Advisory Opinions

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Updated through August 13, 2014

ACQUIRING INTEREST IN CAUSE OF ACTION OR SUBJECT OF REPRESENTATION

ADVANCING EXPENSES OF LITIGATION

ADOPTION

ADVERTISING AND SOLICITATION

Announcements

Attorney to attorney

Better business bureau

Billboard

Business cards

Brochures

Chiropractors

Client lists

Client testimonials

Contingent fees

Coupons

Departing attorney

Directories and law lists

Dual practice of law and other profession

E-mail
(See also INTERNET)

Esquire

Facsimile

Firm Name – (See FIRM NAME)

In-person solicitation

Internet – (See INTERNET)

Letterhead – (See LETTERHEAD)

Newsletter

Past Results

Radio

Seminars

Settlement or verdict amounts

Specialization

Statistics

Targeted direct mail

Telephone advertising

Telephone legal advice

Telephone salutation

Television advertising

Trade magazine

Trade name – (See FIRM NAME)

Trade Show

Verdict or settlement amounts

AFFIDAVIT OF DISQUALIFICATION

ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

AMENDED COMPLAINTS

ANCILLARY BUSINESS
(See also DUAL PRACTICE; JUDGES)

ARBITRATION

ATTEMPTS TO LIMIT LIABILITY – (See LIMITING LIABILITY)

ATTORNEY REGISTRATION – (See REGISTRATION)

ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGE – (See ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP; CLIENT FILES; CONFIDENTIALITY; DUTY TO REPORT)

ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP
(See also CONFIDENTIALITY)

AUCTIONS

AVOIDING DISCIPLINE


ACQUIRING INTEREST IN CAUSE OF ACTION OR SUBJECT OF REPRESENTATION

Op. 04-8 acquiring a mortgage on a client’s home to secure a legal fee

ADVANCING EXPENSES OF LITIGATION

Op. 87-1 lawyer advancing expenses of litigation on behalf of client

Op. 94-5 lawyer suing client for expenses of litigation; settlement permitting client to pay an amount less than amount owed

Op. 94-8 lawyer sharing legal fee with nonattorney investigator as payment for investigative work

Op. 94-11 financing company loaning money to client

Op. 95-2 litigation expenses borne by client in fixed flat fee agreement

Op. 95-12 attorney following client’s instructions to pay all settlement funds to client when attorney is aware that client had am agreement with physician to pay medical expenses out of the proceeds of the settlement and attorney promised the physician to do so

Op. 99-6 attorney referring client awarded money judgment in a civil suit to a company that purchases a minority interest in the judgment on appeal

Op. 2001-3 law firm obtaining a loan from a third party financial institution to advance expenses of litigation in a personal injury matter accepted on a contingent fee basis and deducting the interest fees and costs of the loan from a client's settlement or judgment

Op. 2002-2 lawyer providing loan applications and referring clients to lenders recommended to the law firm by a consulting company that receives a referral fee or commission from the lender for loans made to law firm clients and receives an annual consulting fee from the law firm

Op. 2012-3 Non-recourse Civil Litigation Advance Contracts: Guidance for Ohio Lawyers

ADOPTION

Op. 88-9 attorney offering legal services to organizations with discounted fee for adoption of "special children"

Op. 91-19 attorney receiving referrals from non-profit social service agency to assist parent with private adoption

ADVERTISING AND SOLICITATION

Announcements

Op. 87-4 announcing lawyer's availability as consultant to lawyers

Op. 87-34 announcing lawyer's new association

Op. 87-48 listing judge's name on former firm’s letterhead, professional notices, or in firm name

Op. 91-26 contacting businesses to seek legal employment

Op. 93-8 former judge in private practice using statements as to prior judicial positions held; using titles such as "Judge," "Honorable," or "Former Judge" on letterheads, business cards, professional announcement cards, or law directory listings

Op. 2006-4 attorney announcing the opening of a law office to members of the bar, business entities, and others by using a personalized letter and a biography; targeted direct mail solicitation requirements

Op. 2013-3 Use of Judicial Titles by Former Judges

Attorney to attorney

Op. 87-4 lawyer announcing availability to act as a consultant to or associate of other lawyers

Op. 2002-6 Ohio attorney contacting Ohio counsel for appellant or appellee to convey an interest in serving as appellate counsel; Ohio attorney contacting out-of-state counsel for out-of-state counsel to offer assistance as local counsel in matter filed in Ohio; Ohio attorney using direct mail solicitation to inquire whether an out-of-state corporate party is represented by counsel; communication in-person, telephone, mail, e-mail or facsimile

