Two attorneys share separate rooms in the same law office. Each attorney has his separate practice and each attorney has a separate stenographer. Would it he professionally proper for one of the said attorneys to represent a plaintiff in litigation and the other attorney to represent the defendant in litigation, assuming that at the time the second attorney was retained by the defendant, the defendant was informed that the plaintiff’s attorney shares space in the same office and the client with that knowledge was satisfied to retain the second attorney?
Would the answer be the same if both attorneys shared the use of the same stenographer?
After the second attorney appears in the case is there any obligation on the first attorney to advise his client that the attorney who actually appeared for the defendant in the action shares space with him in the same office?
It is improper for attorneys sharing separate rooms in the same law office to represent opposing parties in litigation, regardless of their consent, and regardless of whether the attorneys share the use of the same stenographer or use separate stenographers. The relationship of the attorneys in itself is almost certain to give rise to suspicion of their acts. It would not only be incompatible with an attorney’s duty to maintain the dignity of the profession for the second attorney to represent the defendant under such circumstances (see Canon 29 of the Canons of Professional Ethics and New York City No. 557), but the relationship of the attorneys would place an undue, and perhaps impossible, burden upon each attorney’s duty to guard the confidences of his client (see Canon 37).
November 18, 1957.