The Professional Ethics Committee for the State Bar of Texas is accepting public comments on another proposed ethics opinion.

Proposed Opinion 20-3, which is open for comment through April 10, concerns the following:

  • When a lawyer retained under a contingent fee agreement withdraws from the representation due to a nonconsentable conflict of interest discovered shortly after he filed plaintiff’s lawsuit, is it a violation of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct for the withdrawing lawyer to refer his client to a lawyer in another law firm and arrange for a division of fees between the withdrawing lawyer and the lawyer to whom the matter is referred?
  • Is it a violation of the rules for the withdrawing lawyer to reach an agreement with his former client that provides for the withdrawing lawyer to be reimbursed for costs and compensated for attorneys’ fees incurred before the lawyer realized he had a nonconsentable conflict?

The comment period for two other proposed ethics opinions remains open through March 27:

  • Proposed Opinion 20-1 deals with (1) whether a staff lawyer employed by an insurance company to defend its insureds must comply with the company’s guidelines regarding the defense of such cases, and (2) what a lawyer’s obligations are if an insurance company cuts a staff lawyer’s support staff.
  • Proposed Opinion 20-2 concerns whether a lawyer representing a defendant in a criminal matter violates the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct if, after receiving physical evidence from the client, the lawyer does not reveal the existence of the evidence until trial and refuses to allow the prosecuting attorney to inspect the evidence until the court orders the lawyer to do so.

Go to to read the proposed opinions and provide comments.