skip navigation
search

End-of-life notice: American Legal Ethics Library

As of March 1, 2013, the Legal Information Institute is no longer maintaining the information in the American Legal Ethics Library. It is no longer possible for us to maintain it at a level of completeness and accuracy given its staffing needs. It is very possible that we will revive it at a future time. At this point, it is in need of a complete technological renovation and reworking of the "correspondent firm" model which successfully sustained it for many years.

Many people have contributed time and effort to the project over the years, and we would like to thank them. In particular, Roger Cramton and Peter Martin not only conceived ALEL but gave much of their own labor to it. We are also grateful to Brad Wendel for his editorial contributions, to Brian Toohey and all at Jones Day for their efforts, and to all of our correspondents and contributors. Thank you.

We regret any inconvenience.

Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


Ohio Legal Ethics Narrative

VI. PUBLIC SERVICE

6.3 RULE 6.3 MEMBERSHIP IN LEGAL SERVICES ORGANIZATION

IN ITS NOVEMBER 2004 AND APRIL 2005 REPORTS, THE TASK FORCE ON ADOPTION OF SOME FORM OF THE ABA MODEL RULES RECOMMENDED THAT OHIO NOT ADOPT MR 6.3, BECAUSE "THE SUBSTANCE OF MODEL RULE 6.3 IS ADDRESSED BY OTHER PROVISIONS OF THE OHIO RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT THAT ADDRESS CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, INCLUDING RULE 1.7(a) [CONFLICTS OF INTEREST; CURRENT CLIENTS]."

6.3:100 Comparative Analysis of Ohio Rule

6.3:101 Model Rule Comparison

The correlation table to the ABA Model Rules identifies the following sections of the ABA Model Code as related to MR 6.3: EC 2-33, DR 5-101(A), DR 8-101 is numbered EC 2-32 in Ohio. While OH DR 5-101(A) differs from its Model Code counterpart, those differences are not relevant here. The ABA Model Rules provide the following comparison: "There [is] no counterpart to this Rule in the [OHCPR] Code."

6.3:102 Model Code Comparison

The correlation table to the ABA Model Rules identifies the following sections of the ABA Model Code as related to MR 6.3: EC 2-33, DR 8-101. EC 2-33 is numbered EC 2-32 in Ohio. While OH DR 5-101(A) differs from its Model Code counterpart, those differences are not relevant here.

6.3:200 Conflicts of Interest of Lawyers Participating in a Legal Services Organization

  • Primary OH References: None
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.3
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 91:6401, ALI-LGL § 135, Wolfram § 16.7.4
  • OH Commentary:

There are no disciplinary rules in the OHCPR addressing the issue of conflicts of interest or lawyers participating in legal services organizations. (OH DR 2-103(D)(4) deals with lawyer participation in organizations providing legal services to is members or beneficiaries; as to this rule, see section 7.3:500 of the Narrative.)

Pursuant to MR 6.3, the basic rule is that a lawyer can serve as a director, officer, or member of a legal services organization, even though the organization serves persons having interests adverse to a client of the lawyer.

Such a lawyer, however, cannot knowingly participate in decisions or actions of the organization if such participation would conflict directly with the lawyer's MR 1.7 obligations to a client (MR 6.3(a)) or indirectly if such participation could have a material adverse effect on the representation of "a client of the organization" the interests of which client are adverse to a client of the lawyer. MR 6.3(b).

As explained by Hazard and Hodes, the basic authorization to participate, contained in the first sentence of MR 6.3,

is possible only on the promise that a board member or officer of the organization will not act as a lawyer for the organization's clients or as legal counsel to the organization itself. The Rule thus addresses board membership, committee membership, and other managerial activities—not lawyering as such.

2 Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr & W. William Hodes, The Law of Lawyering § 52.2, at 52-4 (3d ed. Supp. 2004-2). They also note that the language "a client of the organization" in MR 6.3(b) must be read as referring to clients represented by lawyers provided by the organization – its staff lawyers. Id. at § 52.5.