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Ethics Opinions
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Ethics opinions are numbered as YY/MM/DD and categorized as applied to Montana Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Latest Opinions

Issued on May 19
Attorney as advocate or witness at trial (Rule 3.7, Mont. R. Prof. Cond.)
140519


Issued on Dec 24, 2013
A lawyer should not agree to personally indemnify the releasee from any lien claims
131224

Issued on December 14, 2011
Bankruptcy
112314


Issued on December 16, 2010
Unbundling/Limited Scope Representation
101216

Issued on June 23, 2010
Marriage & law-business conflicts
These 3 potential conflict occur in a small Montana town.
100623

Issued on April 12, 2010
HIPAA & psychotherapy notes: Can you disclose your client's psychotherapy file -- to your client?
100412

Issued on March 10, 2010
Notary-rule compliance
Do lawyer's have a choice to comply with the new MCA 1-5-416(1)(g)?
100310

Issued on July 11, 2008
Fixed fees: They're allowed under Rules of Conduct, but such contracts must meet certain ethical obligations.
080711


Rule 1.1- Competence

900409 Do-It-Yourself Kits (Sold By Attorney)

900517 Conflict of Interest (Insurer Paying Independent Counsel)

970717 Declining or Terminating Representation

011114 Marketing language for a pre-paid legal services provider


Rule 1.2 Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer

870522 Candor Toward Tribunal (Basis For Workers Comp Lump Sum Award)

100412 HIPAA & psychotherapy notes

101216 Unbundling/Limited Scope Representation

112314 Client Provides False Information (Bankruptcy)


Rule 1.3- Diligence

970717 Declining or Terminating Representation


Rule 1.5- Fees

900517 Conflict of Interest (Insurer Paying Independent Counsel)

930318 Attorney as Witness (Re Own Fees)

950411 Fees (Contingent for Nonlegal Services)

990119 Contingency Fee From Past Due Child Support

000209 Division of Fees Upon Leaving a Firm

040804 Contingent fees in pursuing non-marital assets in a divorce

040809 Written consent of an insurer's client; 3/28/05 supplement

080711 Fixed fees allowed under Rules, with ethical conditions

101216 Unbundling/Limited Scope Representation


Rule 1.6- Confidentiality of Information

850820 Public/Private Representation (Court Appointments)

870326 Candor Toward Tribunal (Client Perjury)

880203 Confidentiality (Attorney as Party In Dissolution)

890301 Confidentiality (Disclosure by Attorney Accused by Client of Crime)

890317 Conflict of Interest (Simultaneous Representation by Attorney of Unrelated Plaintiff and Defense Cases Using Single Adjuster

910510 Client Files (Destruction)

940112 Conflict of Interest (Former Client - Consent Required)

940202 Attorney/Client Relationship (Government Attorney and Government Agency)

951026 Former Client/Firm (Conflict of Interest)

960227 Attorney Fees (Impermissible Referral Service)

960828 Confidentiality (Client Billing)

970717 Declining or Terminating Representation

981212 Confidentiality (Child Support Enforcement Division)

981216 Conflict of Interest (Real Estate Transactions)

001027 Use of Credit Bureaus and Collection Agencies

001028 Moving from Private Practice to Public Office

010830 Prior correspondence as "taint-shopping"

011114 Marketing language for a pre-paid legal services provider

040809 Written consent of an insurer's client; 3/28/05 supplement

050621 Call-In Bond Condition

070523 Fatality review information

112314 Client Provides False Information (Bankruptcy)


Rule 1.7- Conflict of Interest: Current Clients

850820 Public/Private Representation (Court Appointments)

850916 Conflict of Interest (Opposing Parties in Dissolution Represented by Same Firm)

860218 Conflict of Interest (Simultaneous Representation of Wrongful Death and Survivorship Actions)

860903 Public/Private Representation (Consent to County Attorney's Suit Against State Department)

880211 Public/Private Representation (Civil Representation and Prosecutorial

890317 Conflict of Interest (Simultaneous Representation by Attorney of Unrelated Plaintiff and Defense Cases Using Single Adjuster

