Ethics Opinion 078

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion #78 – 06/06/1968 (8-68)

Topic: Solicitation; lay intermediaries; corporation furnishing legal service to corporation employees
Digest: Improper for an attorney to accept retainer from corporate client to represent employees in real estate transaction resulting from corporation personnel transfers
Canon: Former Canons 27, 35, 47

QUESTION

Is it professionally proper for a law firm to accept a retainer from a corporate client to represent all employees of the corporation throughout the state in connection with the sale and purchase of employee’s homes, whenever such employees move as a result of corporate personnel transfers?

OPINION

In the opinion of the Committee, such employment would be professionally improper, and violative of Canons 27, 35 and 47. See N.Y. State 53, 53(a), and 76.It would not, however, be inappropriate for the corporation to agree to reimburse its employees for legal expenses incident to moves resulting from corporate personnel transfers. Such reimbursement may not, however, be conditioned on the employee retaining a lawyer selected for him by the employing corporation. (See ABA Inf. 469)

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