Local Counsel Retainer Agreement
If you simply agree to be a «local lawyer» in a case, can you be sure that your limited business also limits the scope of your duties, right? False – as evidenced by a recent disciplinary case and a recent ethical opinion. These assumptions may be «usual,» but they are almost certainly removed on all bases of your state`s version of the standard rules of professional conduct — which make no distinction between «local attorney» and «lead counsel» when it comes to duties arising from the lawyer-client relationship. It`s significant that the notice doesn`t cover all potential issues affecting the responsibilities and liabilities of local lawyers, according to the heads of the ABA`s litigation section. «This notice helps minimize the risk to local lawyers, but there is always a risk,» says Brian F. Since you may never be in contact with the company itself, you can even refer to National Counsel as a «customer» in your billing system. Lawyers who act as local lawyers may limit their scope of representation through an agreement, but not the extent of their ethical duties, according to the New York City Bar Association`s Ethics Committee. Recognizing the risks associated with unde defined local lawyer agreements, the 2015-4 Formal Expert Report explicitly allows for limited representation by local lawyers who normally serve as lawyers, but who do not have primary responsibility for handling cases and communicating clients. The notice also clarifies the role and ethical obligations of local lawyers and serves as an important reminder of the potential pitfalls of these relationships. Consent is not in writing, although the committee recommends that the local lawyer enter into an independent written retention agreement with the client.
A written agreement between Local Counsel and Lead Counsel may also satisfy this requirement if the counselor can obtain the necessary consent from the client.. . .