Inside Track: Formal Ethics Opinion EF-18-02: In-house Counsel; Assisting an Employer/Client in the Unauthorized Practice of Law:

State Bar of Wisconsin

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  • September
    05
    2018

    Formal Ethics Opinion EF-18-02: In-house Counsel; Assisting an Employer/Client in the Unauthorized Practice of Law

    Lawyers may not assist others in the unauthorized practice of law and may not share legal fees with nonlawyers.
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    August 14, 2018

    Synopsis: Lawyers may not assist others in the unauthorized practice of law and may not share legal fees with nonlawyers. These prohibitions apply to all lawyers, including lawyers who are employed as in-house counsel for entities that are not law firms. Entities that are not law firms are prohibited from practicing law, and a lawyer employed by a non-law firm entity who provides legal services to the customers of the entity as part of the services sold to such customers assists the entity in the unauthorized practice of law. When the customers pay the entity for the legal services provided by the lawyer, the lawyer impermissibly shares legal fees with a nonlawyer. In addition to the prohibitions on assisting another in the unauthorized practice of law and sharing fees with nonlawyers, an in-house lawyer who seeks to provide legal services to the customers of the employer faces potential conflicts of interest and difficulties in observing the duty of confidentiality.

    Click here to read the full opinion. Find this opinion and more at www.wisbar.org/ethop.




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