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OBA Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 102

Adopted January 24, 1936

The Board is in receipt of the following inquiry:

"May an attorney, who is employed by the State Banking Department in the capacity of liquidating agent, accept employment from a client which will involve a suit against the State of Oklahoma on relation of the bank commissioner growing out of another and different insolvent bank?"

In response:

The Board is of the opinion that the attorney referred to, within the limitations hereinafter set forth, may accept employment. See Advisory Opinion No. 91, October 1935, State Bar Journal.

Rule Eight of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar provides:

"The obligation to represent the client with undivided fidelity and not divulge his secrets or confidences forbids also the subsequent acceptance of retainers or employment from others in matters adversely affecting any interest of the client with respect to which confidence has been reposed."

Therefore, in answering the inquiry in the affirmative, it is assumed that the attorney has not received information with reference to any of the facts involved in the proposed litigation as a consequence of his employment as liquidating agent.

It must be borne in mind, however, that if the attorney has obtained such information as a consequence of his employment, even though such knowledge could have been acquired had not the attorney been in the employ of the department, the acceptance of the proposed employment would be improper.