Advisory Opinion: 1417

Year Issued: 1991

RPC(s): RPC 1.5(e)(2); 1.6

Subject: Client confidence or secret; division of fees; paying another lawyer to review draft wills


The Committee reviewed your inquiry concerning the practice of asking other lawyers to review wills prepared by you on behalf of clients without the knowledge or consent of the client, for which you would pay the reviewing lawyer a fee. The Committee was of the opinion that RPC 1.6 requires prior to disclosing any client confidences or secrets, that you have the consent of the clients to do so. In addition, dividing a fee with another lawyer without your client's agreement would violate RPC 1.5(e)(2).

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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.