An attorney who limits the scope of representation and coaches the client or ghost writes papers must direct the client to be truthful and candid in the client’s activities. While an attorney is not required to disclose to opposing counsel that the attorney is providing limited-scope representation, the attorney must maintain client confidentiality if doing so.
An attorney representing a client in settlement of a lawsuit may not give the client’s spouse legal advice about waiving any right in a release unless the client and spouse both agree to joint representation and waive the potential conflict. Absent joint representation, the attorney may not provide legal advice to the spouse, even if the release requires the spouse’s signature and the spouse’s rights are affected by the release. If the spouse is unaware of the lawsuit or the settlement and release, the lawyer must take care to avoid any implied false statement by the client to the spouse, as well as any failure by the client to disclose material facts to the spouse.
This Opinion discusses a lawyer's ethical obligations not to use information obtained by a client in a civil case from documents copied from the records of a potentially adverse party that contain privileged or otherwise confidential information without the consent of opposing counsel or court order. The lawyer also must advise the client to refrain from obtaining other privileged documents and notify opposing counsel of the receipt of the information. [ERs 1.2, 1.6, 1.16, 3.4, 4.1, 4.4, 8.4]
CAUTIONARY NOTE: This Opinion relied on ABA Formal Opinions 92-368 and 94-382, which have since been withdrawn. See also ER 4.4(b), added in 2003.
A private practice lawyer ethically may direct a private investigator or tester to misrepresent their identity or purpose in contacting someone who is the subject of investigation, only if the misrepresentations are for the purpose of gathering facts before filing suit. [ER 4.1, 5.3(c), 8.4(c)]
An attorney may make a gift of all or a portion of the fees where the motive is charitable unless a medical provider specifically agreed to a reduced amount conditioned on the client not receiving any money. [ERs 1.8, 4.1]
Propriety of surreptitiously recording interviews of potential witness in a criminal case.
General comments on the extent of a lawyer's obligation to report another attorney's misconduct in light of In re Himmel (Ill. 1988).
Necessity of lawyer withdrawing from representation of client who lawyer knows has obtained information by means of surreptitious tape recording. Attorney making use of such information.
If an attorney is satisfied that a third party has a valid lien against the settlement of the attorney's client, the attorney should pay the funds accordingly.
Propriety of plaintiff's attorney taking a statement from a person named as a defendant in plaintiff's complaint, but who is unserved and unrepresented by counsel without disclosing to that person her status as a named defendant.
A lawyer may not ethically divulge the name and address of a former client to adverse claimants if the former client does not wish to have this information revealed. This holds true even if the information appears in a public record.