Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility Formal Advisory Opinions

The Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility makes available advisory opinions on the ethical considerations of the practice of law. The Standing Committee Rules of Procedure provide guidance for requesting an opinion. Requests for an ethics opinion may be made through the Committee Chair. Published opinions can be found on this page.

OPINION 60 – 1/27/23 – Confidentiality of Information; Duties to Former Clients; Duties to Prospective Clients – May a Nevada attorney require a prospective client to sign a non-disclosure agreement (“NDA”) as a condition for receiving legal advice?

OPINION 59 – 3/11/22 – Advertising Filing Requirements – Does utilization of a “co-working” office space for the practice of an attorney admitted in Nevada but residing outside of Nevada constitute maintaining an office in Nevada for purposes of SCR 42.1? Is a nonresident attorney admitted in Nevada and using a “co-working” office space in Nevada subject to the advertising filing requirements of NRPC 7.2A with regard to the attorney’s business cards, letterhead, and website?

OPINION 58 – 8/27/21 – Conflict of Interest: Current Clients – Does Nevada accept the general principle in Comment 22 to ABA Model Rule 1.7 and allow prospective conflict waivers? If so, what must a prospective conflict waiver contain to be effective and avoid running afoul of the Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct?

OPINION 57 – 11/23/20 – Unauthorized Practice of Law; Registration of Private Lawyers Not Admitted to Nevada in Extra-Judicial Matters – Does the work of an in-house attorney at a multi-jurisdictional corporation incorporated in a jurisdiction other than Nevada with the bulk of its operations outside the State, who is licensed to practice law elsewhere but not in the State of Nevada, and who resides outside Nevada, fall within an exception found in Nevada Rule of Professional Conduct 5.5(b)?

OPINION 56 – 12/10/2019 – Restrictions of Information; Duties to Former Clients – Do employment or stock award agreements that impose a covenant not to compete on in-house counsel violate Nevada Rule of Professional Conduct (“NRPC” or “Rule”) 5.6? And do employment or stock award agreements that include a confidentiality agreement violate Rule 5.6?

OPINION 55 – 12/10/2019 – Confidentiality of Information; Duties to Former Clients – May a criminal defense lawyer whose former client alleges that the lawyer provided constitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel disclose confidential information to the State in the course of any proceeding on the defendant’s claim, for the purpose of establishing whether the lawyer’s representation was competent?

OPINION 54 – 1/11/2018 – Communication With Person Represented by Counsel – Does an attorney violate Rule 4.2, which prohibits contact with a person who is represented by counsel, by making public records requests to a state or local government agency or department when the attorney is actively involved in litigation against that agency or department?

OPINION 53 – 4/18/2017 – Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer; Confidentiality of Information; Conflict of Interest: Current Clients; Conflict of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules; Safekeeping Property – It is unethical for an attorney who represents clients in personal injury cases to be involved in the business of buying and selling medical liens of other attorneys’ personal injury clients.

OPINION 52 – 8/18/14 – Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants; Unauthorized Practice of Law – Regarding application of Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct (NRPCs) to attorneys also acting as lobbyists.

OPINION 51 – 8/18/14 – Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer; Fees; Confidentiality of Information; Conflict of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules; Safekeeping Property; Truthfulness in Statements to Others; Communication with Person Represented by Counsel; Professional Independence of a Lawyer; Misconduct – Regarding ethical and legal issues with fees being paid by a third party on behalf of a client.

OPINION 50– 10/27/11 – Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants; Unauthorized Practice of Law – SCR 49.5 requires the physical presence of a supervising lawyer for a law student’s appearance before court or administrative tribunal that is not part of the William S. Boyd School of Law clinical program and it cannot be circumvented even if the client, supervising lawyer and judge approve.

OPINION 4910/27/11 – An attorney may practice law and operate as a licensed clinical social worker under the same limited liability company, provided that the attorney is not representing the same client in both capacities.

OPINION 4810/27/11 – A plea agreement must exclude all waiver of all claims on potential claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.

