Ethics Opinions

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The new Maine Rules of Professional Conduct have been promulgated by the Court effective August 1, 2009. Nevertheless, please note that Opinions #1 - #197 still remain in effect as written concerning the then applicable portions of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Opinion Date Issued
#1. Police Legal Advisor June 6, 1979
#2. Litigation Against Former Client October 17, 1979
#3. Conflicts Between Related Lawyers October 17, 1979
#4. Zoning Board Opinion October 17, 1979
#5. Juropsychotherapist Opinion October 17, 1979
#6. Disqualification of Prosecutor’s Opinion October 17, 1979
#7. District Attorney Conflict of Interest April 2, 1980
#8. Divorce Conflict of Interest Opinion April 2, 1980
#9. Limiting Liability April 2, 1980
#10. Contingent Fee in a Divorce Property Settlement April 2, 1980
#11. Contingent Fee in Arrearage Cases April 2, 1980
#12. Mortgage Loan Transactions April 2, 1980
#13. Firm Name Including Public Official October 15, 1980
#14. "Law Associates" October 15, 1980
#15. Advertised Fee for Uncontested Divorce October 15, 1980
#16. Letter Soliciting Personal Injury Case October 15, 1980
#17. Negotiation of Attorney's Fees in Class Actions January 15, 1981
#18. Charges for Services in Providing Title Insurance and Title Search January 15, 1981
#19. Disqualification of Deputy Attorney General Entering Private Practice January 15, 1981
#20. Disclosure of Client's Whereabouts January 15, 1981
#21. Representation of Passenger and Driver in Personal Injury Case January 15, 1981
#22. Obligation of Lobbyist to Former Clients January 15, 1981
#23. Lawyer Witnessing Violation of Clients' Rights August 25, 1981
#24. Charging Attorneys Fees Beyond Amount Allowed by Commission August 25, 1981
#25. Disqualification of Former Prosecutor in Subsequent Personal Injury Case Against Respondent August 25, 1981
#26. Limitation of Liability in Title Opinion April 2, 1981
#27. Client Reneging on Agreement to Pay Creditor Through Attorney September 9, 1981
#28. Duties of Attorney-Legislator and Partner Lobbyist February 4, 1982
#29. County Commissioner-Lawyer vs. District Attorney February 4, 1982
#30. Depositing Client's Funds in Out-of-State Bank February 4, 1982
#31. Profit-Sharing Plan for Law Firm Employees September 22, 1982
#32. Suing Former Client September 22, 1982
#33. Disqualification of Public Advocate's Counsel September 22, 1982
#34. Listing Office Manager on Letterhead January 17, 1983
#35. Providing Opposing Counsel with Copy of Draft Order January 17, 1983
#36. Litigation of Criminal Cases by Law Firm of Assistant District Attorney's Husband January 17, 1983
#37. Representing Both Customers and Retailer Against Manufacturer January 17, 1983
#38. County Commissioner Taking Cases Against Towns in the Same County June 2, 1983
#39. Associates of Part-time Assistant D.A.Representing Criminal Defendants June 2, 1983
#40. Regarding Charges for Title Insurance Amended June 2, 1983
#41. Referring Cases to Attorney with Whom Office Space Is Shared August 23, 1983
#42. Prosecution of Criminal Cases by Spouse of Member of Firm Defending the Accused (Revision of Opinion #36) August 23, 1983
#43. Purchase Price of Real Estate Deposited in Trust Account of Seller's Attorney November 22, 1983
#44. Representation of Injured Claimant and Subrogated Insurance Company of Same Attorney November 22, 1983
#45. Accepting Claims Against City by a Municipal Officer (or his Firm) November 22, 1983
#46. Advertising for Personal Injury Cases May 10, 1984
#47. Representing Both Personal Representative and Beneficiaries of the Estate May 10, 1984
#48. Enforceability of Medical-Legal Cooperation Code May 10, 1984
#49. Part-time District Attorney Representing Private Client Where County Commission Acts as Decision-Maker May 10, 1984
#50. Representing Partner in Case in Which He Will Be Called as a Witness May 10, 1984
#51. Refusal to Provide Deposition to Ex-Client Without Reimbursement of Cost December 5, 1984
#52. City Attorney as Partner of Planning Board Member and Board of Appeals Member December 5, 1984
#53. Individual Attorneys as "Associates" But Not Partners March 14, 1985
#54. Attorney for Corporation Who Also Serves as Director or Trustee March 14, 1985
#55. Disclosure of Confidences of One Client in Defending Grievance Filed by Another April 22, 1985
#56. Attorney's Use of Own Affidavit in Support of Motion June 4, 1985
#57. Fee Bonus Contingent on Successfully Obtaining Commercial Permits July 1, 1985
#58. Entering Plea of Insanity If Client Objects September 4, 1985
#59. Volunteer Lawyers Project September 4, 1985
#60. Attorney's Acceptance of Possession of Physical Evidence of a Crime September 4, 1985
#61. Establishment of Attorney-Client Relationship September 4, 1985
#62. Attorney Remitting Percentage of Collection Fee to Collection Agency November 5, 1985
#63. Attorney Assigned by Insurance Company as Lawyer for the Insured November 5, 1985
#64. Assertion of Contingent Fee Interest in Real Estate Which Is the Subject of the Lawsuit January 7, 1986
#65. Defense of Criminal Cases by Attorney Whose Spouse Is Related to District Attorney December 4, 1985
#66. Settlement of Malpractice Claim Which Also Involves Withdrawal of Grievance January 7, 1986
#67. Advisory Opinions Regarding Past Conduct by Other Attorneys January 7, 1986
#68. Obtaining Release of Claims of Present and Future Professional Misconduct March 14, 1986
#69. Agreement of Public Interest Litigation Organization to Receive Percentage of Court-Awarded Attorney's Fees on Referred Cases March 14, 1986
#70. Representation of Criminal Respondent by Spouse of Assistant District Attorney May 7, 1986
#71. Law Firm Offering Divorce Mediation Services May 7, 1986
#72. Refusal of Insured to Cooperate in Defense of Wife's Claim August 6, 1986
#73. Partner of City Councilor Litigating with the City August 6, 1986
#74. Disposal of Client Files October 1, 1986
#75. Contingent Fees in Certain Divorce Cases December 3, 1986
#76. Refusal of Court Appointments in Criminal Cases December 15, 1986
#77. Inclusion of Deceased Partner on Office Letterhead March 4, 1987
#78. Withdrawal of Mortgagee's Attorney Who Will Be Called as Witness Regarding Fees Charged in Foreclosure Action April 1, 1987
#79. Propriety of Business Venture in Which Lawyers and Accountants Are Principals May 6, 1987
#80. Representation by Probate Judge's Law Firm on a Matter upon Which He Has Acted in a Judicial Capacity August 5, 1987
#81. Contingent Fee in Case in Which Fee Award Is Permitted by Statute November 4, 1987
#82. Communication with Opposing Party's Physician November 4, 1987
#83. Domestic Litigation Against Former Client March 10, 1988
#84. Disclosure of Client's Incapacity to Protect Own Interests March 2, 1988
#85. Distribution of Newsletter to Non-clients April 7, 1988
#86. Firm Name Including "Of Counsel" August 31, 1988
#87. Structuring a Privately Operated Lawyer Referral Service August 31, 1988
#88. Disclosure of Unsolicited Communication Between Client and Member of an Administrative Tribunal August 31, 1988
#89. Drafting Complaint Signed by Pro Se Client August 31, 1988
#90. Written Communication with Amicus Curiae Regarding Matter in Litigation August 31, 1988
#91. Including Designation of Stockholder as Attorney on Business Corporation's Letterhead November 16, 1988
#92. Representation of Client in Which Lawyer Has Limited Partnership Interest December 22, 1988
#93. Requesting Release of Medical Records from Adverse Party Represented by Counsel February 15, 1989
#94. Communication with an Employee or Official of a Municipality February 24, 1989
#95. Pre-settlement Negotiation of Statutory Attorney's Fees Claims March 13, 1989
#96. Nonappearance of Attorney at Hearing upon Request or Consent Of Client April 15, 1989
#97. Mortgaging Marital Residence to Attorney to Secure Fees in Divorce Case May 3, 1989
#98. Allowing Undisbursed Fees Earned to Remain in Client Trust Account August 16, 1989
#99. Collection of Lawyer Referral Service Administration Fee September 6, 1989
#100. Threatening Grievance Action to Influence Malpractice Settlement Negotiations October 4, 1989
#101. Referral of Real Estate Transactions by One Attorney-Spouse to the Other January 17, 1990
#102. Application of Vicarious Disqualification Rule to Students in Legal Clinic February 2, 1990
#103. Splitting Fees Without Regard to Responsibility Assumed February 7, 1990
#104. Suit by Lawyer Member of Board of Overseers Against Attorney Who Is the Subject of a Grievance February 7, 1990
#105. Disclosure to Buyer of Attorney's Authorship of Broker's Purchase and Sale Agreement Form May 17, 1990
#106. Law Firm Acting as "Escrow Agent" to Assist Both Parties in Purchase and Sale of Business May 25, 1990
#107. Obligation of Attorney/Corporate Director to Maintain Client Confidences June 27, 1990
#108. Limitations on Witness-Lawyer September 20, 1990
#109. Duties of Lawyer/Mayor and Partners or Associates During Representation Before Public Bodies October 4, 1990
#110. Representation of "Potentially Responsible Parties" in Superfund Litigation October 12, 1990
#111. Disqualification of Former State Administrative Agency Board Member Entering Private Practice November 1, 1990
#112. Law Firm Advertising as Title Company November 1, 1990
#113. Limitations on Attorney-Witness and Contingent Fee Agreements December 5, 1990
#114. Communication Between Staff of the Office of Advocacy and Clients and Employees of the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation February 26, 1991
#115. Accepting Gifts From Court-Appointed Clients April 25, 1991
#116. Obligation of Attorney Regarding Client Funds Owed to Third Persons June 6, 1991
#117. Mortgaging Marital Residence to Attorney After Property Division and Divorce Judgment June 7, 1991
#118. Lawyers with Ownership Interest in Corporation Providing Public Relations Services September 13, 1991
#119. Class Action Against Government Agency November 14, 1991
#120. Delivering Client's File December 11, 1991
#121. Specialization February 4, 1992
#122. Notifying Employer of Settlement in Worker’s Compensation Cases March 5, 1992
#123. Participation in Seminar as Public Communication April 23, 1992
#124. Accepting Referrals from a Paralegal Advisor May 6, 1992
#125. Communication with Insurance Carrier's Adjuster June 9, 1992
#126. Non-Compete Agreements as a Condition of Employment September 25, 1992
#127. Disbursements to Client of Funds Assigned December 8, 1992
#128. Lawyer as Director of Non-Profit Corporation Providing Legal Services to Indigents December 30, 1992
#129. Lawyers Raising Funds for Judicial Education Committee On Behalf of Maine Bar Foundation December 31, 1992
#130. Vicarious Disqualification for Members of Special Assistant District Attorney's Law Firm February 3, 1993
#131. Representing Clients in Probate Court Where Partner is Register of Probate March 26, 1993
#132. Deletion from Firm Letterhead of Name of Attorney Who Has Been Suspended from the Practice of Law April 12, 1993
#133. Lawyer Referral Service Fee Remittances and Questions Pertaining Thereto June 18, 1993
#134. Supervisory Liability for Breach of Confidentiality September 21, 1993
#135. Membership in a National Network of Participating Lawyers November 10, 1993
#136. Direct Communication with Adverse Party After Litigation Is Complete December 1, 1993
#137. Preparation of Documents Ancillary to a Settlement Agreement by Mediator December 1, 1993
#138. Payment of Legal Fees by Finance Company March 25, 1994
#139. Charging Client for Defending Attorney Before Board of Overseers of the Bar June 1, 1994
#140. Obligation to Disclose Client's Perjury to Court June 23, 1994
#141. Real Estate Escrow Accounts as Trust Accounts June 30, 1994
#142. Disclosure by Mediator of "Of Counsel" Affiliation August 19, 1994
#143. Disposition of Client Files on Death or Disability of Solo Practitioner July 19, 1994
#144. Taking Security Interest in Client Property Unrelated to Litigation August 22, 1994
#145. Taking Fee for Referral When Conflict Bars Representation September 27, 1994
#146. Obligation to Return Inadvertently Disclosed Privileged Documents December 9, 1994
#147. Agreement with Referral Network Directing Lawyer's Professional Judgment December 14, 1994
#148. Disclosure of Client Financial Information under Indigent Defense Contract With State March 30, 1995
#149. Lawyer and Nonlawyer in Mediation Partnership May 10, 1995
#150. Charging Referral Fee While Representing Same Client in a Divorce May 12, 1995
#151. Fee Arbitration Clause in Lawyer-Client Contract May 12, 1995
#152. Law Firm Granting Bank Security Interest in Accounts Receivable October 6, 1995
#153. Contingent Fee Agreement Providing Client Will Not Be Responsible for Any Disbursements September 9, 1996
#154. Representing Child Where Parents May Have Adverse Interest November 12, 1996
#155. Arguing Different Sides of Same Legal Issue in Unrelated Cases January 15, 1997
#156. Representing One Party in Divorce After Being Contacted by Both Parties February 5, 1997
#157. Contingent Fee in Post-Divorce Proceeding March 5, 1997
#158. Formation of a Partnership With a Non-Lawyer for the Provision of a Governmental Services Including Lobbying April 3, 1997
#159. Conflicts of Interest in Adoption Proceedings November 6, 1997
#160. Permissible Forms of Contingent Fee Agreements November 26, 1997
#161. Raising Funds in Support of National Center for Judicial Education January 21, 1998
#162. Lawyer as Witness in Real Property Case Where Lawyer Previously Certified Title October 14, 1998
#163. Prohibition on Invocation of Criminal Process to Assist in Collecting Bills November 4, 1998
