PLEASE NOTE: Publication for public comment is not, and shall not be, construed as a recommendation or approval by the Board of Trustees of the materials published.
Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 12-0004 (In Rem Bankruptcy Conflicts)
The State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) is charged with the task of issuing advisory opinions on the ethical propriety of hypothetical attorney conduct. In accordance with Tab 19, Article 2, Section 6(g) (as modified by Tab 12, Title 1, Division 2, Rule 1.10) of the State Bar Board Book, the Committee shall publish proposed formal opinions for public comment.
Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 12 0004 considers: In a limited and properly prescreened engagement, may an attorney represent an individual as a debtor in a no-asset Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, while simultaneously representing one or more of the individual’s creditors in unrelated matters, without violating his or her ethical obligations?
The opinion interprets rules 1-100, 1-650, 3-310 and 3-500 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California; and Business and Professions Code section 6068(m).
The opinion digest states: Representation of an individual in connection with a no-asset Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing while simultaneously representing one or more of the individual’s creditors in unrelated matters does not create a conflict of interest, provided that the engagement is limited and certain intake procedures are employed to ensure that the Chapter 7 proceeding in which the attorney is involved is a simple in rem proceeding that focuses on the discharge of debts.
At its Aug. 23, 2013 meeting and in accordance with its Rules of Procedure, the State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct tentatively approved Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 12 0004 for a 90 day public comment distribution.
ANY KNOWN FISCAL/PERSONNEL IMPACT:
Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 12-0004
State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct
5 p.m., Dec. 11, 2013
DIRECT COMMENTS TO:
Office of Professional Competence, Planning and Development
State Bar of California
180 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639