Lawyers sometimes want to contact a person who is connected with an adverse party or formerly connected with an adverse party in a transaction or litigation. It may surprise you to learn that, while you generally cannot do that, you sometimes can. To avoid problems and complaints you need to understand the rules and the limits and spirit of the rules.
This article, which will be published in two parts, provides practical guidance on applicable rules and ethics opinions considering common situations that attorneys encounter. For the most part, it addresses only New York law; but reference in some instances will be made to differing ABA or state ethical rules and the law of other jurisdictions. Part I of the article explains the general “no contact” rule and the consequences of failure to adhere to it. Part II, to follow in another edition of NYLER, will explain the applicability vel non of the Rule to entities and their current or former employees and the nature of the discussions that may or may not be had.
What Are the Guiding Rules?