Category: Ethics Opinions

Ethics Opinion 1231

Topic: Estate-planning lawyer’s financial interest in a company that manages trust assets. Digest: An estate-planning lawyer who has an interest in a nonlegal financial management company that the lawyer hopes to recommend to estate-planning clients as financial manager for the trust assets, has a conflict of interest requiring clients’ informed consent, confirmed in writing, at … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1230

Topic: Firm names; trade names Digest: A law firm may not include on its letterhead the name of deceased attorney who does not stand in a continuing line of succession with the firm. Rules: 7.5(a) & (b); 8.4(c). FACTS: 1. The inquirer is a solo practitioner who, for sentimental reasons, would like to include his … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1229

Topic: Lawyer’s Rights and Duties after Death of a Client Digest: A lawyer may not settle a claim for a client after the client has died absent authorization from a duly qualified representative of the decedent. Rules: 1.2(a), 1.16(d) FACTS: 1. The inquirer is a New York lawyer who practices personal injury law in New … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1228

Topic: Submitting draft complaint with demand letter Digest: A lawyer who sends a demand letter to a potential civil defendant may include a draft complaint and a statement that the draft complaint will be filed if the matter is not settled by a certain date, except in unusual circumstances where the threat would violate the … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1227

Topic: Advertising, solicitation, targeted email to prospective clients Digest: Email communication from out-of-state law firm to a list of specific individuals in New York, seeking clients for future false advertising and products liability class actions, is both an advertisement and a solicitation under Rules 7.1 and 7.3 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct. … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1226

Topic: Use of Domain Name Different from Name of Law Firm Digest: An attorney may use a domain name that differs from the name of the law firm under which the attorney practices, provided the domain name and law firm name, separately or combined, are not false, deceptive, or misleading. Rules: 7.5(b) (1) FACTS: 1. … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1225

Topic: Counseling clients engaged in recreational marijuana business; accepting partial ownership of recreational marijuana business in lieu of fee; personal use of recreational marijuana. Digest: In light of current federal enforcement policy, the New York Rules of Professional Conduct permit a lawyer to assist a client in conduct designed to comply with New York’s Recreational … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1224

Topic: Conflicts of interest; diminished capacity. Digest: When a lawyer is jointly representing two clients as joint purchasers in a transaction and one of them no longer wishes to proceed, the lawyer cannot continue to represent both clients without violating Rule 1.7, which prohibits lawyers from jointly representing clients with differing interests. That one of … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1223

Topic: Dual practice; Rental of office space Digest: Renting law office space for lawful purposes is a permitted nonlegal business for a lawyer. Where a lawyer who owns a nonlegal services business is providing nonlegal services to persons who are not clients, Rule 5.7(a)(3) provides that the nonlegal services entity will be subject to the … Continued

Ethics Opinion 1222

Topic: Non-legal services; mediation; unauthorized practice of law Digest: Lawyers may not jointly own a mediation business with nonlawyers if the mediation business employs lawyers to provide legal services to mediation clients. Lawyers may jointly own a mediation business with nonlawyers if the mediation business does not employ any lawyers and provides only nonlegal services. … Continued