Ethics Opinion 101

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion #101 – 05/02/1969 (7-69)

Harmonized by #101(a)
Topic:  Direct communication with adverse party
Digest:  Direct communication with bankrupt by lawyer trustee in bankruptcy is improper
Canon:  Former Canon 9

QUESTION

May an attorney who has been appointed a Trustee in bankruptcy communicate directly with the bankrupt concerning his assets, or must he communicate only with the bankrupt’s attorney?

OPINION

Canon 9 provides:  “A lawyer should not in any way communicate upon the subject of controversy with a party represented by counsel; much less should he undertake to negotiate or compromise the matter with him, but should deal only with his counsel.”A Trustee in bankruptcy represents the creditors and is necessarily a party adverse to the bankrupt.  Accordingly, it is improper for a Trustee who is an attorney to bypass the attorney for the bankrupt.

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