Ethical Considerations

Ethical issues may be raised when working with outside counsel. The following are examples relevant in California and are not exhaustive.

Fee Splitting – Payment of an outside firm or Attorney for work on a client’s matter is not a division of fees triggering fee splitting requirements pursuant to California Rule of Professional Conduct 2-200, where:

Confidentiality – Any outside contract lawyer must comply with the ethical rules concerning competence, confidentiality, and conflicts of interest. SeeˆState Bar of California Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility And Conduct Formal Opinion No. 2004-165.

Disclosure Relating to Fees or a Significant Development – Consent in writing after full disclosure is required where an additional Attorney proposed is not an Associate and the client’s fee is being divided with the additional Attorney, or if the law office charges the outside lawyers’s fee to the client as a disbursement. Whether utilization of another Attorney constitutes a “significant development” in California requiring disclosure depends on a number of factors and is determined on a case-by-case basis. Those factors are: