CONFLICTING INTERESTSDISCLOSUREAn attorney, retained by an
employer having Workmen's Compensation insurance, upon being questioned by the claimant as
to the advisability of prosecuting his claim in the courts, should disclose his position
with respect to the claim. He must represent his client with undivided fidelity and not
divulge the client's secrets or confidences.
CANDOR AND FAIRNESSIf the claimant makes known his dissatisfaction with
the insurance company's representatives, the employer's attorney should advise him as a
matter of courtesy, to seek the advice of counsel. If the claimant inquires the name of an
attorney in another town, the name should be divulged, if known. The attorney may state
whether or not the named attorney is a good Compensation attorney.
Canons 6, 19.
Is an attorney who is retained by an employer having Workmen's Compensation insurance
ethically precluded, upon being questioned by the claimant from advising the claimant to
prosecute his claim in the courts by an appeal from the award of the Industrial Accident
Board where the claimant is dissatisfied with the views and statement of the insurance
May the attorney so retained by the firm identify by name an attorney about whom the
injured party has inquired by asking the retained attorney, "What is the name of that
good compensation lawyer in the City of _______________?"
Canon 6 requires the attorney to disclose all of the circumstances of his relations with
the employer to the claimant. The attorney is obliged to represent his client with
undivided fidelity and not to divulge the client's secrets or confidences. Under Canon 15 he is required to treat adverse witnesses
and suitors with fairness and due consideration. Under Canon 19 the attorney is required
to deal candidly with the facts in taking statements of witnesses, in drawing affidavits
and other documents as well as in the presentation of the case. While the attorney under
the stated circumstances is not required to volunteer advice, yet if the claimant makes
known his dissatisfaction and requests information as to the procedure to follow, it seems
that candor and fairness would require that the attorney at least state that the claimant
has the right to appeal from the award of the Board, and that he is not required to abide
by the statements and attitude of the adjusters for the insurer. The attorney involved in
the question should disclose his position with respect to the claim, and as a matter of
courtesy advise the claimant that if he is dissatisfied, to seek the advice of counsel.
Equally, if the claimant inquires the name of an attorney in another town, it would seem
that ordinary courtesy would require that the name be divulged, if known. This could of
course be properly qualified with the statement that the informant does not know whether
or not the named attorney is a "Good compensation lawyer," or the contrary, if
that be the fact. (7-0)