Informal Opinion Number: 20010080

Rules: 4-5.5
Law Firms and Associations
Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law
Summary: non-Missouri lawyer and Of Counsel relationship with Missouri firm

QUESTION: Attorney is a Missouri attorney. For several years, Attorney has maintained a formally disclosed “of counsel” relationship with another attorney, who is licensed in other states, but not in Missouri. Attorney maintains the “of counsel” relationship to indicate that they are both available to consult each other and to provide advice as needed on each others’ cases. Is this appropriate under Missouri’s ethical rules?
ANSWER: It is permissible for Attorney to be associated, as “of counsel” or otherwise, with an attorney who is not licensed in Missouri. However, it is not permissible for that attorney to come into Missouri and engage in any conduct that constitutes the practice of law, unless the attorney appears under Missouri Supreme Court Rule 9.03.

Informal Opinions are ethics advisory opinions issued by the Office of Legal Ethics Counsel to members of the Bar about Rule 4 (Rules of Professional Conduct), Rule 5 (Complaints and Proceedings Thereon), and Rule 6 (Fees to Practice Law) pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 5.30(c). Written summaries of select Informal Opinions are published for informational purposes as determined by the Advisory Committee of the Supreme Court of Missouri pursuant to Rule 5.30(c). Informal opinion summaries are advisory in nature and are not binding. These opinions are published as an educational service and do not constitute legal advice.

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