CONFLICTS OF INTERESTS - EMPLOYMENT - CITY ATTORNEY IN PRIVATE PRACTICE - A city attorney may occupy an office provided by the city in the city hall one afternoon each week and provide legal services at that time to city employees and other clients referred to him by city employees, provided his public office is not used to advance his private practice and his official duties are fully and efficiently performed.
Attorney X is City Attorney for ------------------, Texas, a suburban community in a large metropolitan area. The City Council of ------------- has provided Attorney X with an office in the city hall, which is put into use by Attorney X one afternoon each week. On the door of his office in the city hall Attorney X has had the following sign painted:
"Attorney X, Office Hours in this office 1 P.M. to 5 P.M. on Wednesdays."
City employees and other persons in the area around the ------------ city hall come to the office on Wednesdays seeking legal advice, wills, deeds, divorces and other legal services. Many clients are referred to Attorney X by the city employees and Attorney X advises persons by telephone when called that he can be found in their vicinity on Wednesday afternoons.
Is Attorney X in violation of the Canons of Ethics in maintaining a branch office and accepting employment by persons who are referred to him by the City employees and the other city officials?
It is the opinion of the Committee that, strictly within the facts stated, Attorney X is not in violation of the Canons of Ethics provided his public office with its official duties is fully and efficiently handled and is not used to advance his private practice. (See Opinion 48 and ABA Opinion 192.) (6-2)