Informal Opinion Number: 970029

Rules: 8.3(a)
Maintaining the Integrity of the Profession
Reporting Professional Misconduct

QUESTION: Attorney is involved in a case in which opposing counsel has admitted to keeping notarized signatures of clients on file and subsequently attaching them to discovery documents or documents to be filed in court. The facts are disputed whether the signer actually reviewed the documents by fax or mail prior to the notarized signature being attached. Has opposing counsel violated the rules? ANSWER: Advisory opinions are not issued on the conduct of an attorney other than the one requesting the opinion. However, based on the information Attorney has provided, Attorney has a duty to report the information, including the name of the attorney, the case, etc., to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. The duty to report is found in Rule 4-8.3(a). Because Attorney has a duty under the Rules to provide this information, Attorney may submit it in the form of a “report” or a “complaint.” If Attorney submits a complaint, Attorney will be considered the complainant in the same manner as anyone else who files a complaint. If Attorney submits a “report,” Attorney will not be considered or identified as the complainant. Attorney also will not be notified of the disposition of the matter.

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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