February 12, 2019

Index by Subject

Latest Ethics Opinions

Formal Ethics Opinions Archive by Subject

The most recent opinions issued within the past year are available complimentary.

Advertising

  • Ethical Obligations Related to Disasters, Formal Opinion 482
  • Lawyers May use Groupon, with Certain Caveats, Formal Opinion 465
  • Lawyer websites require compliance with ethics rules on information about legal services and care as to truthfulness of information given, Formal Opinion 10-457

Advice to client

Arbitration and Mediation

Assisting the Unauthorized Practice of Law

  • Prosecutor may not furnish letterhead to collection agency for use in seeking payment where no prosecutor reviews facts of situation, Formal Opinion 469

Attorney-client privilege see Confidentiality

  • Waiver of privilege does not allow disclosure of confidential information outside of judicial proceeding, Formal Opinion 10-456

Bail

Billing see also Fees

Board of directors

Business transactions with client

Citation of unpublished opinions

Client files

Client fraud see also Client perjury

Client funds and property

  • Lawyers’ Obligations After an Electronic Data Breach or Cyberattack, Formal Opinion 483
  • Ethical Obligations Related to Disasters, Formal Opinion 482
  • Disposition at death of sole practitioner, Formal Opinion 92-369
  • Papers and property to which the former client is entitled at the end of the representation, Formal Opinion 471
  • Duty to return client property and files, not lawyer work product, Formal Opinion 471

Client perjury

Co-counsel

Collaborative Law

Collections

  • Prosecutor may not furnish letterhead to collection agency for use in seeking payment where no prosecutor reviews facts of situation, Formal Opinion 469

Communication with adverse persons

see also Communication with corporate employees

Communication with Client

  • Lawyers’ Obligations After an Electronic Data Breach or Cyberattack, Formal Opinion 483
  • A Lawyer’s Duty to Inform a Current or Former Client of the Lawyer’s Material Error, Formal Opinion 481
  • Securing Communication of Protected Client Information, Formal Opinion 477R
  • Misconduct discovered during in-house ethics consultation must be disclosed to the client if it is related to the representation, Formal Opinion 08-453
  • Fact of In-House ethics consultation need not be communicated to client unless the results require informing the client, Formal Opinion 08-453
  • When served with Subpoena, Formal Opinion 473

Communication with corporate employees

Communication with represented persons

Communication with unrepresented parties

Competence

  • Lawyers’ Obligations After an Electronic Data Breach or Cyberattack, Formal Opinion 483
  • Ethical Obligations Related to Disasters, Formal Opinion 482
  • Securing Communication of Protected Client Information, Formal Opinion 477R
  • Criminal defense, Formal Opinion 06-441

Confidentiality see also Disclosure

Conflicts of interest

Conflicts of Law

  • Lawyers May Divide Fees with Lawyers in the District of Columbia, Despite rule that allows District of Columbia Lawyers to Divide Legal Fees with Non-Lawyers, Formal Opinion 464

Contact with with Jurors

  • Permissible Information gathering about Jurors Using Social Media, Formal Opinion 466

Contingent fees

Corporate counsel see also In-house counsel

Court-appointed lawyer

Court, obligations

Court rules

Deceased lawyers

Disabled clients

Disabled lawyers

Discharge of lawyer

Disciplinary proceedings

Disclosure

  • A Lawyer’s Duty to Inform a Current or Former Client of the Lawyer’s Material Error, Formal Opinion 481
  • Confidentiality Obligations for Lawyer Blogging and Other Public Commentary, Formal Opinion 480
  • Securing Communication of Protected Client Information, Formal Opinion 477R
  • Adverse information during bank examination, Formal Opinion 93-375
  • Confidentiality Issues when Moving to Withdraw for Nonpayment of Fees in Civil Litigation, Formal Opinion 476
  • Court order, Transfer of asset to avoid judgment, Formal Opinion 98-412
  • Death of client, Formal Opinion 95-397
  • Disabled clients, disclosing condition to client's physician, Formal Opinion 96-404
  • Disclosure of confidential information for in-house ethics consultation is impliedly authorized, Formal Opinion 08-453
  • Disclosure of potential misconduct by firm lawyer discovered during in-house ethics consultation to firm management is mandated by rule on representing organization, Formal Opinion 08-453
  • Self-defense exception not applicable to allow disclosure outside of judicial proceeding regarding  ineffective assistance of counsel claim, Formal Opinion 10-456
  • Lawyer changing firms may disclose confidential information to check for potential conflicts of interest, Formal Opinion 09-455
  • Lawyer's Responsibility with Relation to Client Perjury, Formal Opinion 87-353
  • Metadata, Formal Opinion 06-442
  • Settlement negotiations, Formal Opinion 93-370
  • Statute of limitations, Formal Opinion 94-387
  • Subpoenas, Formal Opinion 473
  • Unsolicited Receipt of Privileged or Confidential Materials, Formal Opinion 06-440

