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Ethics Opinions from the Bar Association of San Francisco

INFORMAL OPINION 1973-17

Plaintiff's attorney in an action against an insurance company may actively solicit amicus briefs on a point of law affecting consumers provided (a) he contacts only attorneys for consumer groups, (b) his client is fully advised and consents, and (c) clear arrangements are made for any additional attorneys' fees.

QUESTION:

An Attorney is representing a client against a major insurance company. The case was set for trial. The defense attorney came up with surprise motions to prevent trial. The trial judge has served notice of intent to rule favorably on the motions and not allow the case to go to trial. The attorney believes the case has important implications for the consumer and wants to solicit consumer groups to have them file opposition memorandums to the motions, similar to amicus curiae briefs. May he do so?

OPINION:

Yes, provided he contacts only attorneys for the consumer groups, the client is fully advised of his plan and consents, and he and the client agree as to any additional fees which might he involved.

All opinions of the Committee are subject to the following disclaimer:
Opinions rendered by the Ethics Committee are an uncompensated service of The Bar Association of San Francisco. Opinions are advisory only, and no liability whatsoever is assumed by the Committee or The Bar Association of San Francisco in rendering such opinions, and the opinions are relied upon at the risk of the user thereof. Opinions of the Committee are not binding in any manner upon the State Bar of California, the Board of Governors, any disciplinary committee, The Bar Association of San Francisco, or the individual members of the Ethics Committee.

In using these opinions you should be aware that subsequent judicial opinions and revised rules of professional conduct may have dealt with the areas covered by these ethics opinions.

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