Informal Opinion Number: 970081

Rules: 5.5;1.7;1.6
Law Firms and Associations
Unauthorized Practice of Law
Summary: inactive lawyer acting as a paralegal

QUESTION: Attorney is on inactive status and proposes to open a temporary paralegal service. Would this violate the rules?

ANSWER: An inactive attorney may function as a temporary paralegal in the same manner as any non-lawyer. Because Attorney may be working for more than one attorney or firm, it will be necessary for Attorney and the attorneys for whom Attorney works to make sure that the rules regarding confidentiality and conflict of interest are followed in addition to making sure that Attorney´s activities do not involve the unauthorized practice of law.

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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