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Michigan Ethics Opinions Index
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Gifts

Art display in courthouse JI-25
Court personnel gift to retiring judge A/O 72
Discount for hotel room improper Grievance Adm'r v. Lopatin, Attorney Discipline Bd. 92-224-GA (2/23/96)
Free legal service, judge accepting JI-106 Matter of Lawrence, 417 Mich 248 (1983)
Honorarium for speech JI-80
Legal services to judge JI-106
Reporting extrajudicial income JI-80
Representing judge pro bono JI-106
Retirement gift to judge A/O 27, A/O 72
Scholarship for judicial seminar JI-75
Testimonial dinner in judge's honor JI-9

Government Agency
See also Administrative Agency Practice
See also Public Official
back to list

Applicability of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct R-12
Commissioner representing clients against subordinate boards R-15
Commissioner examining witness/employees of subordinate boards R-15
Consent to former public employee representation RI-253
County and sheriff's department represented by same attorney RI-96
Firm of commissioner representing clients before commission C-241, RI-22, RI-180, RI-236
Judge serving on fund granting board JI-12
MESC hearing officer presiding in cases in which employee of law firm's client appear In re Schlossberg v. State Bar Grievance Bd., 388 Mich 389 (1972)
Prosecutor's office consenting to former employee representation RI-253
Representing client before state agency where law firm member is legislator RI-306
Sheriff's deputies as witnesses in case brought by lawyer/commissioner R-15
Waiver of lawyer conflict RI-267

Government Lawyer
See also City Attorney
See also Dual Practice
See also Prosecutors
See also Public Corporation Law
See also Public Defender
See also Public Official
back to list

See Unique Ethics Concerns for the Government Lawyer, 77 MBJ 76 (Jan 1998)

Acting as state hearing referee RI-129
Administration of justice, conduct prejudicial to RI-52
Advising city official arrested RI-259
Appearing before colleague RI-47
Applicability of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct R-12
Arrest of city official RI-259
City attorney advising on arrest of public official RI-259
City attorney appearing before city attorney RI-47
City attorney handling defense cases C-212, R-13
City attorney preparing quitclaim deeds RI-157
Commissioner serving as township attorney C-214
Conflicts with pro bono cases RI-283
Consent of former employer government agency for representation of client by former public official RI-4
Consent when former employee represents client RI-4
Continuing representation of defendant on appeal RI-295
Corporation counsel formerly presided over jail A/O 41
County attorney access to county legal services data RI-210
Criminal representation by former city attorney RI-4
Defense contract bid by former prosecutor RI-253
Disclosure of title defects when transferring property RI-157
Discussions about pending legal matters RI-266
Disqualification of former defense lawyer elected prosecutor RI-152
Disqualification of former government lawyer JI-34, R-13, RI-4, RI-253
Disqualification of former public official R-15, RI-4
Disqualification of judges who were assistant prosecutors JI-34
Disqualification of judges who were chief prosecutors JI-34 People v. Hampton, 184 Mich App 434 (1990)
Drafting legislation for minority council member RI-254
Employment law counseling RI-259
Ethics duties for government lawyer 77 MBJ 76 (Jan 1998)
Ethics rules, applicability R-12
"Feeder" for private practice RI-68
Firm of legislator representing municipal clients RI-331
Former public official undertaking representation against agency which formerly employed RI-4, RI-253
Former prosecutor handling defense work RI-253
Government contract holder/private practice RI-68, RI-253
Government lawyer also representing tax assessors RI-307
Imputed disqualification of prosecutor's office RI-43, RI-152, RI-242
Incompatible offices statute enforced against commissioners by county corporation counsel RI-112
Insurance claims of prosecutor's spouse poses conflict RI-280
Judge was previously prosecutor JI-34
Lawyer-legislator represents municipal clients RI-331
Liaison attorney JI-29
Minority opinion on council vote RI-254
Multiple clients, municipality and tax assessors RI-307
Municipality, representing county and tax assessors RI-307
Notice, when law firm of former employee represent client RI-4
Part-time referee handling private practice RI-1
"Personal and substantial" participation in prior employment JI-34, RI-4, RI-11, RI-43, RI-129, RI-152, RI-253
Presiding in cases in which jurisdiction's insurer appears as party RI-129
Prosecutor bidding on defense contract RI-253
Prosecutor handling spouse's insurance dispute RI-280
Prosecutor trying cases before judge who is prosecutor's campaign opponent J-6, JI-23, JI-96, RI-52, A/O 103
Prosecutor's office as "law firm" RI-43
Referral fee RI-68
Real estate transfers for client city RI-157
Receiving information from chief of police RI-259
Representing criminal defendants RI-4
Representing individual council members RI-254
Screening former public officials RI-4
Screening new employees RI-43
Screening new firm from new lawyer's continuing clients RI-97
Sheriff's department as client of county attorney RI-96
Serving on management grievance board RI-47
Special prosecutor appointments C-225, RI-152
Spouse handling cases against agency C-213, J-6, R-3
"Substantial participation" in a matter JI-34, RI-4, RI-11, RI-253

Guardianship
See also Disability
See also Probate and Estate Practice
back to list

Competence of ward to execute legal documents RI-176
Confidential information concerning guardian RI-62
Conflict arising between report and subsequent client RI-227
Conflicts between duties of fiduciary and lawyer RI-213
Conflicts between interests of ward and guardian RI-176
Conflicts in conservatorship and personal injury action RI-215
Contract for public conservator services RI-213
Decision-making in legal matters RI-213
Disabled client RI-76, RI-176
Fiduciary as "client" of lawyer RI-213
Fiduciary duties distinguished from legal duties RI-213
Guardian ad litem as "public" duties of attorney RI-176, RI-227
Guardian ad litem related to public employees RI-250
Guardian ad litem report to court RI-318
Guardian ad litem subsequent representation in matter RI-227
Guardian's suitability to serve RI-62, RI-176
Imputed disqualification of firm members RI-176
Intermediary for prospective ward and prospective guardian RI-176
Lawyer duties with fiduciary client R-10, RI-304, RI-342, RI-350
Lawyer serving as ward's fiduciary RI-213
"Living will" and health care directive information presented at seminar RI-141
Minor child as client RI-140
Part-time judge serving as conservator JI-88
Petitioner for guardianship as "client" of lawyer RI-176
Petitioning for guardianship while representing prospective ward RI-176
Report to court on guardian ad litem duties RI-318
Representing prospective ward and prospective guardian RI-176
Revoking power of attorney and petitioning for guardianship RI-176
Subsequent representation of interested person by guardian RI-227
Violation of statute by lawyer A/O 18
Waiver of liability from relatives of ward RI-258
Ward as party in legal action, decision-making RI-213
Withdrawal as next friend, when sued by ward RI-170

