104 N.J.L.J. 425
November 15, 1979
Conflict of Interest - Representing
Planning Board and Realty Investor
The inquirer states that for several years he has represented
a client whose family has, through personal ownership, partnerships
or corporate entities, extensive land holdings and, in particular
owns one large tract of land in a municipality which has asked the
inquirer to become counsel for the planning board. The inquirer
states that he has disclosed this information to the board. The
land is in agricultural use, and the client has no plans for
development in the foreseeable future, but the purpose of the
equation and retention is eventual development. Two questions are
(1) May the attorney represent the planning board in view of the substantial tract ownership by his client which is being held for future but not immediate development?
(2) If he can accept the position, what is the extent of his duties of disclosure or disqualification? Counsel states that his firm has agreed to represent the planning board pending the decision by this Committee.
As the Supreme Court stated in the matter of In the Matter of A. and B. Attorneys-Law, 44 N.J. 331, 334 (1965):