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End-of-life notice: American Legal Ethics Library

As of March 1, 2013, the Legal Information Institute is no longer maintaining the information in the American Legal Ethics Library. It is no longer possible for us to maintain it at a level of completeness and accuracy given its staffing needs. It is very possible that we will revive it at a future time. At this point, it is in need of a complete technological renovation and reworking of the "correspondent firm" model which successfully sustained it for many years.

Many people have contributed time and effort to the project over the years, and we would like to thank them. In particular, Roger Cramton and Peter Martin not only conceived ALEL but gave much of their own labor to it. We are also grateful to Brad Wendel for his editorial contributions, to Brian Toohey and all at Jones Day for their efforts, and to all of our correspondents and contributors. Thank you.

We regret any inconvenience.

Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.

Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct

Comment - Rule 4.02

1. Paragraph (a) of this Rule is directed at efforts to circumvent the lawyer-client relationship existing between other persons, organizations or entities of government and their respective counsel. It prohibits communications that in form are between a lawyer's client and another person, organization or entity of government represented by counsel where, because of the lawyer's involvement in devising and controlling their content, such communication in substance are between the lawyer and the represented person, organization or entity of government.

2. Paragraph (a) does not, however, prohibit communication between a lawyer's client and persons, organizations, or entities of government represented by counsel, as long as the lawyer does not cause or encourage the communication without the consent of the lawyer for the other party. Consent may be implied as well as express, as, for example, where the communication occurs in the form of a private placement memorandum or similar document that obviously is intended for multiple recipients and that normally is furnished directly to persons, even if known to be represented by counsel. Similarly, that paragraph does not impose a duty on a lawyer to affirmatively discourage communication between the lawyer's client and other represented persons, organizations or entities of government. Furthermore, it does not prohibit client communications concerning matters outside the subject of the representation with any such person, organization, or entity of government. Finally, it does not prohibit a lawyer from furnishing a "second opinion" in a matter to one requesting such opinion, nor from discussing employment in the matter if requested to do so. But see Rule 7.02.

3. Paragraph (b) of this Rule provides that unless authorized by law, experts employed or retained by a lawyer for a particular matter should not be contacted by opposing counsel regarding that matter without the consent of the lawyer who retained them. However, certain governmental agents or employees such as police may be contacted due to their obligations to the public at large.

4. In the case of an organization or entity of government, this Rule prohibits communications by a lawyer for one party concerning the subject of the representation with persons having a managerial responsibility on behalf of the organization that relates to the subject of the representation and with those persons presently employed by such organization or entity whose act or omission may make the organization or entity vicariously liable for the matter at issue, without the consent of the lawyer for the organization or entity of government involved. This Rule is based on the presumption that such persons are so closely identified with the interests of the organization or entity of government that its lawyers will represent them as well. If, however, such an agent or employee is represented in the matter by his or her own counsel that presumption is inapplicable. In such cases, the consent by that counsel to communicate will be sufficient for purposes of this Rule. Compare Rule 3.04(f). Moreover, this Rule does not prohibit a lawyer from contacting a former employee of a represented organization or entity of a government, nor from contacting a person presently employed by such an organization or entity whose conduct is not a matter at issue but who might possess knowledge concerning the matter at issue.