Identity of Client
See Client
back to list

Impropriety
See Appearance of Impropriety
back to list

Imputed Disqualification
See also Conflicts of Interest
See also Disqualification
See also Law Firm
back to list

Attorney general divisions RI-177
Bar applicant representation improper when firm member sits on admissions committee RI-194
Clients brought to firm by new lawyer conflict with firm's existing clients RI-97
Conflict with existing client not discovered until representation undertaken RI-139
Contingency to represent client after claim of malpractice RI-25
Disclosure of client's illegal conduct RI-138
Entire firm—conflict of one lawyer RI-289
Failure to screen transferring lawyer R-4
Firm disqualification—client adjudicated by firm member RI-288
Firm of commissioner representing clients before commission C-241, RI-22, RI-180, RI-236
Firm of part-time magistrate before magistrate's court JI-97
Former client testifying against current client RI-138
Initial consultation triggers disqualification RI-48, RI-123
Intake information obtained by nonlawyer employee may result in disqualification RI-123
Judge's spouse is assistant prosecutor JI-101, JI-133
Law firm appearing before subordinate board C-241, RI-22, RI-180
Lawyer as witness on will subject of dispute RI-87
Lawyer changing firms R-4
Lawyer for municipality related to mayor RI-94
Lawyer/legislator member of firm representing municipal clients RI-331
Lawyer/legislator’s firm disqualified where lawyer disqualified RI-331
Lawyer's duty to prove absence of conflict RI-48
Legislator’s firm representing municipal clients RI-331
No imputation when attorney spouses practice J-6, R-3
Nonlawyer employees changing firms RI-115, RI-284
"Of counsel" affiliations RI-102, RI-236, RI-237, A/O 80
Part-time referees hearing matters presented by former law firm RI-1
Previous employment with opposing firm R-4, RI-115, RI-284, RI-285
Previous employment for opposing party R-4
Presumption of access to confidential information R-4
Prosecutor's office RI-43, RI-112, RI-152, RI-242
Representing client suing advocate for malpractice in unrelated matter RI-25
Representing holder of durable power of attorney when firm member represented prospective guardian or ward RI-176
Representing municipality when mayor is a sibling RI-94
Representing party against client of former firm R-4
Screening firm from clients brought by new lawyer RI-97
Screening from case R-4
Screening from fee R-4
Screening not available to avoid conflict with current client RI-139
Special assistants attorneys general representing opposing state agencies RI-177
Transferring lawyer, failure to screen R-4, RI-43
Untimely establishment of screening measures R-4
US Army Legal Assistance Office RI-172

Independent Professional Judgment

Collection agency as intermediary between lawyer and clients RI-15
Deeds, lawyer overseeing draft RI-298
Drafting documents without consultation with client RI-128, RI-191
Drafting lawyer named as personal representative without bond RI-291
Failure to meet or speak with client directly RI-128, RI-191
Failure to review documents drafted by employees RI-128
Fee paid by interested third party RI-132, RI-293
Fee amount acting as disincentive RI-124
Government program advocate RI-103
Group legal service plan C-233
Insurance representation RI-89
Judge as member of board of organization appearing before judge JI-38, JI-51, A/O 45
Law firm "leasing" lawyer employees RI-310
Lawyer as court employee handling juvenile matters JI-50
Lawyer's interest as spouse of advocate J-6, R-3
Lawyer's financial interest as firm partner J-6, R-3
Lawyer overseeing drafting of deeds RI-298
Lawyer representing insured may receive fixed fee RI-343
Lawyers for insureds can be housed in insurance company offices RI-338
"Leased" lawyers working for law firm RI-310
Legal assistant screening clients for lawyer RI-128
Legal services plan participation RI-210, RI-223
Limitations on legal advice to be provided to client RI-132, RI-210, RI-347
Limitations on legal services that will be compensated RI-132, RI-223
Nonlawyer employee acting as intermediary to client RI-128, RI-191, 74 MBJ 438 (May 1995)
Nonlawyer settling disputes between lawyer and client RI-7
Payment of fee by interested third party RI-132
Personal representative of estate is the lawyer's "client" R-10, RI-156
Office rent calculated on law firm's gross income RI-133
Referral service participation 70 MBJ 146 (Feb 1991)
Reliance on employee for client intake RI-128, RI-191
Representing customer of own nonlaw business RI-5, RI-191
Review of files by referral service lawyer R-8
Reviewing real estate title issued by own title company RI-5
Services to customers of community organization RI-83
Size of referral fee acting as disincentive RI-124
Temporary lawyers working for law firm RI-310
Third party limiting advice or services delivered to client RI-132

Indigent Persons
See also Legal Services
back to list

Advancing living and medical expenses RI-14
Contract bid by former prosecutor RI-253
Insurance policy on client to ensure payment of fees RI-27
Judge encouraging pro bono activity J-7
Legal services agency conducting pro se clinic RI-301
Paying security for court costs RI-91
Prison legal services plan R-1
Pro bono solicitation by judge J-7
Pro se clinic conducted by legal services agency RI-301
Providing assistance to pro se litigants RI-347
Rejecting court appointment to represent client C-210
Representation by former prosecutor RI-253
Security for court costs RI-91
Self help clinics conducted by legal services agency RI-301
Unbundling legal services RI-347

