Informal Opinion Number: 2020-20

Adoption Date: 2020

Rules: 4-1.7; 4-1.9; 4-1.10
Client-Lawyer Relationship
Conflict of Interest: Current Clients
Duties to Former Clients
Imputed Disqualification: General Rule
Subject: Conflict of Interest - Imputed Disqualification; Of Counsel
Summary: impution of conflicts of interest between firm and Of Counsel lawyers

QUESTION: Attorney is associated with a firm in an Of Counsel relationship. Is the firm permitted to undertake representation of a client if Attorney is prohibited from doing so by Rule 4-1.7 or 4-1.9, provided Attorney is screened from any involvement in the matter?

ANSWER: In an Of Counsel relationship, Attorney is associated with the firm for purposes of mutual imputation of conflicts of interest per Rule 4-1.10. Informal Opinion 2019-07. Rule 4-1.10 does not provide for screening to eliminate imputation of a lawyer’s disqualification. Informal Opinion 2017-07.

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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