Anonymous User wrote:NayBoer wrote:Being in the same building is common. I've worked in a building that had three firms (small firm, solo prac and dual partnership) in it, sharing a receptionist and an address. But what you're describing sounds almost like an independent contractor relationship, in that you receive no salary and pay for your own supplies, but you still have some nebulous ongoing relationship with the principal firm. Except that in the legal world there are rules about representation and responsibility that complicate such arrangements.
I imagine that some sort of Of Counsel independent contractor relationship might be workable, assuming somebody worked out all the details and made sure they complied with relevant rules. Maybe some commission-based compensation (reported on 1099s) for the clients you bring in and work. But honestly, I'm not sure a law firm is going to want to start you out running your own clients. And I highly doubt they'd want to have any formal arrangement with you if you aren't even in the firm. That could put them on the hook for your mistakes. And I'm not sure how often an Of Counsel ever has zero experience. My understanding is that it's rare, and Of Counsel usually has either some experience or lots of experience.
You could definitely find some sort of situation where a small building with office space rents you an office or something, and then maybe you strike up a relationship with the lawyers of your neighbor firm(s). But any ongoing formal training or oversight just isn't in their interest and I'm skeptical that it would happen. If you find an example, please post it. I'd be interested to read about how they get around this stuff.
Not having gone to law school or working for a law firm ( I am going to UGA), I would not be able to provide specific examples of how this can be done. I just know I have seen many homes that are commercially zoned being used as offices that contain signage for each entity. I believe this can be done since both entities are posted and there is clear proof that one is not working for the other.
I don't think would be considered illegal or unethical to speak with or ask questions to the other attorneys in the office. Being able to do this in person should not be considered any different than doing it by phone, no? I just think this would be a great way to cut down expenses, start a network of other solo's, and mitigate the malpractice risk. I think if this can be done, then this would be a favorable arrangement (if legal). Of course, if this can't be done legally, then I would not even think about doing it.
Yes, this is done all the time, and there are entire groups in most cities and bar associations set up to foster this kind of networking.
The things you can't do are have shared access to files, ghost write for other lawyers, split fees without client consent, hold yourself out as partnership when you're not and several other things you will learn about in your professional responsibility class and for the MPRE. But asking for advice is not unethical and its pretty much how you get business done at a frim or on your own. Of course you need to keep confidentiality, and lots of time this advice is sought by use of the hypothetical question to another lawyer. Also our bar association has an ethics messagebaoord as well as e-mail and a phone number you can call with ethical questions. LPlus you have bar groups for every type of pratcie area where you can sek advice.
Likewise getting advice and networking and referrals are key to any type of law practice, solo or otherwise. Knowing people is a huge part of being a lawyer. Who you know or have access to is part of the reason why clients pick you over someone else.