Inside Counsel
See also Corporate Representation
See also Government Lawyer
See also Insurance Representation
back to list

Attorney-client relationship with employees R-2
Class actions, communicating with inside counsel for prospective class members RI-219
Class actions, communicating with prospective class members RI-219
Conflicts waivable by client, not counsel RI-267
Consenting to employee interviews R-2
Defense counsel communicating with inside counsel for prospective class members RI-219
Duty to report law student employee misconduct RI-29
Duty to report subordinate lawyer misconduct RI-149
Former corporate counsel, representing officer against RI-95, RI-138
In house counsel giving recommendations to CEO RI-300
Inside counsel as "law firm" R-5
Inside counsel communicating with prospective opt-out class plaintiffs RI-219
Judge prohibited from rendering opinions to A/O 6
Licensed in another state but based in Michigan 71 MBJ 555 (Jun 1992)
Opposing counsel directly contacting employees concerning investigation RI-39
Privileged communications from employees R-2
Prosecuting attorney as RI-112
Refusing discovery request R-2
Representing client against former employer RI-35
Representing officer against former employer RI-95
Representing officer against entity RI-254
Representing party in dealings with former employer RI-35
Requesting employees not to discuss litigation R-2
Responsibility for conduct of client's investigators RI-153
Subordinate lawyer disclosing information to supervising lawyer RI-300
Subordinate lawyer misconduct RI-149
Supervising lawyer who is subject to review by subordinate lawyer RI-300
Supervisory duties RI-149
Wrongful discharge suit, lawyer employee 74 MBJ 54 (Jan 1995)

Insurance

Lawyer operating insurance business RI-135
Policy on client to pay fees RI-27
Referral fee from insurance agent RI-339

Insurance Representation

Adverse interests in dual representation, insured-insurer RI-89
By president of legal insurance corporation RI-18
Captured counsel sharing office space with employer insurance company RI-338
City attorney acting as state hearing officer RI-129
Confidentiality when insurer and insured joint clients RI-287
Conflicts of interest C-234, RI-89
Contingent fee in renegotiating structured settlement RI-175
Disputes between insurer and insured RI-89, RI-287
Duties to client's insurer C-234, RI-89, RI-129
Flat fee, insufficient for adequate representation RI-337
Group television advertising R-18
Hospital charged in no-fault representation C-226, RI-155
Indemnitor contacted RI-113
Insured, former joint client, disputing insurer RI-287
Insurer insuring city, while city attorney presides as hearing officer in unrelated claims against insurer RI-129
Insurer retaining lawyer for insured RI-89
Joint clients, confidentiality RI-287
Lawyer representing insured may receive fixed fee RI-343
Lawyers for insureds can be housed in insurance company offices RI-338
Medical benefits in no-fault cases C-226, RI-155
Multiple representation, apportionment of fees RI-155
No-fault benefits, charging for legal services C-223, C-226, RI-155
PIP claims C-223, RI-155, 71 MBJ 195 (Feb 1992)
Plaintiff advertising R-18
Prosecutor handling spouse's insurance dispute RI-280
Representing unrelated client against insurer whom regularly forwards business C-234
Structured settlement renegotiated, appropriate fee RI-175
Subsequent representation of insurer against insured RI-287
Withdrawal from representation of insured and insurer conflicts of interest RI-89

Interest, Bank

Apportioning trust account interest RI-64
Calculation of trust account interest RI-64
Collection of fees through credit card company RI-168
Credit card arrangement underwriting client bills RI-168
Disclosing credit arrangements RI-168
On unpaid client accounts 70 MBJ 948 (Sep 1991)
Payment of trust account interest R-7
Trust account subaccounting R-7
Usurious rate on overdue balances is unethical RI-40

Intermediary
See also Conflicts of Interest
back to list

Compatibility with client's best interests RI-176
Documenting sale between two clients RI-237
Mediator drafting parties' agreement RI-278
Nonlawyer relaying information between lawyer and client 74 MBJ 438 (May 1995)
Representing prospective ward and prospective guardian RI-176
Responsibilities to each client RI-176

Internet

Advertising medium vs. lawyer referral service RI-340

Investigation
See also Adverse Parties
See also Contact with Unrepresented Persons
See also Discovery
See also Witnesses
back to list

Contacting clerical employees of potential party RI-44
"Disinterested lawyer" standard R-9
Duty to investigate facts before filing R-9
Investigators' conduct imputed to lawyer RI-153
"Reasonable" investigation R-9
Responsibility for investigators' tactics RI-153
Subpoena to nonparty 74 MBJ 564 (Jun 1995)

Judicial Officer
See also Administrative Hearing Officer
See also Campaign Practices
See also Charitable/Civic Activities of Judges
See also Disqualification
See also Extrajudicial Activities
See also Magistrates
See also Referees
See also Statements of Position
back to list

