BOARD OF GOVERNORSí POLICIES TO IMPLEMENT NEW DR†1-105
To implement new DR 1-105, the Board of Governors has adopted the following policies:
BOG Policy 9.400 Legal Ethics Questions and Opinions
(A) All legal ethics questions from members or the public as to the propriety of a course or act of professional conduct or the intent or interpretation of a rule or statute regulating the professional conduct of members of the bar shall be submitted or referred to General Counselís Office. Legal ethics questions may be submitted in writing by mail, email or fax, or by telephone.
(B) General Counselís Office shall determine whether the matter appears to present or involve a question of ethics or professional conduct and whether it states facts sufficient to permit the formulation of an opinion based on the facts stated. General Counselís Office may request the submission of necessary additional facts or may advise the inquirer that no question of ethics or professional conduct is presented or involved.
(C) General Counselís Office shall endeavor to assist bar members in analyzing the ethics of the inquirerís prospective conduct and may provide reactions to the questions presented. Ethics questions and responses thereto are not confidential and communications with General Counselís Office are not privileged. No attorney-client relationship is intended or created by such communications with the bar. Members submitting ethics questions shall specify a deadline by which they need a response from the bar. General Counselís Office shall endeavor to meet the memberís deadline, but in no event shall General Counselís Office have less than three business days following the receipt of a memberís question to provide a written response to the member.
(D) In order for DR 1-105 to apply to a request for ethics assistance, a member must put his or her ethics question in writing. 'In writing' includes letters, faxes or e-mails. General Counselís Office will respond in writing, by fax or e-mail or regular mail, as time allows. All written ethics assistance requests and General Counselís Office responses shall be retained by the bar for a period of not less than five years and shall constitute public records. General Counselís Office shall have the discretion to decline to provide a written response if it determines that the question should be considered by the Legal Ethics Committee due to the difficulty, complexity or novelty of the questions raised or the difficulty or complexity of an appropriate response. Members shall provide General Counselís Office and the Legal Ethics Committee with accurate and as complete as possible explanations of the facts underlying their ethics questions. General Counselís Office may request that the inquirer submit additional or clarifying information and the timeframe for response as set forth in subsection (C) shall not begin until the requested information is received by General Counselís Office.
(E) Responses and opinions provided by General Counselís Office, the Legal Ethics Committee and the Board of Governors shall be limited to and deemed to address only the facts as submitted by the inquirer.
(F) A bar member may request that a question be submitted to the Legal Ethics Committee. Such requests, and questions submitted directly to the committee, shall be assigned by the chair of the committee to one or more committee members for preparation of a response. Inquiries submitted to the committee shall be anonymous, insofar as possible. In order to preserve anonymity, if the facts are inadequate to permit the formulation of an opinion or a direct answer, General Counselís Office shall request the submission of necessary additional facts. On receipt of such additional facts, General Counselís Office shall promptly submit them to the assigned member of the committee.
(G) The committee may, in its discretion, write opinions on subjects the committee believes would be helpful to the membership, whether or not the committee receives a specific inquiry on the subject. Such opinions shall be handled in the same fashion as opinions based on specific questions.
(H) The committee shall review and discuss all responses prepared by individual members and shall, by majority vote, determine whether the response shall be referred to the Board of Governors to be issued as a formal opinion or whether it should be issued by the committee as a letter of direct advice to the inquirer. The committee shall establish, and shall periodically review, guidelines for determining the appropriate form of response. Members may use formal opinions and letters of direct advice issued by the committee in the same manner and to the same effect under DR 1-105 as written responses from General Counselís Office.
(I) Upon approval of an opinion by the committee with a recommendation for formal publication, General Counselís Office shall place a copy of the opinion on the boardís next meeting agenda. All dissents, comments of substance or minority opinions shall also be placed on the boardís agenda.
(J) The board shall review the proposed opinion and either approve it for formal publication, refer it back to the committee for further study or revision, or direct that no opinion be issued in the matter. The board may also distribute the opinion to the membership for comment prior to making a final decision.
(K) All opinions which are designated by the board to be issued as formal opinions shall be published in Oregon Formal Ethics Opinions (OSB 1991 & Supp.) and on the barís web site.