Co-counsel and referral relationships are common in law practice. Lawyers associate with other lawyers on cases to gain specialized knowledge required for competent representation in a case. Litigation counsel may seek local counsel on a case in another jurisdiction. Lawyers also refer out business for a variety of reasons, including overflow work or the work is outside of a lawyer’s core competencies. These and many other co-counsel and referral relationships, however, raise substantial ethical and malpractice issues. This program will provide you with a framework for understanding the ethical issues surrounding co-counsel and referral relationships.
• Duty to supervise counsel to whom you have referred work.
• Associating with other lawyers or firms to gain competence in specific areas.
• Fee splitting in co-counsel or referral relationships.
• Liability to co-counsel for breaches of fiduciary duty or malpractice.
• Liability for errors of co-counsel.
• Duty to inform of malpractice by co-counsel.
Opinions and positions stated by presenters of MoBarCLE programs are those of the presenters and not necessarily those of The Missouri Bar. This program is intended as information for lawyers in Missouri, in conjunction with other research they deem necessary, in the exercise of their independent judgment.
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