Supplemental Ethical Policies
Cunningham, Vogel & Rost, P.C. has implemented its own supplemental ethical policies for its lawyers – in addition to the general disciplinary rules applicable to all attorneys – to address the special duties involved in representing the public and/or serving as public officials for local governments as its appointed attorney. These policies are fundamental to our core mission in representing local governments and will continue to be supplemented and adapted continue to address changing governmental ethics.
Exclusively Municipal Clients
CVR is believed to be the first full-service law firm in the region that accepts only municipal government clients and related entities serving such public interests to ensure unambiguous loyalty to municipalities free of typical law firm conflicts of interests. The firm affirmatively declines other proposed engagements not meeting this criteria.
Firm policy prohibits paid advertisements or solicitations and all use of the firms’ name and its attorneys are cautiously monitored to avoid any appearance of payment for advertising name or services (i.e. MML ads, yellow pages, Martindale-Hubbell, etc.) other than paid directory listings required for effective client representation (e.g., MML membership, etc.).
Strict Avoidance of "Pay-to-Play"
Donations to political office holders or candidates of any current or prospective municipal client are prohibited; any donation or payment that could have an appearance to be an effort to secure legal services work is strictly prohibited by firm policy. Donations or pro-bono work for purely public or charitable causes is encouraged and not prohibited provided that decisions are carefully reviewed to ensure no appearance of financial motive could be reasonably suggested.
Pro-Bono and Educational Efforts
Educational and speaking efforts are directed to non-profit and public entities only and not-for-profit educational services; honoraria and/or fees for speaking are declined or donated if not part of a professional teaching position. Pro bono efforts should be consistent with firm mission to promote local government interests. The firm’s mission includes annual commitment of substantial resources and subsidies to its local public official education efforts including the co-founding and administration of the Municipal Officials Training Academy, various law school and university teaching programs, authorship of local government CLE materials and articles, and various other seminar programs.
No "Contingent Fees"
Contingent fees are strictly prohibited given the concern that they create an appearance of attorney financial gain that could affect client advice. This policy is consistent with public-sector rules, such as the GFOA Best Practices guidance applicable to local governments, discouraging contingent fees in bond transactions.
Municipal Court Integrity
Firm attorneys are generally prohibited from entry of appearance in any municipal court on behalf of any defendant, or assuming a prosecutor, city attorney or municipal judge position in any geographic, jurisdictional or other context that is believed to create a potential conflict or appearance of conflict, irrespective of whether the ethical rules permit holding of such dual or simultaneous positions.