Ethics Opinion 160

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion #160 – 10/09/1970 (37-70)

Topic: Communication with Adverse Party
Digest: Attorney may not contact adverse party after the designation of counsel
Code:  DR 7-104 (A) (1) Former Canon 9

QUESTION

Does the Code of Professional Responsibility, DR 7-104 (A) (1), permit a lawyer to communicate with an adverse party who is a public officer or board member?

OPINION

“DR 7-104 Communicating With One of Adverse Interest1(A’) During the course of his representation of a client a lawyer shall not: communicate or cause another to communicate be ‘the subject of the representation with a party he knows to be represented by a lawyer in that matter unless he has the prior consent of the lawyer representing such other party or is authorized by law to do so.”This section of the code is substantially similar to former Canon 9 and has not changed listing opinions except to permit in certain jurisdictions, that which is specifically authorized by law.A governmental unit has the same rights and responsibilities in a controversy as any other corporation or individual. The attorney for a governmental unit and opposing counsel must abide by the provisions of DR 7-104.Therefore, once there is an indication that counsel has. Been designated by a party, whether a governmental unit or otherwise, with regard to a particular matter, all communications concerning that matter must thereafter be made with the designated counsel ,except as provided by law.

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