12:00 PM

Ethics: Office of Legal Ethics Counsel launches updated website with new search options for Informal Opinions and additional resources

Vol. 79, No. 5 / Sept. - Oct. 2023

In an effort to better serve the lawyers in Missouri, the Office of Legal Ethics Counsel and Advisory Committee of the Supreme Court of Missouri have launched an updated website at Mo-Legal-Ethics.org, including a new searchable database of published Informal Opinions.

The new Informal Opinions searchable database replaces the former database long-hosted by The Missouri Bar. Informal Opinions are ethics advisory opinions issued by the Office of Legal Ethics Counsel to members of the Bar about Rule 4 (Rules of Professional Conduct)Rule 5 (Complaints and Proceedings Thereon), and Rule 6 (Fees to Practice Law) pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 5.30(c). Written summaries of select Informal Opinions are published for informational purposes as determined by the Advisory Committee of the Supreme Court of Missouri pursuant to Rule 5.30(c). Informal opinion summaries are advisory in nature and are not binding. There are now five ways to search or browse Informal Opinions:

  1. By Informal Opinion Number – if you know the number of the opinion you are trying to locate, or want to see if an opinion has been cited in another opinion  
  2. By Rule of Professional Conduct – if you want to see all of the Informal Opinions published on a specific Rule of Professional Conduct  
  3. By Subject – if you want to look for an opinion on a topic, but are not sure of the Rule of Professional Conduct or Keywords (note: this index currently only goes back a few years, but will be developed to include older opinions over time)  
  4. By Year – see when opinions were published by year --- great if you remember reading about an opinion in recent years about X…  
  5. By Keyword – search by keywords

Ethics - Opinion Search

Mo-Legal-Ethics.org has a number of other resources for lawyers, including links to Formal Opinions and applicable Rules, articles, and a list of approved financial institutions to hold client trust accounts. Resource pages are compiled by the Legal Ethics Counsel to assist lawyers with frequent ethics questions, and include links to relevant Rules of Professional Conduct, Formal Opinions, Informal Opinions, disciplinary cases, articles, and FAQs on that topic. Resource pages are currently available on Confidentiality – Exceptions and Preservation, Electronic Communication and Practice, File Retention, Leaving a Law Firm, Litigation Loans, Of Counsel, Office Sharing, Reporting Misconduct of Another Lawyer or Judge, and Trust Account Resources and Resources for Accepting Payments by Credit Card. New resource pages are added and updated periodically.

Ethics - Resource Pages

As always, lawyers are encouraged to contact the Office of Legal Ethics Counsel to request an informal advisory opinion about their prospective conduct under the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct.