Informal Opinion Number: 2020-06

Adoption Date: 2020

Rules: 4-1.1; 4-1.3; 4-1.15; 4-1.16; 4-7.1; 4-7.2; 4-7.3; 4-7.4; 4-7.5; 6.01
Client-Lawyer Relationship
Competence
Diligence
Safekeeping Property
Declining or Terminating Representation
Communication Concerning a Lawyer's Services
Annual Enrollment Fee and Statement
Subject: Communication with Clients; Leaving a Law Firm
Summary: duties upon leaving a law firm


QUESTION:
In addition to notifying clients for whom Attorney is providing material representation, what other steps should be taken by Attorney and the firm following Attorney’s departure from the firm?

ANSWER: Firm lawyers should promptly update advertising materials, the firm’s website, the firm’s name if necessary, and other communications to avoid false or misleading information as to the lawyers associated with the firm. See Rules 4-7.1 – 4-7.5. Attorney’s access to the firm’s trust account(s) should be terminated upon departure. See Rule 4-1.15. Attorney should furnish the Supreme Court of Missouri with updated information as required by Rule 6.01(b) and provide updated contact information to The Missouri Bar. Other steps may be appropriate to protect the interests of clients as required by Rule 4-1.16, Declining or Terminating Representation, Rule 4-1.1, Competence, or Rule 4-1.3, Diligence.

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.

To request an Informal Opinion, please visit: https://mo-legal-ethics.org/for lawyers/requesting-an-informal-advisory-opinion/.

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