900517 Conflict of Interest (Insurer Paying Independent Counsel)

910222 Unauthorized Practice of Law

940112 Conflict of Interest (Former Client - Consent Required)

950721 Judges (Presiding Where Spouse is Deputy Sheriff)

960731 Conflict of Interest (Spouses Retain Attorney for Estate Planning)

960801 Conflict of Interest (Simultaneous Representation)

960827 Conflict of Interest (Prosecutor Salary Paid From Forfeiture Funds)

960924 Conflict of Interest (Conflict-Free Counsel)

981212 Confidentiality (Child Support Enforcement Division)

001028 Moving from Private Practice to Public Office

001029 Attorney Elected to Public Office: Disposition of Law Practice

010417 Defending and Prosecuting in Same Jurisdiction

010830 Prior correspondence as "taint-shopping"

100623 Marriage & law-business conflicts


Rule 1.8- Conflict of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules

860218 Conflict of Interest (Simultaneous Representation of Wrongful Death and Survivorship Actions)

860723 Advances to Clients (Loans and Loan Guaranties, Expenses of Litigation)

900517 Conflict of Interest (Insurer Paying Independent Counsel)

910529 Delinquent Client Accounts (Collection by Attorney as Trustee)

930318 Attorney as Witness (Re Own Fees)

940112 Conflict of Interest (Former Client - Consent Required)

941221 Solicitation (Targeted Mailing)

950221 Former Client (Return or Retention of Papers)

950407 Diligence (Opposed by Spouse's Firm)

951231 Conflict of Interest (None For Attorney in Capacity as Trustee)

000210 Retaining Liens

040809 Written consent of an insurer's client; 3/28/05 supplement


Rule 1.9 Duties to Former Clients

850820 Public/Private Representation (Court Appointments)

870513 Organization Representation (Who Is the Client?)

890720 Public/Private Representation (Unrelated Matters)

901116 Conflict of Interest (Former Client)

940112 Conflict of Interest (Former Client - Consent Required)

951026 Former Client/Firm (Conflict of Interest)

981216 Conflict of Interest (Real Estate Transactions)

001028 Moving from Private Practice to Public Office

001029 Attorney Elected to Public Office: Disposition of Law Practice

010830 Prior correspondence as "taint-shopping"

112314 Client Provides False Information (Bankruptcy)


Rule 1.10- Imputation of Conflicts of Interest General Rule

860218 Conflict of Interest (Simultaneous Representation of Wrongful Death and Survivorship Actions)

960924 Conflict of Interest (Conflict-Free Counsel)

001028 Moving from Private Practice to Public Office

100623 Marriage & law-business conflicts


Rule 1.11- Special Conflicts of Interest for Former and Current Government Officers and Employers

