ETHICS: Federal Litigation: A “No-Contact” Sport?

Vol. 38 No. 4

The author is with Fordham University School of Law, New York City.

Suppose you represent the plaintiff in a federal lawsuit—for example, a labor, employment, or civil rights action—against a corporation, government agency, or other entity. You want to gather evidence by talking informally to some of the defendant’s current and former employees. This is preferable to deposing them, because it will be quicker, less expensive, and probably more revealing. But there is a possible impediment: the rule of professional conduct known as the “no contact” rule, which generally forbids a lawyer from communicating directly with the opposing party.

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