Opinions

All opinions of the Committee on Professional Ethics are available online here.  To locate a specific opinion or opinions, enter the opinion number or keyword in the appropriate search box below. Licensed attorneys may also call 877-953-5535 for access to opinions

The Committee on Professional Ethics issues opinions pursuant to Tex. Gov’t. Code §81.091- 81.095.  §81.091(a) states that “[t]he committee shall, either on its own initiative or when requested to do so by a member of the state bar, express its opinion on the propriety of professional conduct other than on a question pending before a court of this state.”   The nine members of the Committee are appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas.

For proposed opinions open for comment, visit the State Bar of Texas website.

  • Opinion 29

    Canon: 24, 39
    Opinion #: 29
    Cite: 18 Baylor L. Rev. 202 (1966)
    Date: October 1950

    Is the publication of professional cards by attorneys (other than patent, copyright and admiralty attorneys), listing only the attorney's name, address and telephone number, in "professional directory" classified columns of newspapers considered unethical?

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  • Opinion 28

    Canon: 24
    Opinion #: 28
    Cite: 18 Baylor L. Rev. 208 (1966)
    Date: September 1950

    Does the listing of the following form of an advertisement in a dog show catalogue violate any of the Canons of Legal Ethics of the State Bar of Texas, namely: "Texarkana's Mississippi Zeb Son of the Last English Setter to win National Championship Stud fee $25.00 Owner: (name of individual) c/o. . . . . . . Attorney at Law (Name of City) Texas"

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  • Opinion 27

    Canon: 11
    Opinion #: 27
    Cite: 18 Baylor L. Rev. 207 (1966)
    Date: April 1950

    Does the use, by a practicing attorney, of a written "Retainer Agreement" whereby for a stipulated fee, payable in advance, the client employs the attorney for the purpose of consultation and advice, during office hours, on matters which involve, or may involve, legal problems of the client, violate the Canons of Ethics of the State Bar of Texas? Such "Retainer Agreement" specifies certain types of service which are not covered by the agreement, and provides that any of those services will be performed by the attorney only at the request of the client, upon a basis previously agreed upon between said client and attorney. Such "Retainer Agreement" further provides that by the acceptance of the retainer fee the attorney recognizes that the relationship of attorney and client exists during the life of the agreement, and said attorney will not handle any claim or suit against such Client while the agreement is in effect. Such "Retainer Agreement" further provides that its execution shall not prohibit the client from seeking counsel, advice or legal services from any other lawyer.

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  • Opinion 26

    Canon: 20, 36. A.B.A. Canon 39.
    Opinion #: 26
    Cite: 18 Baylor L. Rev. 207 (1966)
    Date: April 1950

    Is it a violation of the Texas Canons of Ethics for the successful attorney in a jury case to write a letter to each of the members of the jury in which he complimented the jury, advised them that the "Insurance carrier" for the defendant would probably call upon them in an effort to prove by them that certain matters, enumerating them, were considered by the jury which would constitute misconduct, assured them that nothing of the sort occurred, and advised the jurors to refuse to talk to such representative if he did call upon them?

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  • Opinion 25

    Canon: 39
    Opinion #: 25
    Cite: 18 Baylor L. Rev. 206 (1966)
    Date: April 1950

    Is the listing by certain attorneys of their names, addresses, and telephone numbers, under the subtitle "D 6 A Attorneys" in that portion of the classified ad section of a newspaper which is headed "Business Service Directory" a violation of the Canons of Ethics?

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  • Opinion 24

    Canon: 24, 39
    Opinion #: 24
    Cite: 18 Baylor L. Rev. 206 (1966)
    Date: April 1950

    Is the listing of the following: "Real Estate mortgage notes bought and sold, business, residential, repair loans (Name)   Attorney (Address)   (Telephone Number)"   Under the heading "Real Estate Loans L-1," in one of the metropolitan newspapers published in this state a violation of the Canons of Ethics?

