CAL 1992-126 to CAL 1997-151

Please Note: Effective January 1991, the Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct initiated a new numbering sequence for their published ethics opinions. All opinions are now numbered according to year of publication rather than the year the opinion was requested.

Opinion # Summary
CAL 1992-126 Is it ethically proper for a group of attorneys and/or non-attorneys to form an employment agency which contracts out attorneys to law offices on a temporary basis, and (1) charges an hourly rate for attorney services to be paid directly to the agency with a service surcharge paid to the agency, or (2) charges a single hourly rate from which it pays the hired attorney as the agency's hourly employee?
CAL 1992-127 To what extent must a criminal defense attorney, having been relieved by successor counsel, cooperate with new counsel?
CAL 1993-128 May a law firm undertake representation of a client in a criminal matter where a member of the firm directly assisted in the prosecution of the matter as a government attorney before joining the law firm?
CAL 1993-129 1. May multiple "principal" law firms designate the same independent attorney or law firm as "of counsel" in their solicitations, including stationery and similar public announcements.
2. Absent written client waivers, may a principal law firm and its independent "of counsel" attorneys represent adverse or potentially adverse interests.
CAL 1993-130 The executor of an estate, acting in his representative capacity, employs an attorney to perform legal services for the estate. The executor also transfers some or all of his duties as executor to the attorney and pays the attorney for those services. Is it ethical for the attorney to receive from the estate the statutory fee for legal services and to receive from the executor compensation for the performance of the executor's duties?
CAL 1993-131 Attorney represents husband in pending dissolution action. Wife is separately represented by counsel. Husband wishes to communicate directly with his wife without either counsel present regarding the merits of the dissolution to attempt to resolve various disputed issues. Husband seeks guidance from his attorney regarding the content of and strategy to be pursued during such communication. To what extent, if any, may the attorney give such guidance to husband without violating rule 2-100 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct.
CAL 1993-132 While Attorney serves as a director of a corporation ("Corporation"), Client approaches Attorney with a proposal for a transaction with Corporation. Client wants to present the proposal to Corporation and asks the attorney to represent it in connection with structuring the proposal and negotiating and drafting an agreement between Client and Corporation. Corporation is regularly represented by other counsel in connection with such transactions. What ethical considerations must Attorney address as she decides whether she can or should accept representation of Client?
CAL 1993-133 May a lawyer who has successfully defended B in a lawsuit brought by A, thereafter represent A in a malpractice action against A's attorney which resulted in the loss of the lawsuit against B?
CAL 1994-134 1. What are an attorney's ethical obligations to prevent prejudice to the client after the attorney's employment in a litigation matter has been terminated, but before a substitution of counsel form has been filed?
2. Is it ethically permissible for an attorney whose employment has been terminated to withhold the file from the client or successor attorney until the client and the successor attorney have signed and filed or permitted the filing of a valid substitution of attorneys or the attorney has otherwise been permitted to withdraw by the tribunal before whom the matter is pending?
CAL 1994-135 1. Under a contingency fee contract, where there is no specific provision governing when and how attorneys' fees shall be paid in the event of a structured settlement, to what extent is an attorney permitted to receive attorneys' fees from the initial down payment?
2. May an attorney contract with a client that in the event of a structured settlement, the attorney shall receive the entire amount of attorneys' fees from the initial settlement down payment? In the event of such an agreement, what limits, if any, can an attorney place on acceptance of an offer of settlement from the opposing party?
CAL 1994-136 Do the California Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit a member from contracting with the client that the right to recover attorney's fees pursuant to civil rights statutes belongs to the attorney and may not be waived by the client?
CAL 1994-137 What are a lawyer's ethical duties when in the course of representing a partnership the lawyer receives conflicting instructions from two of the partners in circumstances where it is unclear which partner's instruction the lawyer must follow.
CAL 1994-138 Must an attorney comply with the fee-splitting requirements of rule 2-200 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct when the attorney hires an outside lawyer and when the attorney discloses a rate to a client but pays the outside lawyer less than the amount disclosed.
CAL 1995-139 To whom does an attorney owe duties when he or she acts as insurance defense counsel and is hired by an insurer to represent an insured in the substantive defense of the insured's case? Specifically, to whom are the duties owed (a) where counsel discovers information that demonstrates the insured has or may have no coverage; or (b) where the attorney learns the insured has perpetrated a fraud for the purpose of obtaining coverage?
CAL 1995-140 Is it ethically permissible for a lawyer to advise a client to purchase insurance, refer client to an insurance agent from whom the recommended insurance may be purchased, and then accept compensation from the insurance agent to whom the client is referred?
CAL 1995-141 What are a lawyer's ethical responsibilities when rendering non-legal services to a client that are either (1) performed by the lawyer outside the scope of the lawyer's legal representation of the client, or (2) performed in connection with a lawyer or law firm's representation of the client or otherwise by someone employed by the lawyer or an entity owned in whole or in part by the lawyer?
CAL 1995-142 What are the ethical restrictions on a private criminal defense attorney who engages in direct mail marketing of legal services based on information concerning prospective clients charged with a crime obtained from police department records?
CAL 1995-143 A lawyer wishes to employ a "medical liaison" to give a presentation to a group of physicians. The presentation will contain a promotional message describing the lawyer and her practice. What are the lawyer's ethical responsibilities with respect to the medical liaison's presentation?
CAL 1995-144 Is it a violation of the California Rules of Professional Conduct for a lawyer to send an investigator to interview witnesses to an accident even though the lawyer at the time does not represent any client in a matter relating to the accident?
CAL 1996-145 1. While representing a client in a civil matter, is an attorney required to ask an opposing party if that party is represented by an attorney before the attorney communicates with that party concerning the subject of the representation?
2. Is the attorney's obligation affected by the means of communication (written or telephonic), or by who initiates the contact (opposing party or attorney)?
3. May the attorney rely upon the party's statement that he or she is not represented by counsel?
CAL 1996-146 1. What are a lawyer's ethical obligations when she knows or should know her client is committing an ongoing or future fraud upon the public?
2. What are the lawyer's obligations where the client has used the lawyer's services in furthering the fraud?
CAL 1996-147 How must an attorney bill for work on two or more matters at the same time? What are the ethical considerations involved?
CAL 1997-148 Without violating his or her ethical obligations, may a lawyer prepare "living trust" documents for a member of the public at the direction of, or on behalf of, a non-lawyer such as a financial marketer or a life insurance agent who: (1) markets a living trust package to the public; (2) advises individuals about estate plans; and (3) supervises the creation of the living trust documents?
CAL 1997-149 May an attorney pay a non-expert witness for the time spent preparing for a deposition or a trial, even though such preparation does not cause a loss of income?
CAL 1997-150 What ethical issues arise when attorneys enter into arrangements to share office space or services, such as reception and library facilities, maintenance staff, secretarial staff, or paralegal staff, without forming a law firm?
CAL 1997-151 What are the ethical responsibilities of an attorney when (1) discovery sanctions are sought against the attorney and the client and (2) such sanctions are awarded against the attorney and the client, or against the attorney alone?