Informal Opinion Number: 950026

Rules: 5.4;1.7;7.3
Law Firms and Associations
Professional Independence of a Lawyer
Summary: office-sharing with non-attorney, professional independence, confidentiality

QUESTION: Attorney owns an interest in Corporation A. Attorney and Corporation A will share a suite of offices. Corporation A will be operated completely separately and with proper designation. Attorney will only minimally be involved in the day to day operation of the corporation. Attorney B who also owns an interest will be involved in the day to day operation and will also share the office space. ANSWER: This arrangement would not violate Rule 4-5.4. The attorneys would have to make full disclosure any time they would refer a client to the corporation. Additionally, it would constitute prohibited “in person” solicitation for the corporation to make referrals to either attorney. The attorneys must also make certain that all information related to their clients is secure from access by anyone who shares space in the suite of offices who is not part of the attorney´s firm.

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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