Advisory Opinion: 1219

Year Issued: 1988

RPC(s): RPC 1.5(e); 1.8(f); 1.8(h); 1.10

Subject: Division of fees; limitation of liability; imputed disqualification; conflict of interest; advertising; contract lawyer


The Committee reviewed your inquiry regarding your establishment of a legal research and writing business for the purpose of research and drafting legal memoranda, briefs, and pleadings for law firms. The Committee understood that in that capacity, lawyers or law firms would be your sole clients.

Based upon those facts, the Committee was of the opinion that RPC 1.5(e) and 1.8(f) would not apply to your situation. Since there is no requirement that any lawyer maintain legal malpractice insurance, the Committee was of the opinion that the Rules of Professional Conduct placed no requirement upon you to disclose that to the lawyers or law firms with whom you contract.

Further, the Committee was of the opinion that where your client is a lawyer, RPC 1.8(h) would not require separate advice to that lawyer that independent representation is appropriate in connection with any agreement prospectively limiting your liability for malpractice.

The Committee agreed with your analysis that under RPC 1.10 you could not work on the identical case for adverse law firms, but the mere fact that you may have worked for a law firm would not preclude you from accepting employment from another firm who may have pending matters with the first law firm.

Regarding your proposed advertisement, the Committee can only say that it cannot be misleading or deceptive.

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Advisory Opinions are provided for the education of the Bar and reflect the opinion of the Committee on Professional Ethics (CPE) or its predecessors. Advisory Opinions are provided pursuant to the authorization granted by the Board of Governors, but are not individually approved by the Board and do not reflect the official position of the Bar association. Laws other than the Washington State Rules of Professional Conduct may apply to the inquiry. The Committee's answer does not include or opine about any other applicable law other than the meaning of the Rules of Professional Conduct.