OPINION 4710/27/11 – A lawyer may not sit on the board of directors of a company and render estate planning services to a client that is interested in identifying the company as a beneficiary. Further, the lawyer must disclose his association with the company to the client as a potential conflict of interest.

OPINION 4610/27/11 – In general, an attorney’s failure to pay for services rendered is a matter of law for the courts and not an ethical violation. However, if an attorney receives payment from a client for expenses incurred and then fails to pay the third party provider for those services, it may be a violation of RPC 8.4(c).

OPINION 4510/27/11 – A lawyer may own an ancillary business that provides nonlegal services so long as the lawyer’s conduct in operating the ancillary business conforms to the applicable ethical standards and the ancillary business does not constitute a vehicle for improper solicitation for lawyer’s law practice. If a lawyer refers a client to the business, the lawyer must comply with RPC 1.7(b) and 1.8 (a).

OPINION 4410/27/11 – An attorney may not disburse proceeds of a settlement check and/or draft until the funds have cleared the banking provide and are deposited into the attorney’s trust account. Attorney may not use his/her own funds to “cover” a bounced settlement check.

OPINION 4310/27/11 –  Lawyer admitted in another jurisdiction may associate with a Nevada law firm and provide transactional service to Nevada clients, so long as specific conditions are met.

OPINION 42 – 6/24/09An attorney may hold medical payment coverage monies in trust until the end of case and negotiate the medical provider’s fee before paying the medical provider.  (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 41 – 6/24/09 – All information relating to the representation of the client is confidential under RPC 1.6.  (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 40 – 4/24/07An attorney who is admitted to practice in another state may represent claimants before the Social Security Administration in the State of Nevada. (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 39 – 4/24/08  An attorney who personally and substantially participated in a matter can not be screened to avoid imputed disqualification of the new firm. The result would be the same in firm mergers and multi-city firms.  (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 38 – 02/01/07  A lawyer who sits on the board of directors of a company may not render estate planning services to a client who is interested in identifying this same company as a beneficiary. The lawyer must also disclose his relationship with the company to the estate planning client.  (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 37 – 02/01/07  An attorney may take a security interest in a client’s real property to secure payment for the attorney’s fees so long as the attorney complies with S.C.R. 158(1). (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 36 – 01/08/07 An attorney may ethically borrow funds from a third-party lending institution for the purpose of obtaining funds for use in paying litigation costs. The attorney must agree to be responsible for the repayment of the loan, interest, and associated reasonable fees irrespective of the outcome of the litigation. Repayment of the loan may not be contingent on the success of the litigation for which the loan is obtained. (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 35 – 12/11/06  It is unethical pursuant to RPC 1.2(a) for an attorney to include in a fee agreement a provision granting the attorney full and absolute discretion and authority to settle the case upon terms decided by the attorney. (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 34 – originally issued on 12/11/06 but revised on 10/22/08; revised 6/24/09

