Virginia Bar Association, Legal Ethics Opinion 1850

 Ethics Committee 

Topic: Outsourcing of Legal Services

Conclusion of the Committee:

“A lawyer may ethically outsource legal support services to a nonlawyer who is not associated with the firm or working under the direct supervision of a lawyer in the firm if the lawyer (1) rigorously supervises the nonlawyer so as to avoid aiding the nonlawyer in the unauthorized practice of law and ensuring that the nonlawyer’s work meets the lawyer’s requirements of competency, (2) preserves the client’s confidences, (3) bills for the services appropriately, and (4) obtains the client’s informed advance consent to outsourcing the work.”

Relevant Law: Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.2(a), 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.9, 5.3(b), 5.5

Referenced Ethics Opinions:

LEO 1712 (July, 1998) involves the use of temporary lawyers and addresses conflicts issues, client confidences, billing, communication and client consent, and maintaining the lawyer’s independent professional judgment on behalf of the client

LEO 1735 (October 20, 1999) addresses the firm’s use of an independent contractor instead of an employee or partner of the law firm to provide legal services to clients, and it reiterates the confidentiality protections, needed conflicts analysis, and necessary client disclosure and consent.

The full text is available at: https://www.vacle…