Informal Opinion Number: 2022-02

Adoption Date: 2022

Rules: 6.01, 6.03, 6.05, 6.06
Fees to Practice Law
Annual Enrollment Fee and Statement
Election to Become Inactive
Unauthorized Practice by Stricken or Inactive Lawyers
Return to Active Status
Subject: Enrollment; Inactive Status; Retirement (see also Inactive Status or Of Counsel)
Summary: retirement; inactive status; pro bono

Question: Attorney is considering retiring from the practice of law and is trying to determine if Attorney should change Attorney’s license to inactive status. Attorney would still like to represent family and friends with legal issues, and maybe engage in pro bono work. What license status should Attorney maintain?

Answer: Since Attorney still would like to represent family and friends with legal issues, and maybe engage in pro bono work, Attorney should maintain a full Category 1 license pursuant to Rule 6.01. If Attorney were to seek inactive status pursuant to Rule 6.03, Attorney would not be permitted to represent family and friends, or engage in pro bono work, or Attorney would be engaged in the unauthorized practice of law pursuant to Rule 6.05 unless Attorney first sought to return to active status pursuant to Rule 6.06. If Attorney is over the age of seventy-five years or has been licensed to practice for fifty years or more, Attorney may be exempt from paying either a Category 1 or inactive fee pursuant to Rule 6.01(d). If Attorney only wishes to engage in pro bono work upon retirement, Attorney should review Rule 6.01(o) to determine if Attorney would like to seek a waiver of the annual enrollment fee to solely provide pro bono legal services to an approved legal assistance organization. Attorney should also consider MCLE requirements pursuant to Rule 15.

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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