Disqualification

Division of Fees

  • In-house counsel sharing fee award with for-profit corporate employer, Formal Opinion 95-392
  • Lawyers May Divide Fees with Lawyers in the District of Columbia, Despite rule that allows District of Columbia Lawyers to Divide Legal Fees with Non-Lawyers, Formal Opinion 464
  • Prepaid legal services, Formal Opinion 87-355
  • Pro bono organizations, sharing court-awarded fees with, Formal Opinion 93-374
  • Referral Fees and Conflict of Interest, Formal Opinion 474
  • Safeguarding Fees That Are Subject to Division With Other Counsel, Formal Opinion 475
  • Temporary lawyer placement agencies, Formal Opinion 88-356

Electronic Social Media

  • Considerations for Judges' Use of Social Media, Formal Opinion 462
  • Permissible Information gathering about Jurors Using Social Media, Formal Opinion 466

E-Mail

  • Securing Communication of Protected Client Information, Formal Opinion 477R
  • Metadata, Formal Opinion 06-442

Estates

Expert witnesses

Fees see also Division of fees, Arbitration and Mediation

  • Confidentiality Issues when Moving to Withdraw for Nonpayment of Fees in Civil Litigation, Formal Opinion 476
  • Contract lawyers, surcharge to client for use, Formal Opinion 00-420
  • Contractual security interest, Formal Opinion 02-427
  • Corporate representation, ownership interest as compensation, Formal Opinion 00-418
  • Court-awarded, sharing, Formal Opinion 93-374
  • Referral Fees and Conflict of Interest, Formal Opinion 474
  • Safeguarding Fees That Are Subject to Division With Other Counsel, Formal Opinion 475
  • Seller may assist buyer in transition of practice despite provision requiring her to cease practice; client may not be charged for the transitioning work, Formal Opinion 468
  • Stock in client corporation as fee, Formal Opinion 00-418
  • Use of Credit Cards for Payment of Legal Fees, Formal Opinion 00-419

Fee agreements

Fees paid by third party

Financial assistance to clients

Foreign lawyers

Former clients

  • Lawyers’ Obligations After an Electronic Data Breach or Cyberattack, Formal Opinion 483
  • A Lawyer’s Duty to Inform a Current or Former Client of the Lawyer’s Material Error, Formal Opinion 481
  • Generally Known Exception to Former-Client Confidentiality, Formal Opinion 479

Former judges

Frivolous arguments

Government lawyers

Guardians and guardianships

Imputed disqualification

Ineffective assistance of counsel

  • Disclosure of confidential information to prosecutor defending against claim not permissible, Formal Opinion 10-456

In-house counsel see also Corporate counsel

Insurance representation

Internet

  • Lawyers’ Obligations After an Electronic Data Breach or Cyberattack, Formal Opinion 483
  • Confidentiality Obligations for Lawyer Blogging and Other Public Commentary, Formal Opinion 480
  • Independent Factual Research by Judges Via the Internet, Formal Opinion 478
  • Securing Communication of Protected Client Information, Formal Opinion 477R
  • Permissible Information gathering about Jurors Using Social Media, Formal Opinion 466

Judges

  • Independent Factual Research by Judges Via the Internet, Formal Opinion 478
  • Judge's obligations when evaluating possible bias or prejudice, Formal Opinion 07-449
  • Considerations for Judges' Use of Social Media, Formal Opinion 11-462
  • Encouraging Pro Bono representation Formal Opinion 470

Judicial disqualification

Law firms

Lawyer-client relationship

Lawyer representing lawyer

Legal Aid

Legal Malpractice

Limited liability partnerships

Mental illness

Misrepresentation

Multistate practice

  • Ethical Obligations Related to Disasters, Formal Opinion 482
  • Relationships among law firms, Formal Opinion 94-388

Name of firm

Negotiations

  • Mediation, Formal Opinion 06-439
  • Settlement offer, transmission of to opposing party, Formal Opinion 92-362

Nonlawyers

Of counsel designation

Partnerships

Prepaid legal services

Pro Bono

Prosecutors

  • Confidentiality Obligations for Lawyer Blogging and Other Public Commentary, Formal Opinion 480
  • Duty to disclose exculpatory evidence, Formal Opinion 09-454
  • Prosecutor may not furnish letterhead to collection agency for use in seeking payment where no prosecutor reviews facts of situation, Formal Opinion 469
  • Supervisory duties towards office, Formal Opinion 467

Pro se representation

Prospective clients

  • Criminal defense lawyer defending an ineffective assistance of counsel claim may not voluntarily disclose confidential information without court order, Formal Opinion 10-457
  • Duty of confidentiality, Formal Opinion 90-358

Recording conversations

Reporting misconduct of another lawyer

Restrictions on a lawyer's practice

Retirement

Sale of Law Practice

  • Seller may assist buyer in transition of practice despite provision requiring her to cease practice; client may not be charged for the transitioning work, Formal Opinion 468

Scope of Representation

Screening

Settlements

Sex with clients

Supervisory Duties

  • Lawyers’ Obligations After an Electronic Data Breach or Cyberattack, Formal Opinion 483
  • Securing Communication of Protected Client Information, Formal Opinion 477R
  • Prosecutors:  Prosecutors with managerial authority must adopt policies to ensure compliance with rules; prosecutors with supervisory authority must ensure compliance with rules, Formal Opinion 467

Temporary lawyers

Threatening criminal prosecution or disciplinary action

Wills

Withdrawal from representation