Ethics Opinion Topic Index

Real Property Law

Commission from broker for referring business
Construction liens to secure lawyer's fee
Consulting arrangement with nonlawyer for property tax appeals
Discharged lawyer, disposition of client's deed
Disclosure of title problems
Duties to purchasers when representing seller
Foreclosure of client property to collect lawyer fee
Fraudulent alteration of deeds before becoming judge
  •  In The Matter of Ryman,
  •  394 Mich 637 (1975),
Fraudulent conveyance, duty to rectify
Judge leasing space to lawyers
Lawyer named as deed preparer
Lawyer receiving commission from broker for referral
Liens to secure lawyer's fee
Real estate claim against former client's property settlement
Real estate transactions conducted by nonlawyers
  •  Ingham County Bar Ass'N v. Neller Co.,
  •  342 Mich 214 (1955),
  •  State Bar of Mi v. Kupris,
  •  366 Mich 688 (1962),
Representing customer of own title insurance business
Reviewing title issued by own company
Quitclaim deeds issued by city attorney
Spouse of judge leasing to lawyers
Title company owned by lawyer referring clients
Title examination services by judge prohibited
  •  A/O 1,
Title insurance companies
  •  70 MBJ 1198 (Nov 1991),
  •  71 MBJ 428 (May 1992),
Title problems, lawyer's duty to disclose to transferees
Transfer of client property in lawyer's possession

Record Retention

Arbitration files not governed by ethics rules
Client "property"
Damage to client's files
Declined representation
Duty to have law firm plan for retention
Effective date of duty for retention plan
Flood damage to client property
Lawyer referral service
Interview notes
Medical record retention
Microfilm in lieu of paper file
Notice regarding disposition of closed representation files
  •  74 MBJ 1196 (Nov 1995),
Proper disposition of client files by retiring lawyer
Prospective clients
Public defender office
Retention schedule for client files
Time periods for retention
Trust account guidelines



Accepting referral fees
Acting as referee and advocate
Adjudicating and acting as advocate
Advocating and acting as referee
Appearance of part-time magistrate's firm
Domestic relations referee and liaison attorney
Dual roles—referee and advocate
Expert witness-referee testifying
FOC referee and FOC advocate
FOC referee as expert witness
Hearing matters in which participated as lawyer
Hearing matters presented by former law firm
Part-time practice
Part-time referee engaging in law practice
Part-time referee; part-time advocate
Representing clients in matter formerly before as referee
Referee who also practices law before own court
Referral fees
Testifying as expert witness


Judge providing personal reference

Referral Fees

For-profit matching services


Reinstatement & Readmission

Character and fitness clearance after discipline
  •  Yashinsky v. State Bd. of Law Examiners,
  •  539 Nw2d 378 (1995),
"Clear and convincing" evidence on behalf of reinstatement required
  •  In The Matter of Freedman,
  •  406 Mich 256 (1979),
Conditions of reinstatement must be specified
  •  403 Mich 346 (1978),
  •  Grievance Adm'r v. Albert,
Denial of reinstatement on preponderance of evidence
  •  In The Matter of Freedman,
  •  406 Mich 256 (1979),
Effect of original misconduct on reinstatement
  •  438 Mich 296 (1991),
  •  In The Matter of Reinstatement of Callanan,
  •  Jr.,
  •  440 Mich 1207 (1992),
  •  In The Matter of Mcwhorter 449 Mich 130 (1995),
  •  Grievance Adm'r v. August,
Remorse as condition of reinstatement
  •  403 Mich 346 (1978),
  •  Grievance Adm'r v. Albert,
Length of time independent since incarceration
  •  In The Matter of Reinstatement of Callanan,
  •  Jr.,
  •  440 Mich 1207 (1992),
Length of time independent since probation
  •  In The Matter of Mcwhorter 449 Mich 130 (1995),
Recertification after discipline
  •  Yashinsky v. State Bd. of Law Examiners,
  •  539 Nw2d 378 (1995),
Understanding impropriety of underlying misconduct
  •  403 Mich 346 (1978),
  •  Grievance Adm'r v. Albert,


Waiver of liability, guardian ad litem
Waiver of liability, nonlaw business
Waiver of liability, reduced fee
Waiver of liability, unethical conduct

Remittal of Disqualification

Consent of parties to adjudicator presiding

Reporting Duties

Disciplined lawyer's unauthorized practice
Failure to communicate settlement offer, duty to report
Filing deadlines repeatedly missed
Illegal activity of client
Inaccurate, truthful testimony of client
Judge reporting lawyer misconduct
Ethics violations of client lawyer
Ex parte contact between lawyer and judge
Extrajudicial income
Law student misconduct, duty to report
Negotiating settlement with opposing party
Opposing counsel offering unethical settlement terms
Perjury of client
Promise not to file grievance
Rectifying client misconduct
Settlement terms including promise not to file grievance
Tax fraud
  •  A/O 89,
Unauthorized practice of law

Retainer Agreements

Retired Judge

Business participation
Disqualification for business interests
Leave of absence while on judicial assignment