Missouri Amends Ethics Rules

On September 26, 2017, the Missouri Supreme Court adopted an order that (effective immediately) amended the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct. The changes are:

 Rule 4-1.1 Comment

Maintaining Competence

[6] To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education, and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.

Rule 4-1.1 Comment 7 and 8

Retaining or Contracting With Other Lawyers

[7] Before a lawyer retains or contracts with other lawyers outside the lawyer’s own firm to provide or assist in the provision of legal services to a client, the lawyer should ordinarily obtain consent from the client and must reasonably believe that the other lawyers’ services will contribute to the competent and ethical representation of the client. See also Rules 4-1.2 (Scope of Representation), 4-1.4 (Communication), 4-1.5(e) (Fees), 4-1.6 (Confidentiality of Information), and 4-5.5(a) (Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law).

[8] When lawyers from more than one law firm are providing legal services to the client on a particular matter, the lawyers ordinarily should consult with each other and the client about the scope of their respective representations and the allocation of responsibility among them. See Rule 4-1.2. When making allocations of responsibility in a matter pending before a tribunal, lawyers and parties may have additional obligations that are a matter of law beyond the scope of these Rules.

Rule 4-1.6 (c)

Confidentiality of Information

 c) A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of the client.

There are also changes under Rule 4-1.6 (b)(5) allowing disclosure of client confidences for purposes of evaluating conflicts in relating to a change of employment or law firm merger, and under Rule 4-1.17 relating to the sale of a law practice.