Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 113

Adopted July 24, 1936

The Board is in receipt of the following inquiry:

“Some time ago I represented a group of taxpayers in a school district who were contesting the annexation of that school district to another school district. I was unsuccessful in this suit, and the Supreme Court ordered the annexation. Now, some of the taxpayers in the district, which I indirectly represented, are seeking to withdraw from the school district to which it was annexed, desires to employ me to contest that proceeding. The individuals whom I represented in the fire proceeding have paid me and there are no unfinished duties in the first proceeding. I desire to be advised whether, in the opinion of the committee, it would be improper for me to represent the school district which is resisting the withdrawal of the former district.”

In response:

It is the opinion of the Board that it would be improper to accept the employment referred to.

Attention is called to Rule 8 of the Rules of Professional Conduct wherein it is laid down that:

“The obligation to represent the client with undivided fidelity and not divulge his secrets or confidences forbids also the subsequent acceptances or retainers or employment from others in matters adversely affecting any interest of the client with respect to which confidence has been reposed.”

See also Rule 39 of the Rules of Professional Conduct which interdicts the acceptance of the employment “even though there are other available sources of information.”