A law firm might hire an outside lawyer to work on a particular case, but that does not automatically mean that he or she will be Of Counsel. Some firms may screen outside lawyers to ensure that they do not have conflicts of interest. This prevents a lawyer from working on a client’s case if they already have conflicts of interest. Often, however, firms choose to hire outside counsel to work on a particular case.
Being Of Counsel is a formal arrangement between a law firm and a lawyer who is neither an associate nor a partner. This arrangement allows the law firm to provide outside counsel, outside of its core competencies, without hiring a full-time lawyer. In practice, a law firm may hire a consultant or retired partner who has a vastly different practice area from the firm’s core areas.
What does it mean to be Of Counsel at the law firm? Listed below are three definitions of the title. First, “of counsel” refers to an attorney with a legal association with another law firm. The designation is also a miscellaneous title, describing an individual who has an association with a law firm. For some law firms, being of counsel is a great way to increase their star power.
A law firm may hire a lawyer with a unique practice who is not looking to build new business. Then again, the lawyer with a unique practice can expect to bill a set number of hours each month. The relationship between the two lawyers should be based on trust and not be an attempt to skirt professional conduct rules. Furthermore, there must be a close, personal relationship between the two lawyers. A lawyer should not create an Of Counsel relationship because he or she shares office space with the other attorney.