Acting as referee and advocate JI-128
Advocating and acting as referee JI-128
Adjudicating and acting as advocate JI-128
Alternative sentencing program-restitution JI-130
Appearing at hearing as moral support for party JI-15
Appearance of part-time magistrate's firm JI-114
Application of Judicial Code to magistrates and referees JI-10, JI-19, JI-29
Attorneys asked to participate in pro bono activities J-7
Bonus compensation from former firm JI-37
Business participation J-3, J-6
Character reference from judge JI-41, A/O 67
Continuing relationship with former law practice JI-89
Disclosure of business interest JI-6
Divestiture of outside activities by new judge 75 MBJ 1071 (Oct 1996)
Dual roles-referee and advocate JI-129
Expert witness-referee testifying JI-127
Filing grievance against lawyer appearing before judicial officer JI-123
FOC referee and FOC advocate JI-129
FOC referee as expert witness JI-127
Judge encouraging pro bono activities J-7
Judicial Code, application to magistrates and referees JI-10, JI-19, JI-29, JI-56
Landlord to lawyer appearing before judge JI-6
Legal aid board member JI-38, JI-51, A/O 45
License to practice law required People v. Kearney, 345 Mich 680 (1956)
Magistrate, application of Judicial Code to JI-10
Magistrate, holding nonjudicial office JI-10
Magistrate, prosecutor serving as JI-56
Member of former firm appearing before JI-37
Negotiating for employment in contemplation of leaving judicial office JI-35
Part-time law practice JI-42, JI-77, JI-97
Part-time referee engaging in law practice JI-126
Part-time referee; part-time advocate JI-129
Party opponent appearing in unrelated matter as advocate R-15
Personal references JI-41, A/O 67
Political office, resignation before becoming candidate for JI-10, JI-19, A/O 50
Practice of law J-2, JI-89
Privileged information concerning former client JI-32
Pro bono solicitation by judge J-7
Public protest participation, discrimination JI-109
Recusal when filing grievance against lawyer JI-123
Referee, application of Judicial Code to JI-19, JI-29
Referee, part-time law practice RI-1
Referee who also practices law before own court JI-126
References JI-41, A/O 67
Referral fee, accepting JI-45
Remittal of judicial disqualification J-6
Restitution-performing services to pay off sentence JI-130
Retired judge business participation J-3, J-6
Reviewing decisions of spouse JI-31
Selling law books JI-40
Sentencing-performing services to work off restitution JI-130
Sentencing practices that favor designated charities JI-48, JI-55, JI-64
School board member, judge as JI-19
Soliciting funds for charity JI-33, J-8
Soliciting pro bono participation J-7
Spouse is assistant prosecutor JI-101, JI-133
Supervising performance of spouse JI-31
Testifying as expert witness JI-127
Witness in proceeding in which judge from same bench presides JI-57
Witness when properly subpoenaed JI-57

—Candidates

Bar association office endorsement JI-53
Campaign criticism of sitting judges JI-4
Campaign pledges JI-4
Endorsement of judicial candidate JI-81, JI-95, A/O 13, A/O 24, A/O 52, A/O 53, A/O 55, A/O 57, A/O 108
Endorsement of nonjudicial candidate JI-30, A/O 60, A/O 103
Magistrate, holding nonjudicial office JI-10
Political party ad book JI-36
Public endorsement of nonjudicial candidate JI-30, A/O 60, A/O 103
School board member, judge as JI-19
Solicitation of funds for charity JI-3

Jury

Jury records used for judge's election mailings JI-104
Soliciting endorsement from former jurors JI-104

Labor/Employment Law

Conflicts of interest, office workers and client labor union RI-60
Discrimination suit against company lawyer formerly represented in discrimination suit RI-192
Incentive for referring cases RI-124
Judge endorsing pro-business or pro-union interests JI-52, JI-65
Judge serving on Chamber of Commerce PAC JI-65
Lawyer for school employee union serving as faculty at school RI-279
Lawyer for school employee union serving as employment dispute mediator RI-279
Lawyer serving on board of client organization RI-136
Referral fee calculated as percentage of hourly billings RI-124
Representing bargaining unit in salary negotiations when members are adverse witnesses in unrelated case C-215
Strike by lawyers affecting client representation C-224
Union for law firm employees affecting lawyers' duties to clients RI-60
Union lawyer serving as employment dispute mediator RI-279
Union lawyer employed as faculty for management entity RI-279
Union resolution concerning plant closings, endorsement by judicial officers JI-52
Withholding services from client due to dispute with lawyer's employer C-224
Wrongful discharge suit, contacting lower level employees RI-44
Wrongful discharge suit, lawyer employee 74 MBJ 54 (Jan 1995)
Wrongful discharge suit, testimony of lawyer/director RI-136
Wrongful discharge suit, unrelated client may be witness RI-239

Law Clerks
See also Employees
See also Nonlawyers
See also Supervisory Duties
back to list

Notice of employment negotiation RI-43
"Personal and substantial" participation requiring disqualification RI-43
Screening when clerk takes private employment R-4, RI-4

Law Firm
See also Dual Practice
See also Employees
See also Firm Name
See also Imputed Disqualification
See also Office Sharing
See also Winding Up Law Practice
back to list