850820 Public/Private Representation (Court Appointments)

890720 Public/Private Representation (Unrelated Matters)

940330 Public/Private Representation (Former County Attorney - Claim Against County)

951026 Former Client/Firm (Conflict of Interest)

001028 Moving from Private Practice to Public Office

001029 Attorney Elected to Public Office: Disposition of Law Practice


Rule 1.13- Organization as Client

870513 Organization Representation (Who Is the Client?)

940202 Attorney/Client Relationship (Government Attorney and Government Agency)


Rule 1.15- Safekeeping Property

910226 Attorney Fees (Withholding From Trust Funds)

910510 Client Files (Destruction)

080711 Fixed fees allowed under Rules, with ethical conditions


Rule 1.16- Declining or Terminating Representation

860115 Client Files (Retention)

880211 Public/Private Representation (Civil Representation and Prosecutorial

880218 Client Files (Retention Schedule)

950221 Former Client (Return or Retention of Papers)

970717 Declining or Terminating Representation

000210 Retaining Liens

080711 Fixed fees allowed under Rules, with ethical conditions

100412 HIPAA & psychotherapy notes

112314 Client Provides False Information (Bankruptcy)


Rule 1.17- Government Employment

910604 Public/Private Representation (Representative of Estate and Criminal Investigation of Decedent)


Rule 1.19- Sale of Law Practice

030716 Attorney May Not Create Lawyer Referral Service


Rule 1.20- Duties to Prospective Clients

112314 Client Provides False Information (Bankruptcy)


Rule 2.1- Advisor

910222 Unauthorized Practice of Law



Rule 3.3- Candor toward the Tribunal

870326 Candor Toward Tribunal (Client Perjury)

870522 Candor Toward Tribunal (Basis For Workers Comp Lump Sum Award)

981212 Confidentiality (Child Support Enforcement Division)

030703 Serving Court-Instructed Order to Opposing Counsel

050621 Call-In Bond Condition

112314 Client Provides False Information (Bankruptcy)


Rule 3.4- Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel

850913 Fees (Witness Contingent)

011115 Contacting a complaining witness for a civil settlement


Rule 3.5- Impartiality and Decorum of the Tribunal

030703 Serving Court-Instructed Order to Opposing Counsel


Rule 3.7- Lawyer as Witness

140519 Attorney as advocate or witness at trial (Rule 3.7, Mont. R. Prof. Cond.)

870520 Attorney as Witness (Re Own Fees)

930318 Attorney as Witness (Re Own Fees)

050317 Deputy County Attorney as Witness


Rule 3.8- Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor

960827 Conflict of Interest (Prosecutor Salary Paid From Forfeiture Funds)

011115 Contacting a complaining witness for a civil settlement

050317 Deputy County Attorney as Witness


Rule 4.1- Truthfulness in Statements to Others

112314 Client Provides False Information (Bankruptcy)


Rule 4.2- Communication with Person Represented by Counsel

900703 Second Opinion

940430 Witness (Ex Parte Contact)

951229 Witness (Ex Parte Information Obtained Under Pretext)

101216 Unbundling/Limited Scope Representation

112314 Client Provides False Information (Bankruptcy)


Rule 4.3- Dealing with Unrepresented Person

011115 Contacting a complaining witness for a civil settlement


Rule 5.3- Responsibilities Regarding Non-lawyer Assistants

930927 Fees (Referral by Runners)

951229 Witness (Ex Parte Information Obtained Under Pretext)

960828 Confidentiality (Client Billing)


Rule 5.4- Professional Independence of a Lawyer

850913 Fees (Witness Contingent)

910222 Unauthorized Practice of Law

950411 Fees (Contingent for Nonlegal Services)

960227 Attorney Fees (Impermissible Referral Service)

000111 Multi-Disciplinary Practice


Rule 5.5- Unauthorized Practice Law

850913 Fees (Witness Contingent)

910222 Unauthorized Practice of Law

930927 Fees (Referral by Runners)


Rule 7.1- Communications Concerning a Concerning a Lawyer's Services.

870709 Advertising (Newspaper)

900308 Professional Corporation/Letterheads/Office Sharing

910222 Unauthorized Practice of Law

941221 Solicitation (Targeted Mailing)

011114 Marketing language for a pre-paid legal services provider

080711 Fixed fees allowed under Rules, with ethical conditions


Rule 7.2- Advertising

910222 Unauthorized Practice of Law

930927 Fees (Referral by Runners)

950411 Fees (Contingent for Nonlegal Services)

960227 Attorney Fees (Impermissible Referral Service)

011114 Marketing language for a pre-paid legal services provider

030716 Attorney May Not Create Lawyer Referral Service


Rule 7.3- Direct Contact with Prospective Clients

870709 Advertising (Newspaper)

910222 Unauthorized Practice of Law

941221 Solicitation (Targeted Mailing)

951027 Solicitation (Targeted Mailing)

951230 Solicitation (Permissible Direct Contact With Prospective Clients)

960227 Attorney Fees (Impermissible Referral Service)

011114 Marketing language for a pre-paid legal services provider


Rule 7.4- Communication of Field of Practice and Specialization

910222 Unauthorized Practice of Law


Rule 7.5- Firm Name and Letterheads

861126 Letterheads (Public Officials)

900308 Professional Corporation/Letterheads/Office Sharing

001029 Attorney Elected to Public Office: Disposition of Law Practice


Rule 8.3- Reporting Professional Misconduct

951229 Witness (Ex Parte Information Obtained Under Pretext)


Rule 8.4- Misconduct

850820 Public/Private Representation (Court Appointments)

940112 Conflict of Interest (Former Client - Consent Required)

951229 Witness (Ex Parte Information Obtained Under Pretext)

050317 Deputy County Attorney as Witness

112314 Client Provides False Information (Bankruptcy)


Opinions Decided Under the Canons of Professional Ethics (rules before 1985)