Informal Opinion Number: 2018-03

Adoption Date: 2018

Rules: Rule 4-1.12
Client-Lawyer Relationship
Former Judge, Arbitrator, Mediator or Third-Party Neutral
Subject: Conflict of Interest - Imputed Disqualification; Guardian ad Litem - Lawyer Serving As; Screening
Summary: conflicts related to lawyer who previously served as a Guardian ad Litem (GAL)

Question: May Attorney represent Parent in a motion to modify visitation of a minor child, where Attorney’s current law partner, prior to practicing in partnership with Attorney, was Guardian Ad Litem of the child in two previous matters relating to paternity and custody of the child, and where the child now has a new Guardian Ad Litem?
Answer: Unless Attorney’s law partner obtains informed consent, confirmed in writing from all parties to the proceeding, pursuant to Rule 4-1.12(a), Attorney may not represent Parent unless, in accordance with Rule 4-1.12(c), Attorney’s law partner is timely screened from any participation in the matter and apportioned no part of the fee therefrom, and unless written notice is promptly given to the parties and any appropriate tribunal to enable them to ascertain compliance with the provisions of Rule 4-1.12. See also Rule 4-1.12, Comments [4] and [5].

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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