64 CBJ 324. Duty of Attorney to Report Lawyers' Unprofessional Conduct.


Connecticut Bar Journal

Volume 64.

64 CBJ 324.

Duty of Attorney to Report Lawyers' Unprofessional Conduct

Duty of Attorney to Report Lawyers' Unprofessional ConductBy RAYMOND B. GREENYou have requested an opinion on the following set of facts. You are a lawyer admitted to practice law in Connecticut and employed in the home office of a corporation based in Connecticut but that does business nationally. Among your responsibilities is the management of certain kinds of litigation brought against the company. Management apparently involves review and advice on cases to be tried by outside counsel retained by the company. In one such case assigned to you, and pending before a federal court outside Connecticut, your review of the file disclosed an agreement between outside counsel and an informant pursuant to which the informant was to be paid a substantial sum of money, plus expenses, for information to be provided by him. Part of the money has been paid, most of it has not. Some of the promised information has been provided, some has not. The informant is not an expert and if called as a witness at trial would not be considered an expert witness. Information provided and to be provided by the informant is important to successful conclusion of the litigation in the company's favor. It should be noted that the agreement expressly states that it is not the intent of the informant or the company that the informant will be a witness at trial of the case in question. However, you are of the opinion that the informant may become a witness and he has stated his willingness to be a witness if paid in full. You have reason to believe that one or more inside lawyers employed in the company's law department approved the agreement in advance. The informant in question, you understand, has threatened to go to the federal magistrate assigned to the case and report the entire matter unless promptly paid the full amount agreed to. This threat was made several months ago and has not been carried out.

In your opinion, the agreement is illegal, perhaps criminal, and you have made your opinion known to the company's general counsel and the company's president. An outside attorney from the state where the case is pending, whom you asked to give an opinion on the matter, concurs in your conclusion. The president of the company has requested...

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