In-depth analysis of ghost-lawyering, including definitions, remedies, and application in non-litigation settings. Concludes, inter alia, that ghost-lawyering is unethical unless the lawyer’s assistance and identity are disclosed to the court by the signature of the ghost-lawyer under Rule 11 upon every paper filed with the court for which the ghost-lawyer gives substantial assistance to the pro se litigant by drafting or otherwise. (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 33 – 02/09/06 A lawyer may, without client consent, store client files in an electronic format or on a server or other device that is not exclusively in the lawyer’s control provided the lawyer acts competently and reasonably safeguards the information from inadvertent and unauthorized disclosure (similar to storing hard copy files in a third-party owned storage facility). SCR 156. (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 32 – 03/25/05 Formation of the attorney-client relationship: (1) An attorney-client relationship generally cannot be created as the result of the unilateral act of the prospective client, but the analysis changes if the unilateral act is in response to an advertisement or is transmitted by email to an attorney’s website; and (2) unsolicited information from a person having no reasonable expectation that the attorney desires to create an attorney-client relationship does not trigger SCR 156, but reasonable expectation may trigger confidentiality duties. (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 31 – 03/25/05 Under SCR 165, if a third person has an interest in personal injury settlement funds, the lawyer has three ethical obligations with respect to those funds: (1) promptly notify the client and third party upon receipt; (2) promptly deliver to the client and third party funds to which they are entitled; and (3) upon request by the client or third party, promptly render a full accounting regarding the funds. (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 30 – 03/25/05 Addresses potential conflict questions regarding a non-profit legal services lawyer’s dual duties under Nevada Supreme Court Rules and the Nevada statutory reporting requirements in cases of child abuse and neglect, specifically NRS 432.B.220 and SCR 156. (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 29 – 08/07/03 It is ethically proper for an attorney to refer a client having a personal injury claim to a company that will advance the money to the client during the pendency of the claim, with repayment being made from the settlement. Supreme Court Rule 158; Supreme Court Rule 156; Supreme Court Rule 157; Supreme Court Rule 181; Supreme Court Rule 154; Supreme Court Rule 165, Achrem v. Expressway Plaza Limited Partnership, 112 Nev. 727, 917 P.2d 447 (1996); Cal. State Bar Formal Op. No. 2002-159; Ohio S. Ct. Ethics Op. 2002-2; Ariz. State Bar Op. No. 91-22; Md. State Bar Assn. Pof’l Guidance Comm., Guidance Op. No. 91-9; Felicia Galati, Assistant Bar Counsel, Getting Involved in Getting Money for your Civil Litigation Clients: An Ethical Quagmire, Nevada Lawyer, March 2002 at 15; In Re: Discipline of Joe M. Laub, January 9, 2002, Nev. S. Ct. Appeal No. 36322. (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 28 – originally issued 11/19/02, conclusion amended 9/24/07.  After conclusion of a matter, case files are the property of the insured, not the insurance company which defended the claim. Counsel should retain original file. Retainer agreement may have provision to assess charge for copy file to client, otherwise no copy charge may attach. Counsel and client may agree to contract for file destruction in less that seven years set forth by SCR 165, but does not protect counsel from ethics violation. (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 27 – 05/25/05 (Originally issued 9-10-01, revised and reissued 5-25-05, revised and reissued 9-18-20.) Opposing counsel may make ex parte contact with lower level employees of a corporate defendant when the corporation is represented by counsel within limits. Supreme Court Rule 182, now Rule of Professional Conduct 4.2. Official comment to Model Rule 4.2. Palmer vs. Pioneer Inn Associates, Ltd., 59 P.3d 1237 (Nev. 2002).

