Ethics Opinion 152

By Committee on Professional Ethics

Ethics Opinion 152

Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion #152 – 09/08/1970 (32-70)

Topic: Conflict of Interest Appearance of Impropriety District Attorneys
Digest: Assistant district attorney’s firm representing a defendant in another county
Code: Canon 9, DR 9-101, EC 9-2


An assistant district attorney is a member of a law firm with offices in two counties. May the firm represent defendants in other counties in which the partner is not an assistant district attorney?


It is the opinion of the Committee that it would be improper for the firm to represent defendants in other counties.In N.Y. State 99 (1969) it was held that it was improper for an assistant district attorney to represent an accused in an adjoining county because of possible conflict of interest.In addition, Canon 9 specifically states that a lawyer should avoid even the appearance of professional impropriety. (See also D.R. 9-101, E.C. 9-2).It is the opinion of the Committee that it would give the appearance of impropriety for the district attorney or an assistant district attorney to represent the people in one county and the firm of which he is a partner or associate to represent defendants in criminal matters in another county.

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