You formerly served as an assistant attorney general. In that
capacity, you served within the ABC bureau. Following the
completion of your services as an assistant attorney general, you
formed a law partnership with XYZ, a former assistant attorney
general, who was assigned previously to the ABC bureau. Both you
and XYZ have been recently retained by the Attorney General as
special assistant attorneys general to complete certain pending ABC cases. Your work involves three ABC cases and you have no official dealings With the government bureau of the Attorney General's Office. You do not expect to perform services as a special assistant attorney general for more than sixty days.
In your private practice, you have been asked to represent a
state employee whose discharge for absenteeism has been affirmed by the Civil Service Commission. You would represent your client in a court appeal of the adverse ruling, and the defendant state agency would be represented by an assistant attorney general within the government bureau.
Does G.L. c. 268A permit you to represent your client in a
discharge appeal while you also serve as a special assistant
Yes, subject to certain limitations described below.
While you continue to serve as a special assistant attorney
general, you are considered a state employee for the purposes of
G.L. c. 268A. Because of your part. time status, you are also a
"special state employee" within the meaning of G.L. c. 268A, s.1(o)
and are subject, therefore, to certain less restrictive provisions.
Section 4 of G.L. c. 268A generally prohibits a state employee
from representing a private client in a court appeal of a state
agency decision, since the appeal is a matter in which a state
agency is a party. As a special state employee, however, you are
subject to s.4 only with respect to a particular matter in which
you have either participated as a state employee or currently have
within your official responsibility as a state employee, or have
had within your official responsibility during the prior one-year
period. Based on our review of your current and prior
assignments as an assistant attorney general, we conclude that your representation in the discharge case is permissible under s.4.
Specifically, the discharge case was not a matter in which you
participated as an assistant attorney general, nor is it a matter
within your official responsibility in the ABC bureau. Because we
understand that the ABC bureau works independently of the
government bureau, matters handled by the government bureau such as the defense of a state agency discharge decision would not be regarded as within your official responsibility in the ABC bureau.
In addition to s.4, you are also subject to the standards of
conduct contained in G.L. c. 268A, s.23. In relevant part, s.23
requires that you refrain from disclosing to your client or
otherwise misusing confidential information to which you have
access as an assistant attorney general, s.23(c), and from using
your position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions of
substantial value for you or your client.