LEO: Conflict of lnterest - Former Client -  LE Op. 1105


Conflict of lnterest - Former Client - Employment by an

Administrative Agency Adverse to Former Client.


July 14, 1988


The facts of your letter are incorporated in this letter for the sake of

brevity. You basically advise that you were previously employed by a law

firm involved in energy law. While employed by that firm, you represented

oil and gas companies in two administrative hearings before the Federal

Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The first hearing involved a group of

oil companies who opposed a proposed increase in transportation rates of

natural gas. The second involved oil and gas companies who were involved

in a contract dispute with a natural gas pipeline. You state that you are

now employed by the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Policy,

Planning and Analysis as a consultant.


In this capacity, you analyze national energy policy issues and advise

the director and deputy director of the policy office. You state that you

are not directly involved in any regulatory activities nor do you

participate in any FERC proceedings. You state that you do not represent

DOE in any type of legal proceeding nor do you provide legal advice to

DOE. You are not retained by the general counsel's office of DOE nor do

you have any informal, advisory relationship with lawyers in that office.

DOE is not a party to either of the proceedings which you were involved

with in your former employment nor do you have any continuing involvement

in either litigation in either a professional or personal capacity. You

are not involved in the subject matter of the two proceedings in your new



Disciplinary Rule 5-105(D) of the Virginia Code of Professional

Responsibility states that "A lawyer who has represented a client in a

matter shall not thereafter represent another person in the same or

substantially related matter if the interest of that person is adverse in

any material respect to the interest of the former client unless the

former client consents after disclosure."


Based upon the information provided in your letter, the Committee opines

that your new employment is not substantially related to your prior

representation of clients before the FERC, nor is your employment by the

DOE adverse to your prior representation of those clients. Based upon the

facts of your letter, the Committee opines that there is no violation of



Committee Opinion July 14, 1988