The ABA and California rules are clear: it is permissible to maintain several “of counsel” positions at the same time. As explained below, the number of firms with which a lawyer can have an “of counsel” relationship may, from a practical point of view, be limited due to conflict of interest rules. Illinois` ethical rules, which govern the relationship between consultants, are consistent with the above concerns and conclusions, including the allocation of costs. Starting in March 2017, the California Supreme Court will review proposed Rule 1.5.1, which will replace Rule 2-200 if approved. Rule 1.5.1 requires that lawyers who divide lawyers` fees have a written agreement between them. Rule 1.5.1 also requires that the client`s written disclosure contain (1) the act of the division, (2) the identity of the lawyers or law firms that share the fees (3) conditions of the division. The client must also agree in writing, at the time of the agreement, to share the fees, or as soon as possible after the contract. American Bar Association Formal Opinion 90-357 defines the term “of counsel” as a “close, personal, continuous and regular” relationship between the law firm and a lawyer “of counsel”, and states that it is a relationship that is not that of a partner or partner of a firm. The ABA is aware that the relationship cannot involve “only occasional joint efforts between lawyers or otherwise unrelated law firms.” The California Supreme Court took up the ABA`s definition and added that “the nature of the relationship between a law firm and an attorney in the firm is the proximity of counsel they share in clients` affairs. Persons ex rel. Department of Corrections v.
Speedee Oil Change Systems, Inc., 20 Cal.4th 1135 (1999). In accordance with the opinion of the ABA and successive informal opinions, a lawyer who has advised a law firm should have regular daily contact with the firm; a law firm cannot advise another law firm; and a lawyer should advise no more than two firms. These restrictions have proved to be unenforceable when applied to current practice. As a result, the ABA revised the definition of “of counsel” in 1990 in formal op. . . .