The Professional Ethics Committee of the Richmond County Bar Association is currently chaired by Jeremy Panzella, Esq.
The following are articles and opinions written by Mr. Panzella:
Opinion 37 - Brief Digests and commentaries on NYSBA Opinions ## 953 ~ 961
There were 36 Formal Ethics Opinions published by the RCBA Professional Ethics Committee, authored by Hon. Wayne M. Ozzi, former chair of the Committee:
Opinion 1 - Propriety of returning a portion of the lawyer’s fee to the Bar Association if he or she was retained through its referral service.
Opinion 2 - Potential conflict for a part-time Counsel to the County Clerk to continue his representation of a partnership in which the County Clerk is a partner.
Opinion 3 - Newspaper advertisements indicating that the attorney has over 22 years experience in Surrogates’ matters.
Opinion 4 - Potential conflict in representing a client in a slip and fall case where the attorney previously represented the owners of the premises in an unrelated negligence case.
Opinion 5 - Whether there is a violation of attorney-client privilege to release information to the Department of Social Services relating to client’s personal injury case in which the Department is seeking a lien.
Opinion 6 - Participation in a program which advances clients funds for legal fees, similar to the use of a credit card.
Opinion 7 - Obligation of an attorney holding escrow funds for a party to inform that party of the filing of his personal bankruptcy.
Opinion 8 - Propriety of a short-term personal loan to a client.
Opinion 9 - Propriety of a newspaper advertisement stating certain specified areas of speciality.
Opinion 10 - Whether it is a breach of fiduciary duty to fail to deposit settlement finds in an account designated other than ‘in escrow,” “as escrow agent,” or “as escrowee.”
Opinion 11 - Association with a non-lawyer who is competent and qualified to represent clients protesting their real estate tax assessments before a City agency.
Opinion 12 - Whether an attorney who has posted bail in behalf of a defendant in a criminal action can represent that defendant in the same criminal action.
Opinion 13 - Propriety of a letter sent by a lawyer to mortgage brokers, stating that he has “been able to informally assist borrowers on the various steps necessary to close the loan, and thereby save them the trouble and expense of hiring their own attorneys.”
Opinion 14 - Review of ethical rules on lawyers acting as mediators.
Opinion 15 - Whether it is improper for an attorney to enter into a non-contingent payment arrangement with a non-lawyer for the referral of cases.
Opinion 16 - Propriety of a letter addressed to a real estate broker, stating that the lawyer offers “high quality services.”
Opinion 17 - Review of a direct mail solicitation.
Opinion 18 - Propriety of a direct mail solicitation by an attorney, who is also a New York City Police Officer, stating his availability and fees for real estate closings.
Opinion 19 - Propriety of a direct mail solicitation, to prospective home sellers, indicating that the recipient “will find my fees reasonable” and that the lawyer “has traveled this path (of buying or selling a home) many times”.
Opinion 20 - The propriety of accepting a post-dated check for payment of legal fees, in view of the prohibition against obtaining a “security interest” for one’s fees.
Opinion 21 - Whether an attorney who represents a client in a personal injury action may interview a non party who was an employee of the corporate defendant at the time of the incident in question, but who has since left its’ employ.
Opinion 22 - Whether a certain communication by a client must be protected as a confidence or a secret.
Opinion 23 - Whether a judge should raise defenses for a pro se litigant sua sponte.
Opinion 24 - Whether it is proper for an attorney to send a letter to the court before appearing in an action, notifying the court of the attorney’s impending appearance, and further requesting an adjournment of the matter without contacting opposing counsel.
Opinion 25 - Whether an attorney may represent a prospective client who is currently under investigation for suspected abuse and neglect by the New York City Administration for Children Services; the attorney was employed by that agency, prosecuting abuse and neglect cases.
Opinion 26 - The propriety of the purchase of all of the shares of a professional. corporation law firm, under circumstances in which the selling attorneys expect to be disbarred, and the firm fined.
Opinion 27 - Propriety of direct mail advertising, including whether there are any prohibitions against sharing an attorney’s mailing list with other professionals.
Opinion 28 - Ethical obligations of a lawyer who retires or contemplates retiring from the practice of law.
Opinion 29 - Whether it is ethically permissible to conference trial strategy at a meeting at which the defendant doctor, the expert doctor, and the attorney are present.
Opinion 30 - Propriety of a newspaper advertisement in the style of a coupon, offering discounted. fees.
Opinion 31 - Whether an attorney has an obligation to notify a disbarred, suspended. or resigned attorney, with whom he or she must share a fee, of the fact of the settlement of the underlying suit from which the fees are to be paid.
Opinion 32 - Appropriate designation on letterheads, signs, etc. of a non-partner salaried employee attorney, who will receive most of his compensation as a percentage of fees generated from cases he has worked on.
Opinion 33 - Whether an individual, who is an attorney, may simultaneously appear as attorney of record for an insurance carrier and be employed as a claims adjuster for the same carrier.
Opinion 34 - Whether an attorney should be disqualified from representing an insurance carrier in a civil action because, as part of the defense, he plans to call an attorney who appeared on behalf of the carrier at the examination under oath, and who will testify as the claimant’s non-cooperation.
Opinion 35 - Whether a law firm’s obligation to retain records for seven years may be satisfied by scanning the documents and destroying the originals.
Opinion 36 - The propriety of a letter to families of a local sports league, offering to make a donation to the league if the lawyer is retained.