Access to information about client of former firm R-5
Administrative hearing officer negotiating employment RI-11
Administrative hearing officer practicing part-time RI-110
Advancing funds from operating account to avoid trust account RI-189
Association with registered patent agent RI-144
Buying judge's former practice JI-118
Changing firms R-4, RI-8, 76 MBJ 84 (Jan 1997), 69 MBJ 154 (Feb 1990)
Circumventing trust account rules RI-93, RI-189
Closing practice 71 MBJ 1056 (Oct 1992)
Codefendant with presiding judge in unrelated matter J-4, J-6
Compensation plans for nonlawyer employees RI-143
Consulting arrangement with nonlawyer tax appeals expert RI-104
Contingency agreement to represent client after claim of malpractice RI-25
Corporation counsel's office as "firm" R-5
Covenants not to compete RI-86, RI-245
Creating subsidiary firm RI-326
Deceased lawyer, payment of fees to estate RI-216
Definition R-5
Departing lawyer RI-86, RI-245, 76 MBJ 84 (Jan 1997), 69 MBJ 154 (Feb 1990)
Discipline of shareholder or partner RI-238
Disclosing accounts receivable for bank loan RI-77
Disqualification of judge from presiding in matters presented by former law firm J-4, J-6
Disqualification of judge whose former practice purchased by firm JI-118
Disqualification when client sues for malpractice in unrelated matter RI-25
Disqualification when new lawyer joins firm R-4
Disqualification when lawyer testifies regarding fees RI-299
Duty to have procedures which reasonably ensure compliance with ethics rules by members of firm R-7, RI-92, RI-149
Duty to report ethics violations of subordinate lawyer RI-149
Employee union conflicts with clients RI-60
Financial interest with judge C-228, J-4, J-6, People v. Perkins, 193 Mich App 209 (1992)
Financial interest in out-of-state firm RI-225
Firm of legislator represents municipal clients RI-331
Full-time administrative hearing officer RI-110
Group advertising under one entity name R-18
Investment from disciplined lawyer RI-238
Law firm "leasing" lawyer employees RI-310
Limited Liability Company R-17
"Leased" lawyers working for law firm RI-310
Legislator is member of law firm suing state agency RI-306
Loan pledging accounts receivable RI-77
Management duties 75 MBJ 682 (Jun 1996)
Multistate practice, ethics inconsistencies RI-70, 71 MBJ 1300 (Dec 1992)
New lawyer bringing clients to firm without disqualifying firm RI-97
Nonlawyer employee compensation RI-143
Nonlawyer partners in out-of-state firm affiliation RI-225
"Of counsel" affiliations RI-90, RI-102, RI-236, A/O 80
Of former city attorney RI-4
Office rent based on percentage of gross income RI-133
Office sharing 77MBJ 194 (Feb 1998)
Office sharing with non-law business RI-313
Partner's liability for lawyer employee's ethics RI-149, In the Matter of Crane, 400 Mich 484 (1977)
Part-time referee hearing matters presented by former law firm RI-1
Prosecutor's office as "firm" RI-43
Public defender may ethically establish separate offices to represent defendants with adverse interests RI-334
Referring clients to ADR service owned by firm member RI-275
Representing client against state agency when firm member is legislator RI-306
Reporting ethical violations of subordinate lawyer RI-149
Residence as office location RI-118
Retention schedule for client files R-5, R-12, RI-100, RI-240
Screening firm from new lawyer's continuing clients RI-97
Screening transferring lawyer R-4
Shareholder or partner disciplined RI-238
Signatories for trust account R-7, RI-107
Subordinate lawyer's duty to comply with ethics rules RI-92, RI-149
Subsidiary firm with limited scope RI-326
Supervisory lawyer's unethical conduct RI-92
Temporary lawyers working for law firm RI-310
Transferring lawyers R-4, RI-285
Transferring nonlawyers RI-115, RI-284
Union for employees conflicts with client RI-60
Unlicensed law graduate employees 71 MBJ 1061 (Oct 1992)
US Army Legal Assistance Office as "firm" RI-172
Winding up law practice RI-110
Withdrawal when client sues for malpractice in unrelated matter RI-25
Wrongful discharge suit, lawyer employee 74 MBJ 54 (Jan 1995)

Lawyer-Client Relationship
See Attorney-Client Relationship
back to list

Lawyer Referral Services
State Bar Membership Services offers a compilation of materials on this subject.
See also Division of Fees
See also Solicitation
back to list

Advertising program vs. lawyer referral service RI-340
Area codes designated for lawyer subscribers R-8
Availability of lawyers to handle client matters RI-9
Bar association charging lawyer fee RI-75
Chamber of Commerce service for members RI-36
Church referral list RI-229
Collection agency as intermediary between lawyer and client RI-15
Coupons for legal services RI-366
Creation of client-lawyer relationship RI-154
Determining whether entity is referral service RI-223
Discounts to particular clients RI-32
Divorce services 68 MBJ 469 (Jun 1989)
Duty to review marketing plan R-8
Ethical propriety of participation in R-6, 74 MBJ 438 (May 1995)
Fee for participation RI-17, RI-32, RI-75
Fee splitting with referral service RI-32, RI-36
Fees and permissible charges R-6, R-8, RI-9, RI-24
For-profit referral agency RI-17
For-profit services RI-24
Geographical zones established for lawyer subscribers R-6, R-8
Group advertising plan RI-9
Group legal services plan, propriety United Transportation Union v. State Bar of MI, 401 US 576 (1971)
Guidelines for ethical participation R-6
Interference with lawyer's independent professional judgment R-6, R-8
Listing on out-of-state firm website for referrals as advertising RI-340
Marketing plan, lawyer's duty to review R-6, R-8, RI-24
Misleading advertising R-8, RI-9
"No fee unless recovery" RI-9
Nonlawyer settling disputes between lawyer and client RI-7
Nonlawyer intermediary 74 MBJ 438 (May 1995)
Not-for-profit service charging fee RI-75
Paying another for referral RI-9, RI-24
Prepaid legal services plans RI-7, United Transportation Union v. State Bar of MI, 401 US 576 (1971)
Purchasing geographical areas R-8
Record retention requirements RI-178
Registration with State Bar required R-6, 70 MBJ 146 (Feb 1991)
Senior Citizens' Hotline RI-32
Service advancing costs of litigation RI-15
Service selects lawyer for client RI-15
Screening of lawyer participants inadequate R-8
Solicitation of cases or services RI-15
Supervision of nonlawyers R-6
Telephone area codes designated for lawyer subscribers R-8
Trade exchange of services between professionals C-220
Trust services 71 MBJ 212 (Feb 1992)
Welcome Wagon participation C-221
Zip codes designated for lawyer subscribers R-6, R-8

Legal Assistant
State Bar Membership Services offers a compilation of materials on this subject
See also Employees
See also Nonlawyers
See also Supervisory Duties
back to list

Advocate in administrative proceeding RI-103, RI-125
Communication with clients on laywer's behalf RI-349
Compensation plans RI-143
Duty to follow lawyer ethics R-1, RI-103, RI-125, RI-349
Intake information protected by privilege RI-123
Intermediary between client and lawyer prohibited RI-128, 74 MBJ 438 (May 1995)
Lawyer's duty to supervise R-1, RI-103, RI-125, RI-323, RI-349
Listed on firm letterhead RI-34
Location of nonlawyers too remote for adequate supervision R-1
Supervision by lawyer R-1, RI-103, RI-125, RI-349
Prison legal services program R-1
Ratio of nonlawyers to lawyers too high for adequate supervision R-1
Related to presiding judge C-216, J-6
Supervision of 71 MBJ 826 (Aug 1992)
Testimony when supervising lawyer is advocate RI-26

Legal Directories
See also Advertising
See also Lawyer Referral Services
back to list