OPINION 26 – 03/20/01 It is improper for an insurance company to demand information from the law firm it hires to represent the insured, relating to the case, when that information might be used by the insurance company to deny benefits to the names insured. (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 25 – originally issued 3/20/01, conclusion amended 9/24/07. QUESTION What are the ethical and professional responsibilities of an attorney who discovers subsequent to offering advice to a former client that the former client used the attorney’s services to perpetrate a fraudulent act in a State or Federal Court? ANSWER An attorney may at the attorney’s own discretion disclose information relating to the representation of the client. The attorney should first try to persuade the former client to correct the fraud before revealing such fraud. If the former client does not do so, the attorney may reveal the information to the former client’s current attorney. If the former client still does not rectify the fraud, the attorney may disclose to the court such information.(complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 24 – 06/18/97 A lawyer may not accept an ongoing referral fee from an investment advisor/broker where the fee payments are disclosed in advance to the existing client, the lawyer monitors the account, and the investment advisor/broker has exclusive responsibility for managing the account because the conflict of interest in this situation is not waivable. The lawyer cannot continue to act as the client’s lawyer once he assumes the role and responsibilities of a broker. NV Rules of Professional Conduct (SCR) 157.2, 158.6, 167 and 188; Annotated Rules of Professional Conduct, A.B.A., 1992; New Hampshire Bar Ethics Committee Opinion #1994/95-2 ABA Informal Op. 1482 (1982); In re Singer, 109 Nev. 1117, 865 P.2d 315 (1993); Louisiana State Bar Assn., v. Drury, 455 So. 2d 1387 (La 1984) cert denied, 470 U.S. 1004 (1985); Attorneys’ Conflicts of Interest in the Investment Company Industry, 6 U. Mich. J.L Ref. 58. [Conflict of interest] (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 23 – 10/25/95 A criminal defense lawyer may not discourage a victim from testifying or urge her to be uncooperative with the prosecuting attorney, and must avoid providing any legal advice or counsel to the victim. Specifically, addresses domestic battery, but may be applied to all cases, whether criminal or civil. SCR 173, ARA Model Rule 3.4; SCR 203(d); ARA Model Rule 8.4(d); SCR 203; ABA Model Rule 8.4; North Carolina State Bar v. Graves, 274 S,.E.2d 396 (N.C. App. 1981); People v. Kenelly 648 P.2d 1065 (Col. 1982); Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 199.305, 193.330; SCR 157; ABA Model Rule 1.7; and People v. Stewart, 511 N.Y. S2d 715 (1987). [Concealment of evidence; influence of witnesses]  (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 22 – 07/28/95 NAC 616.085 authorizes and appears to require the employer to directly communicate to the employee in writing an offer of employment at light duty. NAC 616.085 does not authorize an employer’s counsel to contact a represented employee, as that constitutes a violation of SCR 182. SCR 182, NAC 616.085(1); Holiday Inn vs. Barnett, 103 Nev. 60, 732 P.2d 1376 (1987); Annotated Model Rules of Professional Conduct (2nd Ed.) A.B.A. 1992, A.B.A. Comm. on Ethics Informal Opinion 1373 (1976), A.B.A. Informal Decision 570 (1962), In re Marrietta, 569 P.2d 921 (1977), Crane v. State Bar of Cal., 635 P.2d 163 (1981), NRCP 5. [Communications with persons represented by counsel] (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 21 – 03/31/95 The restrictions in the RPA compact regarding the applicability of the state law to the regulation of the TRPA, and the rules set forth in the NAC and the ABA comments regarding Model Rule 5.5 (a) clearly support the conclusion that a California attorney may represent Nevada resident in front of the TRPA concerning land use issues involving property located in Nevada. SCR 189; Florez v. City of Glendale, 463 P.2d 67 (Ariz. 1969); Denver Bar Association v. Public Utility Commission, 391 P.2d 467, 471 (Colo. 1964); Nevada A.G.O. No. 87-9 (May 11, 1987); Nevada A.G.O. No. 83014 (October 27, 1983); People v. City of South Lake Tahoe, 466 F.Supp. 527, 537 (E.D. Cal 1978); Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Compact, Articles III(d), X(b); Tahoe Regional Planning Agency v. McKay, 590 F.Supp. 1071, 1074 (D.Nev. 1984); Nevada Administrative Code § 278.800 et seq.; ABA Model Rule 5.5(a). [Territorial limitations] (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 20 – 02/20/95 An attorney who is licensed to practice in States A and B