Auctions – (See AUCTIONS)

Better business bureau

Op. 87-27 lawyer becoming member of better business bureau

Billboard

Op. 88-29 lawyer advertising on billboard

Business cards

Op. 89-16 office manager and other non-lawyer employees having business cards

Op. 94-3 attorney not engaged in practice of law; attorney engaged only in the practice of law; attorney engaged in both the practice of law and another profession or business

Op. 2012-2 Identification of Nonlawyers on Law Firm Letterhead, Websites, and Business Cards

Brochures

Op. 98-1 lawyer sending to a group a brochure advertising a group legal services plan

Op. 99-5 lawyer personally distributing law firm brochures at a street corner, at a booth at a fair, at a church festival, or at other similar events; lawyer directing another individual to distribute brochures

Chiropractors

Op. 2004-9 attorney sending letter to chiropractor asking to meet to provide information regarding the attorney’s legal services; mutual referral agreements; self-recommendation

Client lists

Op. 2000-6 law firm's Web site home page including quotations from clients, even with their consent, describing the general nature of the legal services provided, responsiveness of the law firm, and other non-substantive aspects of the firm's representation; listing a client's name with client consent in public communication such as a law firm Web site; law firm's Web site providing a link from attorney's biography to published opinions of cases in which attorney participated

Client testimonials

Op. 89-24 advertisements containing client testimonials

Op. 2000-6 law firm's Web site home page including quotations from clients, even with their consent, describing the general nature of the legal services provided, responsiveness of the law firm, and other non-substantive aspects of the firm's representation; listing a client's name with client consent in public communication such as a law firm Web site; law firm's Web site providing a link from attorney's biography to published opinions of cases in which attorney participated

Contingent fees

Op. 98-9 lawyer advertising contingent fees using statements such as "There’s no charge unless we win your case" or "You pay us only when we win" or "No fee without recovery" or "You pay no fee unless you win"

Coupons

Op. 2005-9 lawyer advertising with coupons for free consultation or dollars off the cost of legal services

Departing attorney

Op. 98-5 departing attorney notifying clients of his or her departure from a law firm, identifying his or her new location of practice, and indicating a willingness to provide legal services at the new location; law firm notifying clients of the departure of a lawyer from the law firm and informing the clients of the law firm’s desire to provide continued representation of the client

Directories and law lists

Op. 88-4 attorney listing in legal directory in domestic relations book published by non-lawyers; listing law firms by specialty in legal directory

Op. 91-1 listing attorneys with inactive registration status in law list or directory

Op. 99-3 attorney listed in online directory of professional association; links from attorney’s name to attorney’s e-mail address or law firm web site; links from online membership directory of one professional association to a related association

Dual practice of law and other profession

Op. 88-23 lawyer and certified public accountant

Op. 89-31 lawyer employed by certified public accountant

Op. 90-9 lawyer and real estate agent

Op. 92-12 lawyer and farmer

Op. 93-1 legal advertisement identifying attorney's degree in another field

Op. 94-3 attorney not engaged in practice of law; attorney engaged only in the practice of law; attorney engaged in both the practice of law and another profession or business

Op. 94-7 lawyer or law firm owning ancillary business that provides law related services

Op. 2000-4 attorney providing financial planning services through the law firm to business and estate planning clients of the law firm and charging fee for financial services

Op. 2001-4 lawyer who is licensed insurance agent selling annuities through law firm to estate planning clients of the lawyer

E-mail
(See also INTERNET)

Op. 2004-1 unsolicited commercial e-mail advertising of legal services by lawyers, lawyer advertising services, or lawyer referral services

Op. 2013-2 Direct Contact with Prospective Clients: Text Messages

Esquire

Op. 91-24 use of "Esquire" by person licensed in another state but employed by Ohio company as a collection manager

Facsimile

Op. 2002-6 Ohio attorney contacting Ohio counsel for appellant or appellee to convey an interest in serving as appellate counsel; Ohio attorney contacting out-of-state counsel for out-of-state counsel to offer assistance as local counsel in matter filed in Ohio; Ohio attorney using direct mail solicitation to inquire whether an out-of-state corporate party is represented by counsel; communication in-person, telephone, mail, e-mail or facsimile

Firm Name(See FIRM NAME)

In-person solicitation

Op. 99-5 lawyer personally distributing law firm brochures at a street corner, at a booth at a fair, at a church festival, or at other similar events; lawyer directing another individual to distribute brochures