#164. Release of Insured's Client Confidences and Secrets to Auditing Firm Retained by Insurance Company December 2, 1998
#165. Disclosures Required in Real Estate Transaction Where Lawyer Represents Lender and Issues Title Policy December 2, 1998
#166. Affiliation with Entity Selling Inter Vivos Trusts December 2, 1998
#167. Referring Attorneys January 6, 1999
#168. Secretly Taping Telephone Calls March 9, 1999
#169. Responsibility of Attorney Leaving Firm for Contingent Fee Clients September 9, 1999
#170. Attorneys' and Clients' Agreement to Arbitrate Future Malpractice Claims December 23, 1999
#171. Consultations with Attorneys Outside the Firm on Client Matters December 24, 1999
#172. Obligation to Return Inadvertently Disclosed Privileged Documents and Withdrawal of Opinion No. 146 March 7, 2000
#173. Retainer Fees, Credit Cards and IOLTA March 7, 2000
#174. Legal Services Websites October 10, 2000
#175. Lawyer Acting as Solo Practitioner and "of Counsel" to Another Law Firm April 12, 2001
#176. Complaint Justice Conflicts with Client July 10, 2001
#177. Advancing Litigation Costs Through Lines of Credit December 14, 2001
#178. Disbarred or Suspended Lawyer Selling Practice to Another Firm or Lawyer March 8, 2002
#179. Lawyer Providing Title Insurance Law-Related Services July 18, 2002
#180. Lawyer as Salaried Employee of Private Non-Profit Corporation November 14, 2002
#181. Lawyer Contacting Municipal Officials as Agent for Unionized Employees January 14, 2003
#182. Real Estate Transactions Involving Title Insurance Companies Owned in Whole or Part by Attorneys August 6, 2003
#183. Lawyer's Obligations Concerning the Manner Of Retention of Client and Law Office Records January 28, 2004
#184. Lawyer's Referral of Clients to an Investment Advisor in Exchange for Referral Fees March 30, 2004
#185. Lawyer's Retention of Closed Files in CD Format and Business Proposal for Scanning Other Law Firm's Closed Files to CD Format April 1, 2004
#186. Screening of Non-Lawyer Staff to Avoid Conflict July 22, 2004
#187. Guidance Concerning the Contents of the Client File that the Client is Entitled to Receive November 5, 2004
#188. Conflict Analysis For Attorney Member of Municipal Planning Board February 2, 2005
#189: Unauthorized Practice of Law in Maine by Admittees of Foreign Jurisdiction November 15, 2005
#190: Pro Bono Representation Issues: Change of Fee and Use of Confidential Information May 3, 2006
#191: Loan from Litigation Financing Co. to Personal Injury Plaintiff December 21, 2006
#192: Deceased Client: Confidential Information Requested by Personal Representative June 20, 2007
#193: Loans: Non-recourse litigation expense loans to an attorney December 10, 2007
#194: Client Confidences: Confidential firm data held electronically and handled by technicians for third-party vendors June 30, 2008
#195: Client Confidences: Communications with clients by unencrypted e-mail June 30, 2008
#196: Transmission, retrieval and use of metadata embedded in documents October 21, 2008
#197: Nonprofit Board of Directors provides services to domestic violence victims, attorney member's obligation to preserve confidences between organization and a party receiving its services May 20, 2009
#198. Attorneys handling of fees in Social Security Administration case where client was previously represented by a non-attorney advocate. December 4, 2009
#199. Advising clients concerning Maine’s Medical Marijuana Act July 7, 2010
#200. Attorney Serving only as Guardian ad litem: Use of IOLTA Accounts/Working with Non-Lawyer GALs and Parent Coordinators August 11, 2010
#201. Client File Retention Responsibilities Where an Associate Attorney Leaves a Law Firm November 1, 2010
#202. Inclusion in Engagement Letter of Client’s Agreement to Waive a Jury Regarding Disputes between Attorney and Client January 9, 2011
#203. Specialization April 13, 2011
#204. Prohibition of Attorney Entering Into a Hold Harmless or Indemnification Agreement in Favor of an Adverse Party Making Payment to the Attorney’s Client in Settlement of a Personal Injury Claim April 22, 2011
#205. Attorney’s representation of opposing counsel in an unrelated matter. November 3, 2011
#206. Non-Refundable Flat Fee Agreements December 12, 2012
#207. The Ethics of Cloud Computing and Storage January 8, 2013
#208. Practice of Collaborative Law in Family Law Matters March 6, 2014
#209. Disclosure Issues in Deferred Disposition Settings May 20, 2014
#210. Restrictions on the Sale of an Attorney’s Law Practice June 14, 2014