but lives in Nevada, where the attorney is not licensed and does not practice law, may not have as his letterhead “John Doe, Attorney and Counselor at Law, NV Address, Admitted in States A and B” unless that attorney discloses that s/he is not licensed to practice in Nevada on the letterhead. SCR 199, Rule 7.5(b) of ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Pioneer Title v. State Bar, 74 Nev. 186, 189 (1958), N.Y. County Lawyers Assn’n, Comm. On Professional Ethics, Op. 683 (1990), In re Waters, 84 Nev. 712 (1968) [Letterhead / Business Cards] (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 19 – 06/16/94 The legitimate interests of the Nevada courts and Nevada clients which support SCR 42 cannot be served by a nonresident attorney who uses as an office in this state a space located within the confines of another client’s business, which is staffed by persons who are not employed directly by the attorney, but by the client. SCR 42, 156; Supreme Court of New Hampshire v. Piper, 470 U.S. 274, 105 S.Ct. 1272, 84 L.Ed. 2d 205 (1985); Supreme Court of Virginia v. Friedman, 487 U.S. 59, 108 S.Ct. 2260, 101 L.Ed. 2d 56 (1988); Barnard v. Thorstenn, 489 U.S. 546, 109 S.Ct. 1294; 103 L.Ed 2d 559 (1989); Archer v. Ogden, 600 P.2d 1223 (Okla. 1979); Dyche v. Crawford, 327 P.2d 1047 (Kan. 1958); Taylor v. Taylor, 342 P.2d 192 (Kan. 1959); Naimo v. Fleming, 95 Nev. 13, 588 P.2d 1025 (1979). [Nonresident attorney office requirements] (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 18 – 04/29/94 A discharged attorney is entitled to recovery in quantum meruit when the discharge occurs after an initial offer of settlement has been made. SCR 155, 166.4, NRS 18.015, FO #4 and #17, In re Kaufman, 93 Nev. 452, 567 P.2d 957 (1977), ABA Informal Op. 86-1521 (1986), Hayes v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 923 F.2d 418 (6th Cir. 1991), G. Hazard and W. Hodes, The Law of Lawyering; A Handbook on the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, (1985); R. Aronson, Professional Responsibility in a Nutshell (1990). [Fee agreements] (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 17 – 02/25/94 SCR 198 prohibits the advertising of more than three designated areas of practice. SCR 151, 195, 198; Peel v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of Illinois, 4446 U.S. 91 (1990) [Advertising, specialty areas of practice] (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 16 – 10/22/93 Even though a divorce decree has already been entered, a lawyer may not represent one spouse on a contingency fee basis in a subsequent independent action seeking to alter or otherwise attack a property settlement agreement related to the original divorce action. SCR 155, Daniel v. Baker, 106 Nev. 412, 794 P.2d 345 (1990); Gilbert v. Warren, 95 Nev. 296, 594 P.2d 696 (1979); Meyers v. Handlon, 479 N.E.2d 106 (Ind.Ct.App. 1985); Stepp, Groce, Pinales & Cosgrove v. Thompson, 392S.E.2d 315 (NC App. 1984) [Contingency fee agreement re divorce action] (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 15 – 08/20/93 While non-refundable retainer agreements are not FO #4 and #17, In re Kaufman, 93 Nev. 452, 567 P.2d 957 (1977), ABA Informal Op. 86-1521 (1986), Hayes v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 923 F.2d 418 (6th Cir. 1991), G. Hazard and W. Hodes, The Law of Lawyering; A Handbook on the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, (1985); R. Aronson, Professional Responsibility in a Nutshell (1990). [Fee agreements] (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 14 – 10/08/93 A lawyer who is admitted to the state bar association in states where he/she is currently inactive may list the states on his/her letterhead so long as a qualification is included indicating the inactive status. SCR 195, FO13, SCR 196.5, Peck v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of Illinois, 496 U.S. 91 (1990); In re R.M.J., 455 U.S. 196 (1981) [Letterhead/business cards] (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 13 – 05/28/93 A lawyer who has been certified as a Certified Bankruptcy Attorney by the American Board of Certification may list this certification on his/her letterhead and business cards so long as the disclaimer found in SCR 196(4) which states that: “The State Bar of Nevada does not certify any lawyer as a specialist or expert” (fn1) is also included. SCR 195, 196, 196.5, 198 Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977); In re R.M.J., 455 U.S. 191 (1981); Gary E. Peel v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of Illinois, 496 U.S. 91 (1990); Ex parte Howell, 487 S. 2d 848 (Ala. 1986) [Specialty certification, letterhead/business cards] (complete opinion, PDF)