Op. 2002-6 Ohio attorney contacting Ohio counsel for appellant or appellee to convey an interest in serving as appellate counsel; Ohio attorney contacting out-of-state counsel for out-of-state counsel to offer assistance as local counsel in matter filed in Ohio; Ohio attorney using direct mail solicitation to inquire whether an out-of-state corporate party is represented by counsel; communication in-person, telephone, mail, e-mail or facsimile

Op. 2005-7 attorney volunteering in a bar association sponsored program providing public education and pro bono legal services regarding advance directive forms; individual lawyers or law firms, acting on their own and not through a proper auspice such as a bar association, to provide public education and pro bono legal services regarding advance directive forms

Internet – (See INTERNET)

Letterhead – (See LETTERHEAD)

Newsletter

Op. 88-1 to established clients

Op. 88-22 to non-clients

Op. 89-8 members of teachers' association prepaid legal service plan

Op. 92-20 newsletters to clients, friends, local businesses, professional and gov’t offices

Past Results

Op. 2002-7 advertising that lists settlement or verdict amounts obtained in past cases

Op. 2003-2 providing statistics to attorneys, business clients, and potential clients regarding the number of intellectual property matters won, lost, and settle by the law firm

Radio

Op. 94-13 participation in radio talk shows to educate public, acceptance of employment

Seminars

Op. 87-7 advertising and conducting

Op. 94-13 advertising, sponsoring, co-sponsoring, and acceptance of legal business from legal seminars; educational radio talk shows

Settlement or verdict amounts

Op. 2002-7 advertising that lists settlement or verdict amounts obtained in past cases

Op. 2003-2 providing statistics to attorneys, business clients, and potential clients regarding the number of intellectual property matters won, lost, and settle by the law firm

Specialization

Op. 87-39 certification on letterhead

Op. 88-4 fields of practice or term "specialize" in legal directory or law list

Op. 88-28 advertisement of handling specific types of cases

Op. 92-12 non-legal background of lawyer in advertisement

Op. 93-1 non-legal background of lawyer in advertisement

Op. 93-5 advertising fields of practice in telephone directory

Op. 98-4 recommendation letters by judges or attorney hearing officers for applicants seeking certification as specialists

Op. 2005-6 attorney participating in television station's advertising and public service program entitled “Ask the Expert”

Statistics

Op. 2002-7 advertising that lists settlement or verdict amounts obtained in past cases

Op. 2003-2 providing statistics to attorneys, business clients, and potential clients regarding the number of intellectual property matters won, lost, and settle by the law firm

Targeted direct mail

Op. 87-7 advertising legal seminar to targeted groups

Op. 88-3 indigent clients, legal aid society

Op. 90-21 potential clients known to need legal services

Op. 91-4 potential clients from foreclosures or suits

Op. 91-26 contacting business to seek legal employment

Op. 92-2 contacting potential or actual class members during pendency of class action suit

Op. 92-20 newsletters to targeted/non-targeted groups

Op. 94-13 advertising, sponsoring, co-sponsoring, and acceptance of legal business from legal seminars; educational radio talk shows

Op. 2002-6 Ohio attorney contacting Ohio counsel for appellant or appellee to convey an interest in serving as appellate counsel; Ohio attorney contacting out-of-state counsel for out-of-state counsel to offer assistance as local counsel in matter filed in Ohio; Ohio attorney using direct mail solicitation to inquire whether an out-of-state corporate party is represented by counsel; communication in-person, telephone, mail, e-mail or facsimile

Op. 2004-1 unsolicited commercial e-mail advertising of legal services by lawyers, lawyer advertising services, or lawyer referral services

Op. 2006-4 attorney announcing the opening of a law office to members of the bar, business entities, and others by using a personalized letter and a biography; targeted direct mail solicitation requirements

Op. 2007-5 lawyer's or law firm's advertising of legal services to a prospective business client through a personalized letter addressed to a contact person at the business

Op. 2013-2 Direct Contact with Prospective Clients: Text Messages

Telephone advertising

Op. 87-4 follow up call to lawyers after written announcement card regarding availability to serve as consultant

Op. 88-27 talking yellow pages

Op. 89-6 fields of practice in yellow pages

Op. 90-2 telemarketing

Op. 91-26 follow up call to businesses

Op. 93-5 fields of practice, display ads in yellow pages

Op. 2002-6 Ohio attorney contacting Ohio counsel for appellant or appellee to convey an interest in serving as appellate counsel; Ohio attorney contacting out-of-state counsel for out-of-state counsel to offer assistance as local counsel in matter filed in Ohio; Ohio attorney using direct mail solicitation to inquire whether an out-of-state corporate party is represented by counsel; communication in-person, telephone, mail, e-mail or facsimile

