LEO: Conflict of Interest - Lawyer as  LE Op. 457


Conflict of Interest - Lawyer as Witness.


April 16, 1982


Law Firm A, after full disclosure and consent, represented both purchaser

and seller in a real estate transaction. An easement in favor of the

purchaser was created by the seller's deed, and subsequent to closing, a

dispute arose between purchaser and seller concerning purchaser's rights

under the easement. Law Firm A, at seller's request and without consent of

purchaser, filed suit against purchaser. Attorney B was employed by

purchaser and filed an answer. Thereafter, upon motion, the Bill of

Complaint was taken for confessed as to liability, and trial was ordered

to determine seller's damages. In the Committee's view, A's original

decision to file suit for seller against purchaser was improper:


(1) Because it was reasonably likely that a lawyer in the firm might be

called to testify since the firm had prepared the deed. [See II: DR:5-



(2) Because the former attorney-client relationship between A and

purchaser existed with respect to the same transaction out of which the

dispute arose. [See II: DR:4-101(B) and DR:5-105(A).]


Committee Opinion April 16, 1982