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OBA Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 200

Adopted November 2, 1959

The Central Committee of the Oklahoma Bar Association has submitted to its Legal Ethics Committee the following inquiry:

INQUIRY

Is it proper for a law firm, or a member of a firm, to represent and appear on behalf of clients before the City Council or before Boards and Commissions appointed by the City Council and in Municipal Court when one of the members of the firm is the City Attorney and has the duty of legal adviser to the Council, other Boards and Commissions appointed by the Council, and is in effect the prosecutor for the city before the Municipal Court?

OPINION

The Committee is of the opinion that such representation constitutes a clear violation of Canon 6 of the Canons of Professional Ethics, which prohibits the representation of conflicting interests. It is believed to be quite apparent that the City Attorney could not so represent clients before the Council and before such Boards and Commissions or before the Municipal Court. If acts performed by one member of a firm of attorneys would violate the canons of professional ethics, such acts cannot be performed by his partners without likewise constituting unprofessional conduct. (See Opinion No. 33, Opinions of the Committee on Professional Ethics and Grievances of the American Bar Association).