Have Questions? Contact Us.
Since its inception, NYCLA has been at the forefront of most legal debates in the country. We have provided legal education for more than 40 years.
I was recommended by A by a client, B. A was injured while a passenger in a vehicle driven by C, when C’s vehicle struck a light pole. B, the client who recommended A to me, is the adult son. of C, B is married and maintains a separate household. I have been advised that A has no friends or family of his own and, therefore, asked B and C to recommend a lawyer to him.
I have never represented the potential defendant, C, nor did I know him prior to the happening of this accident. My opinion, therefore, was that there should be nothing improper in my representation of A.
However, I have informed A that I cannot undertake his case until I get an opinion from your Committee as to the propriety of this situation.
Since C was in the hospital for a period of two weeks and since the accident occurred approximately three weeks ago, it is extremely important that I notify A immediately as to whether or not I will be able to undertake this matter.
Canon 6 of the Canons of Professional Ethics provides in part as follows:
“6. Adverse Influences and Conflicting Interests.
“It. is the duty of a lawyer at the time of retainer to disclose in the client all the circumstances of his relations to the parties, and any interest in or connection with the controversy, which might influence the client in the selection of counsel.”
The facts stated in the question indicate that the client A should be advised, in advance of the acceptance of the retainer, that the attorney has represented B, the son of C, the prospective defendant. This factor might influence the client in his selection of counsel. Once fall disclosure, however, was made, there appears to be no reason why the proposed representation is not proper. Obviously, the attorney will owe undivided fidelity to his client A in the prosecution of the claim of A against C.
Dated: October 15, 1963