Informal Opinion Number: 20030020

Rules: 4-1.6; 4-1.9
Client-Lawyer Relationship
Confidentiality of Information
Summary: contract lawyer as distinguished from Of Counsel lawyer

QUESTION: Law firm ABC represents Client P against several defendants represented by law firm XYZ. Attorney was employed by XYZ when P’s lawsuit against defendants was filed and after XYZ’s representation of defendants began. Attorney did no work on this case. Attorney no longer works for XYZ. Can ABC hire Attorney on a contract basis for certain projects? Attorney will not work on P’s case.
ANSWER: Attorney can be hired as an independent contractor on a case by case basis. ABC should take steps that Attorney would have access to confidential information to only the cases on which Attorney is hired to work. Attorney should not have any contact with P’s case.

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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