2005

  • Opinion 05-06
    Summary: A lawyer may reveal the name of his client’s business partner to the police as a suspect in a crime if the information is confidential information of his client, only with that client’s consent after consultation. The lawyer may also reveal the information as not confidential information if the lawyer obtained the information by his own direct observation of relevant evidence.
  • Opinion 05-05
    Summary: It would be inappropriate for a lawyer for a long-time client to represent a son seeking to have a guardian appointed for the client when it seems likely that the lawyer will be opposing the client’s wishes and the lawyer would not be able to comply with the consent and reasonableness tests that would permit such representation. Moreover, the lawyer also ought not to represent the son if it seems likely that she will be a necessary witness in a guardianship proceeding.
  • Opinion 05-04
    Summary: A law firm may provide a third-party software vendor with access to confidential client information stored on the firm’s computer system for the purpose of allowing the vendor to support and maintain a computer software application utilized by the law firm. The law firm’s clients are deemed to have “impliedly authorized” the firm to make their confidential information accessible to the vendor pursuant to Rule 1.6(a) in order to permit the firm to provide representation to its clients. However, the law firm must “make reasonable efforts to ensure” that the conduct of the software vendor (or any other independent service provider that the firm utilizes) “is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer[s],” including the obligation to protect confidential client information reflected in Rule 1.6(a). The fact that the vendor will provide technical support and updates for its product remotely via the Internet does not alter the Committee’s opinion.
  • Opinion 05-03
    Summary: When a client, because of depression, is unable to cooperate with his lawyer in preparing a divorce matter for trial, the lawyer may enlist the aid of his family and a close friend to persuade the client to cooperate. If cooperation is not forthcoming, the lawyer may have to decide whether the risk to client’s interests from seeking a continuance over client’s objection is greater than the risk of proceeding to trial with an unprepared client.
  • Opinion 05-02
    Summary: A lawyer should not accept the gift of a valuable item from a client without advising the client first to seek independent advice from separate legal counsel. If the lawyer has already received the gift, he may not prepare a gift tax return for the client or any other instrument incident to the transfer. Even if the lawyer does everything required under the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct and Massachusetts case law, he should still weigh the consequences to his reputation of accepting or keeping such a gift since it may nevertheless be viewed as overreaching by the client’s family or by the probate court.
  • Opinion 05-01
    Summary: If an attorney does not have sufficient information to get in touch with the lawyer representing another person in a matter, he may communicate with the represented person to obtain the necessary contact information without violating Rule 4.2 of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct. The attorney should take precautions, however, to make sure that the communication does not touch on the subject matter of the representation.
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