Charging lawyers a fee for participation RI-17
For-profit referral agency RI-17
Lawyer listed in “Super Lawyer” may advertise it RI-341
Office of Patent and Trademarks, lawyer roster RI-167
Lawyer referral service vs. advertising RI-340

Legal Services
See also Indigent Persons
See also Legal Services Organizations
back to list

By nonlawyers R-1
Case selection responsibility RI-252
Conflict of interest in pursuing fee award RI-247
Contract bid by former prosecutor RI-253
Duties owed pro se litigants assisted RI-347
Fee-generating cases, pursuing fee award RI-247
Funds of missing clients RI-67
Group legal services plan, conflicts C-233
Judge receiving pro bono legal services JI-106
Lawyer advancing living and medical expenses to client RI-14
Lawyer participating in free clinic which solicits donations RI-83
Legal insurance RI-18
Legal services agency conducting pro se clinic RI-301
"Living will" and health care directive information presented at seminar RI-141
Nonprofit clinic soliciting donations RI-83
Program established by prosecutor RI-283
Pro se clinic conducted by legal services agency
Pursuing fee award when client judgment unsatisfied
RI-247
Reduction in staffing, notice to clients RI-252
Self help clinics conducted by legal services agency RI-301
Spouses seeking services from same agency RI-230
To prisoners R-1
Unbundling legal services permissible to assist pro se litigants RI-347

Legal Services Organizations
See also Indigent Persons
back to list

Advancing living and medical expenses to client RI-14
Advocacy before judge who sits on organization board JI-51
Case selection responsibility RI-252
Competence affected by case load, duties RI-252
Confidentiality protected from government sponsor RI-210
County legal services reporting to county government RI-210
Disclosure by judge of board membership JI-38, JI-51, A/O 45
Disclosure of client information to legal services corporation RI-311
Disqualification of judge sitting on board JI-51
Fees and permissible charges R-6
Funds of missing clients RI-67
Government lawyer access to client data RI-210
Group legal service plans, identifying the client C-233
Guidelines for ethical participation R-6, RI-210
Holding client funds RI-93
Judge serving on board JI-38, JI-51, A/O 45
Interference with lawyer's independent professional judgment C-233, R-6, RI-83, RI-210
"Law firm" with participating lawyers RI-230
Legal services corporation-disclosing client information RI-311
Marketing plan R-6
Nonprofit clinic soliciting donations from clients RI-83
Oversight of legal work by nonlawyer RI-210
Prepaid legal services plan RI-223
Reduction in staffing, notice to clients RI-252
Registration with State Bar required R-6
Representing spouse of client referred to participating lawyer RI-230
Reporting client information to legal services corporation RI-311
Reporting conduct of manager to board RI-252
Statistical information does not violate confidentiality RI-210
Supervision of nonlawyers R-6, RI-210

Letterhead
See also Advertising
See also Law Firm
back to list

See Nuts and Bolts of Law Firm Letterhead, 76 MBJ 1212 (Nov 1997)

Administrative hearing officer RI-110
"Affiliated" lawyers RI-200
Areas of practice RI-142
Dual professions RI-110
Estate Administrator designation RI-323
Firm name RI-90, RI-130
Franchise of trade name RI-130
"Honorable" being used by former judge RI-327
"Honorable" used in letterhead RI-327
Judge name removed A/O 109
Limited Liability Company R-17
Listing lawyers licensed in another jurisdiction RI-353
Listing temporary lawyers RI-290
Nonlawyer employees listed RI-34, RI-105, RI-323, 71 MBJ 1061 (Oct 1992)
Nonlawyer estate administrator RI-323
"Of counsel" relationships RI-102, RI-110, RI-236
Retaining title "Honorable" when entering private practice RI-327
Retired shareholder RI-90
Specialty certification RI-142, Peel v. Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Comm'n, 496 US 91 (1990)
Unassociated lawyers C-230, RI-130, RI-200, 68 MBJ 245 (Mar 1989) 68 MBJ 948 (Oct 1989), 71 MBJ 510 (Jun 1992)

Licenses
See also Admission to the Bar
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Judge obtaining liquor licenses for third party Matter of Szymanski, 400 Mich 469 (1977)
Law graduates required to be licensed 71 MBJ 1061 (Oct 1992)

Liens
See also Fees
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Charging lien 68 MBJ 856 (Sep 1989), 73 MBJ 690 (Jul 1994)
Client consent in writing RI-40
Construction liens to secure lawyer's fee RI-182
Court-awarded property execution RI-277
Deed to marital home as collateral for fees RI-354
Foreclosure on client property to collect fee RI-277
Independent advice to client RI-40
Lawyer as beneficiary on client's insurance policy RI-27
Mortgage to secure payment of fees RI-40
Property lien to secure fee RI-40, 73 MBJ 690 (Jul 1994)
Property value exceeds amount owed RI-277
Retaining lien RI-203, 68 MBJ 856 (Sep 1989), 70 MBJ 1196 (Nov 1991), 73 MBJ 690 (Jul 1994)
Security interest RI-40, 73 MBJ 690 (Jul 1994)
"Subject matter of litigation" RI-182, 73 MBJ 690 (Jul 1994)
Written agreement required RI-40, 73 MBJ 690 (Jul 1994)

Limiting Liability to Client

Arbitration as substitute for grievance RI-196
Client agreeing to pay lawyer's malpractice premium RI-319
Disclosing lawyer status in administrative proceedings RI-55
Independent counsel required before contracting RI-196
Reduced billing for limiting liability of lawyer RI-319
Requiring arbitration of fee dispute RI-2, RI-196

