Category: Ethics Opinions

Ethics Opinion 1252

Topic: Referral Fees Digest: A licensed attorney who only provides nonlegal services to real estate clients may receive referral fees from a third-party investment advisor. Rules: 1.7, 1.8, 5.7 FACTS: The inquirer is a member of the New York State bar but does not engage in the practice of law. Instead, the inquirer works as a … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1251

Topic: YouTube channel; general legal information; advertising Digest: As a general proposition, creating videos for a YouTube channel to educate the public or legal profession about matters of general or specific interest is a permitted activity and does not necessarily constitute “advertising” as that term is defined in the Rules of Professional Conduct, but in … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1250

Topic: Multi-jurisdictional practice; partnership with non-United States lawyers; imputation of conflicts Digest: The New York Rules of Professional Conduct (the “Rules”) govern the conduct of an attorney admitted to practice only in New York who partners with a non-United States law firm. Whether the Rules permit a New York lawyer to form a partnership with … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1249

Topic: Confidentiality; joint clients; return of clients’ files when there has been joint representation Digest: In a joint representation, there is a presumption that the lawyer will share confidential information received from each co-client with the other co-client, but that presumption does not extend to confidential information the lawyer received prior to the inception of … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1248

Topic: Dispute over credit card payment for legal services. Digest: If a client disputes a credit card payment of legal fees by requesting a chargeback, the lawyer may dispute the chargeback by providing information to the credit card provider about the services rendered, including the disclosure of the retainer agreement and client invoices if (a) … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1247

Topic: Conflict of interest in representing county and serving subpoenas on county departments. Digest: A lawyer who represents certain separate County Departments in diverse matters as an independent contractor for the County Attorney may request and serve subpoenas for documents and witnesses upon a County Department for which he does not perform legal services and … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1246

Topic: Partnership with Non-U.S. Lawyer; partner who is also a member of a firm with non- lawyer ownership or management; whether business management and strategy may be the practice of law; affiliation of law firms; co-naming of law firms; billing for services of another law firm. Digest: Rule 7.5(d) recognizes a partnership between a lawyer … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1245

Topic: Legal Fees, Minimum Fees, Nonrefundable Fees Digest: A lawyer may charge a minimum fee to provide a defined legal service provided (a) the service is performed as agreed; (b) the engagement letter provides in plain language how the minimum fee will be calculated and the circumstances under which it will be “incurred”; and (c) … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1244

Topic: Referral fees paid to retired lawyers Digest: A retired lawyer may receive a referral fee as long as the retiree maintains joint responsibility for the referred matter. Rules: 1.5, 5.1, 5.4 FACTS: The inquirer was a sole New York lawyer who practiced contingency-fee personal injury law in New York. While in practice, the inquirer handled … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1243

Topic: Public Defender; Part-Time Judge; Conflict of Interest Digest: A part-time assistant public defender whose law partner is a part-time town court judge is precluded from representing clients of the public defender’s office in the town court where the part-time judge serves because such representation would appear to violate Judiciary Law § 471 and the … Continued