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  • Opinion 23

    Canon: 6
    Opinion #: 23
    Cite: 18 Baylor L. Rev. 206 (1966)
    Date: December 1949

    One member of a law co-partnership being at the time the qualified and acting county attorney of the county of the firm's domicile, is it ethically permissible for another member of such firm to accept retainer from and defend a person then being prosecuted for felony in another Texas county?

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  • Opinion 22

    Canon: 19. A.B.A. Canon 22.
    Opinion #: 22
    Cite: 18 Baylor L. Rev. 205 (1966)
    Date: November 1949

    "What is proper on the trial, or in advance of the trial, of a case with respect to giving the court an outline or memorandum of your position? In other words, it is obligatory upon you with respect to each communication with the court to acquaint opposing counsel with what has taken place between you and the court? If so, there will be comparatively few times when you can in advance of the trial of the case be of any assistance to the trial judge by acquainting him with the issues and authorities pertinent to the issue. Probably the following is an extreme example and no one would question the propriety of the course taken, but it may serve as illustrative of the problem presented by the question: Several years ago I was defending a divorce suit brought by the husband on the grounds of cruel treatment. The Austin Court of Civil Appeals had held that adultery after separating is a bar to a suit for divorce on the grounds of cruel treatment. I had some reason to believe that the plaintiff would admit having had intercourse with another woman subsequent to the separation from his wife, but I was afraid the court would not appreciate the relevance of the testimony sought to be introduced, and that if I had to take time to argue its relevancy the question might as well never be asked. I gave the court in the absence of counsel for the plaintiff the citation to the case, and noted what the case held. If it is proper to submit a memorandum to the court what should ordinarily then be the court's position?"

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  • Opinion 21

    Canon: 6, 32. A.B.A. Canons 6, 35.
    Opinion #: 21
    Cite: 18 Baylor L. Rev. 205 (1966)
    Date: November 1949

    What should an attorney do when he is asked by an insurance company to handle a friendly suit in order to effectively dispose of a minor's claims for personal injuries, when neither the minor nor his father has consulted an attorney? In other words, can you in such case arrange with an attorney to represent the minor and his next friend, or can you properly do no more than to communicate with the minor and his father and instruct him that he will have to have an attorney, ask him to select an attorney, and acquiesce in his selection, running the risk of the attorney advising against the settlement or charge for his services a substantial part of the amount of the agreed settlement? If one of these agreements for settlement should get out of hand the insurance company will hold you responsible and you lose a client.

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  • Opinion 20

    Canon: 14
    Opinion #: 20
    Cite: 18 Baylor L. Rev. 204 (1966)
    Date: November 1949

    Whether the last paragraph of the following letter by a member of the State Bar of Texas violates one or more of the Canons of Ethics of such Bar, to-wit:   "Mr. Sidney T. Page, Esq. 41 Craford, North Kettering , Northants , England . Dear Mr. Page: Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of the 2nd in connection with the divorce proceeding of your daughter and Mr. Mayo. This letter I am very glad to have the privilege of reading and making reply. I do not have the exact date the divorce judgment was entered of record at Waco, McLennan County, Texas, in the District Clerk's Office, of which Mr. R.V. McClain is Clerk and you may receive a certified copy of the decree for $1.50 American money. However, when Mr. Mayo was granted a divorce, your daughter was also granted a divorce, she may marry at any time as the decree was complete at date of entering. I believe the judgment was entered sometime in January of 1947. The Honorable Right Mayor of your city acted as we Texans say 'Took the bull by the horns' but he could not ride the bull, and should have with all due respects for all parties served the petition and returned same as he did with the petition unserved. It is not for me to say who was right or wrong; I only acted as attorney on the information furnished to me by the plaintiff. Mr. Mayo has married, resides on a farm near this city, and is doing well, and appears to be a very respectful citizen of this community. I see him often at our Baptist church and so far as I know he had just causes for obtaining a decree of divorce and separation from State Bar of Texas your daughter. At this time, it looks that we are going to furnish your little country with a lot more American dollars, and I suppose in time our boys will be returning to fight your battles with American dollars and weapons as in the last two wars; however, we are a free democratic people and believe in helping the weak nations. We go where we please and do just about as we desire. With kindest personal regards, I am . . ."

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