Op. 2004-12 attorney advertising in telephone directories

Op. 2005-6 attorney participating in television station's advertising and public service program entitled “Ask the Expert”

Op. 2013-2 Direct Contact with Prospective Clients: Text Messages

Telephone legal advice

Op. 92-10 legal advice over the telephone for fee

Op. 93-1 900 service to provide legal and nonlegal advice

Telephone salutation

Op. 95-1 attorneys sharing office space

Television advertising

Op. 89-30 group advertising through televised injury helpline

Op. 91-7 lawyer referral service providing joint advertising, screening and referral

Op. 92-3 group advertising of legal service/electronic switching of calls to 800 number based on market areas designated by zip code

Op. 92-10 television advertising of telephone legal advice

Trade magazine

Op. 92-12 lawyer/farmer legal ad in farmer's trade magazine

Trade name – (See FIRM NAME)

Trade Show

Op. 99-5 lawyer personally distributing law firm brochures at a street corner, at a booth at a fair, at a church festival, or at other similar events; lawyer directing another individual to distribute brochures

Verdict or settlement amounts

Op. 2002-7 advertising that lists settlement or verdict amounts obtained in past cases

AFFIDAVIT OF DISQUALIFICATION

Op. 98-2 attorney stating in an affidavit of disqualification of a judge that the attorney has filed a disciplinary grievance against the judge when the grievance has not been certified as a formal complaint

ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Op. 90-19 certified grievance committees sharing substance abuse information about lawyer being investigated by a lawyers' assistance committee

AMENDED COMPLAINTS

Op. 90-18 relator amending complaint prior to hearing

ANCILLARY BUSINESS
(See also DUAL PRACTICE; JUDGES)

Op. 88-18 legal research and writing service

Op. 90-23 business that provides lawyers or law firms with temporary lawyers

Op. 94-7 attorney or law firm owning ancillary business that provides law-related services

Op. 97-5 attorneys forming ancillary business to serve small and medium sized businesses by conducting negotiations of legal fees between each business and its retained counsel

Op. 2000-4 attorneys providing financial planning services through the law firm to business and estate planning clients of the law firm and charging fee for financial services

Op. 2001-4 lawyer who is licensed insurance agent selling annuities through law firm to estate planning clients of the lawyer.

Op. 2003-1 law firm's representation of buyers and sellers of business entities; laws firm's assistance in locating buyers or sellers through the law firm or through ancillary business; law firm's referrals to business broker; law firm's referrals to lenders; law firm's fee based on percentage of transaction price; law firm sharing fee with business broker

ARBITRATION

Op. 89-22 judge serving as trustee of a claimant’s fund and acting as an arbitrator

Op. 90-15 lawyer as arbitrator in labor management disputes; lawyer subject to Code of Professional Responsibility

Op. 96-9 engagement letter between a lawyer and an individual client requiring client to agree to arbitrate fee disputes, legal malpractice disputes, or professional ethical misconduct disputes

Op. 2013-3 Use of Judicial Titles by Former Judges

ATTEMPTS TO LIMIT LIABILITY – (See LIMITING LIABILITY)

ATTORNEY REGISTRATION – (See REGISTRATION)

ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGE – (See ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP; CLIENT FILES; CONFIDENTIALITY; DUTY TO REPORT)

ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP
(See also CONFIDENTIALITY)

Op. 88-30 client's authority to make decisions regarding representation

Op. 90-10 client of the Child Support Enforcement Agency attorney; choice as a requirement for existence of attorney client relationship

Op. 97-3 attorney’s surreptitious recording of conversations with clients, opposing parties, opposing counsel, and others

Op. 99-8 attorney’s duty to notify court of a clerical error in a defendant’s sentence in a judgment entry drafted by a prosecutor’s office; duty to notify court of a possible misinterpretation of a sentence by the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.

Op. 2012-1 Surreptitious (Secret) Recording by Lawyers

Op. 2012-3 Non-recourse Civil Litigation Advance Contracts: Guidance for Ohio Lawyers

Op. 2013-4 Cross-Examination of a Former Criminal Client in an Unrelated Matter

AUCTIONS

Op. 2002-5 lawyer donating legal services to be auctioned or used as a prize drawing at a fund raiser for a charitable organization.

AVOIDING DISCIPLINE

Op. 2010-3 as part of settlement of malpractice claim, lawyer requiring a current or former client to withdraw a disciplinary grievance or to refrain from filing a grievance

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