Informal Opinion Number: 960249

Rules: 1.6;1.4;8.3
Client-Lawyer Relationship
Confidentiality of Information
Summary: malpractice

QUESTION: Attorney took over a case which was started by another firm. Attorney has now concluded that the previous firm committed malpractice. Does Attorney have a duty to make a disciplinary report? Does Attorney have an obligation to confront the other firm? Should Attorney advise the client that Attorney believes the other firm committed malpractice? ANSWER: Attorney does not have an obligation to report a simple malpractice case to this office. However, either Attorney or Attorney´s client may do so to enable us to determine whether the situation appears to involve a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, in addition to, or instead of, malpractice. Attorney may not advise the other firm of Attorney´s conclusions without the consent of Attorney´s client. Attorney does have an obligation, under Rule 4-1.4, to inform Attorney´s client of the information suggesting possible malpractice.

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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