California  |  Legal Ethics

Legal Question

Asked on: 11/16/12, 11:36 pm

Hi! Thanks for taking the time to take a look at my question! I am a new lawyer in California (fingers crossed as I should receive notification of my admittance to the bar I took back in July, 2012 any day now), and am looking into my options to start my career. I was approached by a company that assists clients with immigration issues. They had expressed interest in forming a contractual agreement in which I would work as an independent contractor and advise their clients regarding all legal issues and represent these clients in court if need be; i would serve no other function within the company as would be defined in the contractual agreement. Myself, and myself alone would receive payment for the legal services I provided the clients and they would pay the company separately for all non-legal services they receive. I would have desk and private office space within the physical office building of the company I would be contracted with and would pay rent for that office space. I would have my own secure email address, fax line, telephone, and secured file storage. I would only use that office space when working with clients through this contracted arrangement and all other clients would met at a separate location, the home office of my actual practice. Though I realize that this is not a fully detailed description of the arrangement and such, I was hoping I might receive some guidance as to whether this violates any noticeable rules within the California Rules of Professional Conduct. I was particularly concerned as to if this might violate issues regarding forming a partnership with a non-lawyer, fee-splitting with a non-lawyer, issues with confidentiality, or conflict of interest issues. Thanks so much for your time. As I am just starting out as a lawyer I am trying to be extra careful as to avoid any issues that might bring me under the scrutiny of the bar association.


Jonathan A. Garza

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