81-F-13 - Representation of clients before Boards

 

BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE

FORMAL ETHICS OPINION 81-F-13

 

This firm engages in the general practice of law. At various times we represent clients before various entities of the City of Blank. For example, we may represent a client before City Council, the Metropolitan Planning Commission, or in securing long-term contracts from the City of Blank. On the other hand, we have been asked by the City of Blank, specifically the legal department, to do trial work on a case by case basis. The trial work given to us generally has to do with the representation of the City and/or police officers as a result of suits filed by citizens of Blank alleging negligence by police officers and/or civil rights violations.  

We are not on retainer to the City of Blank, nor are we the "municipal attorney" as referred to in Ethics Opinion No. 81-F-4.

The representation of the City in specific cases involving tort suits against the City does not involve the attorney in giving general legal advice to the City nor in matters of city policy, as is the case with one who is employed as the City Attorney or one of his assistants. Accordingly, there is no likelihood that the special influence of such attorneys, representing clients before City Boards and the City Council, and in negotiating contracts with the City, will be a factor in the decisions of those municipal entities.

Accordingly, such representation would not constitute a violation of the Canons of Ethics.

If the firm were to be offered employment representing one of the specific Boards, or the members thereof, before which the firm practices, then Opinion No. 81-F-4 would apply to prevent such employment.

This 10th day of July, 1981.

ETHICS COMMITTEE:

Randall Burcham
W. H. Lassiter
George E. Morrow

APPROVED AND ADOPTED BY THE BOARD