Magistrates
See also Judicial Officer
back to list

Applicability of Judicial Code JI-10, JI-56, A/O 50
Conflicts between judicial service and part-time law practice JI-97
Criminal matters In re Somers, 384 Mich 320 (1971)
Duties affected by part-time law practice JI-97
Exceeding authority In re Somers, 384 Mich 320 (1971)
Holding nonjudicial partisan office JI-10
Imputed disqualification of law firm of part-time magistrate JI-97
Law partners practicing before magistrate's court JI-97
Law practice by part-time district court magistrate JI-77, JI-97
Minimizing disqualification caused by part-time practice JI-97
Neglect of legal matters while an attorney Matter of Hammons, 426 Mich 1225 (1986)
Part-time magistrate JI-97
Part-time practice before own court JI-97
"Personal and substantial" participation in matter JI-97
Private practice of part-time magistrate JI-77, JI-97
Prosecutor serving as JI-56
Representing client—issued support order as magistrate RI-288
Representing funding unit of magistrate's court JI-97
Resignation of judicial officer before assuming partisan office JI-10, A/O 50

Malpractice
See also Competence
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Continuing to represent client after claim of legal malpractice RI-25
Judge and former firm defendant in legal malpractice action J-6, JI-39
Representing client suing advocate for legal malpractice in unrelated matter RI-25
Representing client which will result in liability of law partner RI-37
Ethics violation may be rebuttable evidence of malpractice Beattie v. Firnschild, 152 Mich App 785 (1986)

Mediation
See Alternate Dispute Resolution
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Medical Records

Client forgery of medical waiver of witness RI-209
Disclosing medical file to client RI-63

Merger of Law Firms
See Firm Name
See Law Firm
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Misconduct, Client
See also Attorney-Client Privilege
See also Confidences
See also Reporting Duties
back to list

Counseling duties RI-151
Discharge, effect on lawyer's duty to reveal RI-13
Disclosure of client's illegal activity to court RI-138, RI-184, RI-273
Disclosure of client's illegal activity to successor counsel RI-209
Disclosure of client's location RI-160
Duty to rectify suspected perjury RI-13, RI-151, RI-272
Duty to report law student misconduct RI-29
Forging medical waiver of witness RI-209
Former client suspected of illegal activity, privilege RI-106
Fraud, illegal acts RI-111, RI-138, RI-184, RI-209, 72 MBJ 198 (Feb 1993)
Fugitive from justice RI-160
Illegal activity of client RI-111, RI-138, RI-273
Inaccurate, truthful testimony of client RI-272
Inconsistent statements of client RI-33
Law student misconduct, duty to report RI-29
Perjury of client RI-13, RI-151, 72 MBJ 198 (Feb 1993)
Prescription of drugs RI-111
Recording deed to prevent suspected client fraud RI-156
Rectifying client misconduct RI-151, RI-184, RI-209, 72 MBJ 198 (Feb 1993)
Reporting prior ethical violations of lawyer client RI-220
Reporting law student activity RI-29
Representing client on unrelated matter when client is fugitive RI-160
Suspicion of client misconduct insufficient RI-13, RI-156
Tailoring testimony in exchange for compensation RI-138
Tax fraud of parties, judge's reporting duty A/O 89
Threat to destroy documents the subject of court discovery order RI-345

Misconduct, Judicial Officer
See also Attorney-Client Privilege
See also Confidences
See also Discipline, Judicial
See also Reporting Duties
back to list

Accepting and soliciting bribes Matter of Jenkins, 437 Mich 15 (1991)
Alcohol use In the Matter of Ryan, unreported order No 65757 (1/8/81), In the Matter of Sobotka, 421 Mich 1201 (1985)
Applying for drivers license and voter registration in name of deceased person Matter of Hotchkiss, 411 Mich 1135 (1981)
Arbitrary rulings Matter of Bennett, 403 Mich 178 (1978)
Campaign conduct Matter of Hotchkiss, 415 Mich 1101 (1982), Matter of Lawrence, 417 Mich 248 (1983)
Circulating portion of discipline letter, creating impression that charges were dismissed In the Matter of Binkowski, 420 Mich 97 (1984)
Commingling investigative and adjudicative functions does not violate due process Matter of Mikesell, 396 Mich 517 (1976), Matter of Del Rio, 400 Mich 665 (1977)
Contempt power abused Matter of Hague, 412 Mich 532 (1982), In re Seitz, 441 Mich 590 (1993)
Credit and financial misconduct In the Matter of O'Brien, 430 Mich 323 (1988)
Disability Matter of Lawrence, 417 Mich 248 (1983)
Disregard of law and court rules Matter of Del Rio, 400 Mich 665 (1977)
Duty to report lawyer misconduct RI-88, RI-220, RI-232
Duty to prevent unauthorized practice of law JI-26
Excluding advocates from court Matter of Hague, 412 Mich 532 (1982)
Ex parte contact with party's counsel RI-195
Failing to file reports with SCAO In re Seitz, 441 Mich 590 (1993)
Failing to grant jury trials on request In re Heideman, 387 Mich 630 (1972)
Failing to keep accurate record of proceeding In re Heideman, 387 Mich 630 (1972)
Favoritism In the Matter of Laster, 404 Mich 449 (1979), Matter of Lawrence, 417 Mich 248 (1983), Matter of Tschirhart, 420 Mich 1201 (1984)
Felony conviction In the Matter of Callanan, 419 Mich 376 (1984)
Fines and assessments against advocates Matter of Merritt, 431 Mich 1211 (1988)
Forgery In the Matter of Ryman, 394 Mich 637 (1975), State Bar Grievance Adm'r v. Ryman, 394 Mich 167 (1975), Matter of Loyd, 424 Mich 514 (1986)
Hostile temperament Matter of Bennett, 403 Mich 178 (1978), Matter of Del Rio, 400 Mich 665 (1977), Matter of Frankel, 414 Mich 1109 (1982), Matter of Mikesell, 396 Mich 517 (1976), In re Seitz, 441 Mich 590 (1993)
Humiliating chief judge pro tem and other court personnel In re Seitz, 441 Mich 590 (1993)
Installing telephone listening device In re Seitz, 441 Mich 590 (1993)
Judge editing letter at private censure and distributing as dismissed In the Matter of Binkowski, 420 Mich 97 (1984)
Jury trials not granted In re Heideman, 387 Mich 630 (1972)
Liquor license scheme conviction Matter of Szymanski, 400 Mich 469 (1977)
Misappropriation by lawyer prior to becoming a judge results in removal from bench Matter of Loyd, 424 Mich 514 (1986)
Misrepresentation In the Matter of Binkowski, 420 Mich 97 (1984)
Neglect of judicial duties In re Heideman, 387 Mich 630 (1972), In re Seitz, 441 Mich 590 (1993)
"Office holder expense fund" improper Matter of Lawrence, 417 Mich 248 (1983)
Political activity Matter of Bennett, 403 Mich 178 (1978), In re Bayles, 427 Mich 1201 (1986)
Racial comments In the Matter of Ryan, unreported order No 65757 (1/8/81)
RICO convictions In re Callanan, 419 Mich 376 (1984)
Refusal to respond to requests of SCAO In re Seitz, 441 Mich 590 (1993)
Self-incrimination In the Matter of O'Brien, 430 Mich 323 (1988)
Soliciting funds for improper purposes Matter of Merritt, 431 Mich 1211 (1988)
Statements to press In re Tschirhart, 422 Mich 1207 (1985)
Subornation of perjury Matter of Jenkins, 437 Mich 15 (1991)
Tax evasion In re Bayles, 427 Mich 1201 (1986)
Using office to benefit friends or family Matter of Del Rio, 400 Mich 665 (1977), Matter of Lawrence, 417 Mich 248 (1983), Matter of Tschirhart, 420 Mich 1201 (1984)
Violation of court orders Matter of Bennett, 403 Mich 178 (1978), In the Matter of Binkowski, 420 Mich 97 (1984), Matter of Hague, 412 Mich 532 (1982), In re Seitz, 441 Mich 590 (1993)