(fn1) NOTICE: THIS DISCLAIMER IS NO LONGER REQUIRED. SCR 196(4) amended effective Jan. 18, 2004, under the Specialization Initiative. See this website “Attorney Specialization” – Office of Bar Counsel

OPINION 12 – 05/10/92  A private attorney or law firm may write to companies engaged in international business and offer legal services in the areas of import/export and customs law if the attorney or firm possesses no information indicating that any recipient of the letter needs specific legal services in a specific matter, the attorney or an attorney in the firm devoted at least 300 hours each year for the preceding two years to the area of practice, the attorney complied with the other requirements of SCR 198, and the communication of the particular area of practice is not false or misleading. SCR 197 **see SCR 197, AMENDED 04/93**, 198 (1987) [Solicitation] (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 11 –  05/10/89 A law firm which otherwise complies with SCR 199 may show the firm’s affiliation with an out-of-state law firm on its letterhead. SCR 199 (1988) (Letterhead/business cards) (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 10 – 06/03/88 A lawyer who takes possession of the proceeds of a crime from his client must surrender them to law enforcement official with jurisdiction, with identification of right owner if known; attorney should not disclose client’s communications surrounding the attorney’s receipt of the funds. SCR 152, 156, In re January, 534 F.2d, 719 (7th Cir. 1976); In re Ryder, 163 F.Supp. 360 (E.D. Va. 1967) aff’d 381 F.2d 713 (4th Cir. 1967); People v. Superior Court, 192 Cal. App. 3d 32, 237 Cal. Rptr. 612, 613 P.2d 46 (1981); Morrell v. State, 575 P.2d 1200 (Alaska 1978); Anderson v. State, 297 So.2d 871 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1974); State v. Olwell, 394 P.2d 681 (Wash. 1964) (Fruits of crime) (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 9 – originally issued on 4/21/88, conclusion amended 9/24/07.  Attorney hired by insurance company re communications from insured as a potential fraud of client in obtaining coverage: insured is client, not carrier; information communicated by client is confidential communication subject of SCR 156, attorney not prohibited under SCR 158 from accepting compensation from carrier so long as there is no interference with independence of professional judgment or with attorney/client relationship; related conflicts of interest question. SCR 152, 154, 156, 157, 158, 166, 167, 172, 181, NRS 49.035, 49.115 (1971) [Conflict of interest, client] (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 8 – 02/18/87 A lawyer personally involved in a dispute with nonlawyers may not communicate directly with the nonlawyers about the dispute after having been asked to communicate only through counsel. SCR 1871(1), 182, 184, 203(1) (1986); ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct, 71:303 (1984); United States v. Jamil, 546 F.Supp. 646, 6542, 654 (E.D.N.Y. 1982); Kleiner v. First National Bank of Atlanta, 102 F..R.D. 754, 769 (N.D. Ga. 1983); United States v. Dennis, 645 F.2d 517, 523 (5th Cir. 1981) [Communications with person represented by counsel] (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 7 – 10/15/87 Proposed direct mail solicitation of specific persons known to presently require legal services would be improper under SCR 197 absent the lawyer having a family or prior professional relationship with the person. SCR 197, **SEE SCR 197 Amended 04/93** Adams v. Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Com’n, 617 F. Supp. 449 (D.C. Ill. 1985) aff’d 801 F.2d 968 (7th Cir. 1986), IL DR 2-103, Spencer v. Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 579 F.Supp. 880 (E.D. pa. 1984) aff’d 760 F.2d 261 (3d Cir. 1985), PA DR 2-103(a), 104(a); Shapero v. Kentucky Bar Ass’n, 726 S.W.2d 299, 301 (Ky. 1987); State v. Moses, 642 P. 2d 1004, 1007 (Kan. 1982); In re Frank, 440 N.E.2d 676, 677 (Ind. 1982) [Solicitation] (complete opinion PDF)

