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    Formal Ethics Opinion 97-408 (downloadable pdf)

    Formal Ethics Opinion 97-408 (downloadable pdf)

    Formal Ethics Opinion 97-408 (downloadable pdf)

    Model Rule 4.2 generally protects represented government entities from unconsented contacts by opposing counsel, with an important exception based on the constitutional right to petition and the derivative public policy of ensuring a citizen's right of access to government decision makers.
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    Communication with Government Agency Represented by Counsel Thus Rule 4.2 permits a lawyer representing a private party in a controversy with the government to communicate about the matter with government officials who have authority to take or to recommend action in the matter, provided that the sole purpose of the lawyer's communication is to address a policy issue, including settling the controversy. In such a situation the lawyer must give government counsel reasonable advance notice of his intent to communicate with such officials, to afford an opportunity for consultation between government counsel and the officials on the advisability of their entertaining the communication.

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