May a Texas lawyer practice law as an associate or other non-partner firm lawyer—and the only lawyer in the Texas office—of a law firm whose partners are only licensed to practice law outside of Texas?
Smith Jones P.C. is a law firm organized as a professional corporation in California (the “Firm”). The Firm has multiple offices in California but does not yet have an office in Texas. None of the Firm’s lawyers are licensed to practice law in Texas. All of the Firm’s partners, including named partners Smith and Jones, are licensed in California alone.
The Firm intends to open an office in Texas to serve existing clients in California and Texas. The Firm has offered a position to a Texas lawyer to serve as an associate attorney in its soon-to-be-opened Texas office. At least initially, the Texas associate will be the only lawyer in that office and will be responsible for any legal services rendered under Texas law.
Tex. Comm. On Professional Ethics, Op. 686 (2020)