1. Does a lawyer violate the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct by seeking advice for the benefit of the lawyer’s client from other lawyers in an online discussion group?
2. Does a lawyer violate the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct by seeking advice for the benefit of the lawyer’s client through informal, direct consultation with another lawyer in a different firm?
Lawyer A is a member of an online discussion group consisting of Texas lawyers. The purpose of the group is to provide a private and active forum in which lawyers may exchange ideas and information about various issues that Texas lawyers encounter in their practices.
Lawyer A has encountered a challenging issue in connection with the representation of Client X. In furtherance of that representation and to benefit Client X, Lawyer A posts a request for comments from members of the online discussion group. Lawyer A’s post describes the issue but does not identify Client X by name. Lawyer B responds to Lawyer A’s post and suggests several possible approaches to the issue.
Alternatively, Lawyer A opts to consult directly with a colleague, Lawyer C. Lawyer A describes the issue to Lawyer C but does not identify Client X by name. The discussion is informal and there is no intent to retain Lawyer C to provide services to Client X.
Neither Lawyer B nor Lawyer C is in the same law firm as Lawyer A. In the following discussion, Lawyer A is referred to as the “inquiring lawyer” and Lawyers B and C are referred to as the “responding lawyers.”
Tex. Comm. On Professional Ethics, Op. 673 (2018)