June 1958

CONFIDENCES OF A CLIENT - Isolated representations of a party by an attorney without obtaining confidential information does not disqualify attorney from later suing such party.

Canons 6, 34.


A, an attorney, practicing in a community of approximately 5,000 for some 20 years, was employed by B, a banking institution and regular client of A, to file suit against C for the collection of a past due promissory note.

C formerly resided in such community, but has lived elsewhere for the past 2 or 3 years. A is well acquainted with C, his family and his entire background by virtue of living in the same community all of his life.

A had been various times, employed by C and C’s family, principally in matters of little consequence. C and his family had also used other attorneys during all of this period of time. At the time suit was filed, C was, and had been, for several years, another attorney other than A. A had at no time been employed by C on a retainer basis.

Specific instances of A's employment by C are as follows:

1. In 1950, A examined the title to certain property purchased by C.

2. In 1951, A handled the probate of the will of C’s father.

3. In 1955, A, representing both Buyer and Seller, handled the sale of certain properties belonging to C.

Does A violate any of the Canons of Ethics by filing and handling the suit for B, the banking institution, against C?


It is the opinion of the Committee that under the facts stated in the question, A does not violate Canons 6 and 34 or any other Canons of Ethics by filing and handling the suit for B, the banking institution, against C. The fact that A represented C on isolated occasions in the past would not in itself disqualify A from bringing the suit against C. There is nothing in the facts as stated in the question which indicates that A while representing C in any matter obtained information of a confidential nature about C’s business or affairs which would be helpful to him in representing B in the suit against C. (8-0.)