spouses
    divorcing, representation of husband and wife ... 47, 68     

Stationery ... see Letterhead

Stock, in client corporation ... 109

Subpoenas
    in criminal proceedings ... 102

Summons, name or signature ... 25

Superseding lawyer ... 40

Supreme Court Disciplinary Counsel, reporting ethical violations to ... 64

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T

Talk shows ... 83

Tampering with witnesses ... 103

Telephone
    directory listing ... 83
    intercepting conversations ... 90

Temporary lawyers ... 105, 121

Termination of attorney-client relationship ... 40, 59, 100
    collaborative or cooperative law ... 115
    dissolution of law firm or departure of attorney ... 116
    surrender of client's papers ... 104, 116

Testimonials and endorsements in advertising ... 83

Testimony
    of lawyer/partner ... 57, 78
    payment of fees to witness ... 103

 

Third-party audit of legal bills ... 107

Third-party interest in client's property held by lawyer ... 94

Title insurance
    lawyer as agent ... 98
    referral fee in connection with ... 38

Title opinion by lender's lawyer... 12

Trade name ... 50, 83

Traffic clinic for disposition of traffic offenses, lawyer employed by ... 63

Transactions with clients ... 109

Trust account ... 95, 118

 

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U

Unauthorized practice of law
    aiding ... 11, 17, 25, 63, 79
    by insurance company ... 11
    collection agency or client-prepared summons ... 25
    estate planning ... 87
    legal assistants ... 61, 79
    and outsourcing ... 121
    real estate sale service company ... 17
    traffic clinic ... 63

Unbundled legal services ... 101

 

 

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V

Value of equity interest as fees ... 109

 

 

 

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W

Wall of confidentiality around partner or associate to avoid disqualification ... 97

Water rights litigation, representation of multiple clients ... 58

Withdrawal from representation
    when firm disbands or attorney departs ... 116
    when funding is terminated ... 59

Witness
    compensation of non-expert witness in civil action ... 103
    intimidation of ... 103
    lawyer/partner as ... 57, 78
    misleading a non-party witness by use of subpoena ... 102

 

Witness, cont
    opposing counsel contacting ... 65, 102
    payment to ... 103
    potential ... 65
    pre-trial interview ... 65
    subpoena in criminal proceeding ... 102

Witness fees ... 103

Work product, retention by attorney after representation ... 104

Writing articles for publication ... 83

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