OPINION 6 – 09/24/87 A lawyer should not operate collateral business for placing temporary legal clerical help absent measures to ensure avoiding conflicts of interest, assuring preservation of client confidences, users of service are told owner is active lawyer. SCR 156, 187, 203(1) (1987) [Supervision of nonlaywer assistants, conflict of interest] (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 5 – 06/16/87 An attorney may not, in conjunction with fund-raising efforts of a church which attorney is a member, mail a letter to all church members and sponsors informing them that the attorney will waive one-half of his normal fee for preparation of wills and trusts, if the client will agree to donate the one-half saved to the church. NRS 7.045 (1985), SCR 167, 188, 195, 196, 197 (1986). [Sharing fees with nonlawyers, fee splitting] (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 4 – 06/16/87 Subject proposed combination fixed/contingent fee contract does not violate NV Rules of Prof Conduct so long as fee does not appear at the conclusion of the representation to be unreasonably high. Division of fees with out of state counsel proposed is permissible, provided SRC 155(5) requirements are met. SCR 154, 155, 157, 158, 189 (1986), Thorton, Sperry & Jensen, Ltd. v. Anderson, 352 N.W.2d 467, 468-9 (Minn. Ct. App. 1984); Oregon State Bar Legal Ethics Comm. Op. 154 (June 30, 1967)….[Fee agreement, reasonable fee, fee splitting] (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 3 – 05/22/87 A non-profit legal services corporation may not as part of its retainer agreement contract with its clients to receive all money in trust fund accounts not claimed by the client within 3-year period. BUT it may provide that any amounts less than $1 remaining in trust fund account when a file is closed become property of corporation. SCR 155, 158 (1986). [Fee agreement, reasonable fee] (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 2 – 05/23/86 Attorney may write to person who client says owed client money, demand payment and threaten to sue if person does not pay WHEN attorney reasonably believes the claim and intention to sue is legitimate and subject to other restrictions. DR 7-105(a) (1980)); NRS 73.040 (1985), SCR 150(1), 181(1), 182, 184, 202(2), 203 (1986) [Demand letters, threats of criminal prosecution] (complete opinion, PDF)

OPINION 1 – 04/23/86 A private attorney who has formed a partnership for the practice of law with a deputy DA for a rural Nevada county may not defend any person charged with a violation of any Nevada ordinance or law in any Nevada court. NRS 7.105 (1985), NRS 252.120 (1985), SCR 157, 160, NV A.G. Op 126 (04/25/73) [Conflict of interest, employment] (complete opinion, PDF)

Ethics Opinions Prior to 1986

SUMMARY.    (For full text of opinions 1-8, click here.)

OPINION 8 – 10/21/77 It is improper for a lawyer to use the word “attorney” or “lawyer” in connection with public service announcements. ABA DR 2-101, 102. [Advertising, solicitation]

OPINION 7 – 11/01/77 It is improper for an attorney to use a firm name without stating the names of the attorneys. SCR 202, 202.1 [Letterhead/business cards, advertising]

OPINION 6 – 12/16/76 Circumstances under which a former Gaming Control Board/Commission member may act as attorney for a licensee in a matter before the Board/Commission where licensee charged with regard to a transaction occurring prior to the attorney’s resignation from the Board/Commission. DR 9-101B. [Employment, conflict of interest]

OPINION 5 – 10/5/76 It is professionally improper for the Nevada Indian Legal Services, Inc. to represent an individual Indian against a tribe or tribal organization except with the consent of all parties concerned. Legal Services Corporate Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 2996 et seq.), SCR 167, 169, ABA Canon 6 [Conflict of interest]

OPINION 4 -12/19/75 Re district attorney acting as defense counsel after retirement: gives the appearance of impropriety even if none exists. ABA Canon 9, ABA FO 132, Canon 36, FO 37, 135, ABA EC 9-3, SCR 167, 179. [Employment, impropriety]

OPINION 3 -3/19/75 It is improper for attorney admitted in California who is not admitted in Nevada but who resides in Nevada and is employed by a Nevada law firm to have a business card indicating he is with Nevada firm but only licensed to practice in California unless the card also clearly states the nature of employment. SCR 42 [Letterhead/business cards, nonlawyer status]

OPINION 2 – 3/19/75 Filing defensive pleading by insurance lawyer on behalf of uninsured motorist not improper; intervention by insurance company suggested. Cod of Prof Resp Canon 5, ABA IO 1065, DR-2103 (a), DR2-104(a) (1); NRS 49.074 et seq., State Farm Ins Company v Wharton, 495 P.2d 358. [Conflict of interest]

OPINION 1 – 08/22/74 It is professionally improper for any member of a law firm in which one of the partners is employed as a full time city attorney to represent criminal defendants in city and state criminal proceedings, SCR 170, ABA Ops. 16, 30, 33, 49, 72, 186, ABA Canon 6. [Employment, conflict of interest]