Misconduct, Lawyer
See also Attorney-Client Privilege
See also Confidences
See also Discipline, Lawyer
See also Reporting Duties
back to list

Assisting client's illegal or fraudulent act RI-160
Agreement not to report lawyer misconduct RI-88, RI-220, RI-232, RI-257
Charging fees for grievance defense RI-296
Charging fees for withdrawal RI-296
Circumventing ethics rules RI-93, RI-189
Disciplined lawyers, scope of permitted activity RI-101, 68 MBJ 1108 (Nov 1989)
Duty to report C-229, RI-88, RI-101, RI-149, RI-171, RI-220, RI-232
Failure to communicate settlement offer RI-171
Failure to file income tax Grievance Adm'r v. Hatchett, 440 Mich 1210 (1992)
Failure to notify clients of substitute counsel In the Matter of Cohen, 441 Mich 1201 (1993)
Failure to remove lawyer listings from phone directory after discipline In the Matter of Freedman, 406 Mich 256 (1979)
Failure to transfer client retainer to substitute counsel In the Matter of Cohen, 441 Mich 1201 (1993)
False information submitted to bar admission authority In the Matter of Del Rio, 407 Mich 336 (1979)
Filing deadlines repeatedly missed RI-149
Judge serving as discipline hearing panel member JI-24
Law firm interest after discipline RI-238
Lien enforcement against client without notice 73 MBJ 690 (Jul 1994), State Bar Grievance Adm'r v. Geralds, 402 Mich 387 (1978)
Misdemeanor conviction, reporting duty A/O 44
Negotiating settlement with opposing party RI-145
Partner's liability for lawyer employee's ethics In the Matter of Crane, 400 Mich 484 (1977)
Privileged information concerning lawyer misconduct RI-314
Respondent's Check List 74 MBJ 692 (Jul 1995)
Reporting lawyer misconduct RI-314
Settlement terms including promise not to file grievance RI-220, RI-232
Sexual relations with client 68 MBJ 518 (Jun 1989)
Subordinate lawyer's misconduct RI-149
Suspended lawyer's unauthorized practice RI-101
Unauthorized practice of law, duty to report RI-101
Violation of statute A/O 18
Withdrawal as next friend when sued by ward RI-170

Missing Clients

Disposition of trust funds RI-38, RI-58

Missing Lawyers

Duties to clients 69 MBJ 241 (Mar 1990)
Handling files of 69 MBJ 241 (Mar 1990)

Multiple Representation
See also Conflicts of Interest
back to list

Conflict regarding distribution of case proceeds R-10
Corporation and employees RI-111
County and county sheriff, lawyer representing RI-96
Discharge from representing all RI-111
Discharge by some, effect of RI-98
Dispute among clients on acceptance of mediation award RI-134
Government lawyer also representing tax assessors RI-307
Insurance representation, insured and insurer RI-89
Joint clients later in dispute RI-248
Mediation award RI-134
Municipality, representing county and tax assessors RI-307
Multiple clients, municipality and tax assessors RI-307
Multiple clients testifying on opposing sides RI-138
Multiple clients with opposing interests RI-47, RI-89, RI-108, RI-111, RI-134
US Army Legal Assistance providing legal assistance to soldiers and spouses RI-172
Withdrawal from all clients required when conflict arises RI-89, RI-98, RI-108, RI-111, RI-134, RI-138
Wrongful death action R-10

Multi-Jurisdictional Practice

Conflicts among ethics rules RI-70, RI-225, 71 MBJ 1300 (Dec 1992)
Contingent fee sharing between jurisdictions RI-122
Ethics rules applicable in federal practice RI-162
Inconsistent ethics rules RI-70, 71 MBJ 1300 (Dec 1992)
IOLTA compliance RI-70
Investment in out-of-state law firm RI-225
Nonlawyer partners allowed in one jurisdiction RI-225
"Of counsel" affiliations RI-102
Out-of-state lawyer representing trucker in local traffic matter 71 MBJ 687 (Jul 1992)
Referral fee paid to out-of-state lawyer RI-199
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Notice to Lawyers:
State Bar of Michigan ethics opinions are advisory and non-binding in nature. This index is a complete historical catalog. Some of the listed ethics opinions, though not expressly superseded in subsequent ethics opinions, may be nonetheless outmoded or no longer sound due to subsequent changes in case law, statutes, or court rules. Practitioners are urged to thoroughly research all sources to determine the current validity of any given ethics opinion.

     

 

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