LEO: Multiple Representation - Substantially LE Op. 1092
Multiple Representation - Substantially Unrelated Matter.
June 16, 1988
Basically, you advise that you represent a regional jail commission on an
hourly basis and have been giving legal advice to that commission for over
a year. The funding of the jail comes from the state, the county and
cities A and B. Of the five voting commissioners on the commission, one is
appointed by city A's city council. The appointee on the commission from
city A at this point is the assistant to city A's chief of police. You
have recently received a court appointment for an indigent defendant from
the general district court in city A. Client X is charged with a
misdemeanor of obstruction of justice and assault and battery of a police
officer. You feel that client X has a legitimate civil rights action
against a police officer from city A for injuries received and also
against the police department of city A for neglect in securing medical
treatment for the injuries.
You wish to know whether or not you may represent X in this matter.
Disciplinary Rule 5-101(A) [ DR:5-101] states that a lawyer shall not
accept employment if the exercise of his professional judgment on behalf
of his client may be affected by his own financial business property or
personal interests except with the consent of his client after full and
adequate disclosure under the circumstances. Disciplinary Rule 5-105(A)
states that a lawyer shall decline proffered employment if the exercise of
his independent professional judgment on behalf of a client will be or is
likely to be adversely affected by the acceptance of the proffered
employment except to the extent permitted under DR:5-105(C).
Disciplinary Rule 5-105(C) states that in the situations covered by DR:5-
105(A) and (B), a lawyer may represent multiple clients if it is obvious
that he can adequately represent the interests of each and if each
consents to the representation after full disclosure of the possible
effect of such representation on the exercise of his independent
professional judgment on behalf of each.
The Committee opines that it is not improper for you to represent client
X as long as disclosure is made and consent received from both X and the
jail commission. The Committee does not believe that DR:5-105 is
applicable to your inquiry since the Committee does not believe that the
two matters are substantially related.
Committee Opinion June 16, 1988