Legal Ethics Opinion No. 1375

Communication With One of Adverse Interest--Landlord/Tenant
Disputes: Attorney Forwarding a Default Notice Directly to Lessee
When Lease Agreement Permits Such Notice

You have indicated that Client X, represented by Attorney A, has
stopped making payments under a lease with Y, represented by
Attorney B, which X wishes to rescind.   The lease provides
specifically that "[a]ll required notices will be considered to
have been given if sent by registered or certified mail or
overnight courier service to the addressee [sic] at its address
stated in the lease, or at such other place as such addressee may
have designated in writing."  You advise that X is the lessee,
his address is stated in the lease, and he has not designated in
writing any other address.  Finally, you indicate that Y/lessor
may not be able to hold X/lessee in default and assert a claim
for rent against X unless Y sends a default notice to X as
required by the terms of the lease.

You have asked the committee to opine as to the propriety of
Attorney B drafting a default notice for Y/lessor to send
[directly] to X/lessee with a copy to Attorney A.

The appropriate and controlling disciplinary rule relevant to the
issue you raise is DR 7-l03(A)(l) which mandates that, 

     [d]uring the course of his representation of a client,
     a lawyer shall not communicate or cause another to
     communicate on the subject of the representation with a
     party he knows to be represented by a lawyer in that
     matter unless he has the prior consent of the lawyer
     representing such other party or is authorized by law
     to do so.

Since the parties were each represented by counsel during the
drafting of the original lease agreement, the pertinent provision
of which permits the required notices to be sent directly to the
parties, the committee is of the opinion that Attorney A's
implied consent to Y's or Attorney B's direct communications with
X eliminates any potential impropriety.   The committee is of the
further opinion that the provision of legal notices does not
constitute the communication envisioned by the proscriptions of
DR 7-l03.  See ABA Informal Opinion 985 (August 26, l967) citing
ABA Informal Decision 426 (July 26, l96l).   The committee thus
opines that it is not improper for Attorney B to draft a default
notice for Y/lessor to send directly to X/lessee.  Furthermore,
although not required, the committee believes that the provision
of a courtesy copy of the notice to Attorney B would be

Committee Opinion
October 1, 1990

Related Opinions: See LEO #1389