LEO: Spouses/Law Partners: Appearance Before a  LE Op. 1291


Spouses/Law Partners: Appearance Before a Tribunal Upon Which

Spouse/Partner Is a Member.


October 19, 1989


You have indicated that in 1988, your opinion was requested by an

attorney regarding whether he might practice before your county's Board of

Zoning Appeals while his wife, also a lawyer and his law partner, was a

member of that body so long as the wife abstained from participating in

any matter with which the husband/lawyer was involved before the Board.

Your opinion, a copy of which was provided to this Committee, indicated

that while the husband's appearance was permissible under the State and

Local Government Conflict of Interest Act so long as the wife disqualified

herself in the matter, you had concerns about the situation based upon the

Code of Professional Responsibility and, in particular, Canon 9 regarding

the appearance of professional impropriety.


The Committee is of the view that its earlier issued LE Op. 1123 is

dispositive of the substantive matter you have raised.


In addition to the substantive matter, however, the Committee is of the

opinion that the appropriate and controlling rule to the situation is DR:

1-103(A) which requires, in pertinent part, that a lawyer having

information indicating that another lawyer has committed a violation of

the Disciplinary Rules that raises a substantial question as to that

lawyer's fitness to practice law in other respects, shall report such

information to the appropriate professional authority. Since it is beyond

the purview of this Committee to make a factual determination as to

whether or not the conduct you described is violative of the Code of

Professional Responsibility, the Committee believes you have a

responsibility under DR:1-103(A) to inform the District Committee in

your jurisdiction of the matter so that they may make the appropriate

factual determination.


Committee Opinion October 19, 1989