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Missouri Advisory Opinions

The first edition of this deskbook was published in 1985 and represented a major effort of the Young Lawyers' Section Council and the Legal Education Committee of The Missouri Bar. Harold Barrick and Frank Meyer of the Missouri Bar Administration provided invaluable assistance in that effort. The work of the members of that deskbook committee has been retained in the format of this deskbook as well as in the older opinions which have been included in this deskbook.

In 1993, the Supreme Court of Missouri gave express permission for the Chief Disciplinary Counsel to publish summaries of informal advisory opinions. With the availability of these opinions in addition to the formal opinions issued periodically by the Advisory Committee, The Missouri Bar concluded that it was time to issue a new edition of this deskbook.

The deskbook committee for the second edition consisted of one member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee, four members of circuit bar committees, and one staff counsel from the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel who chaired the committee. The members are: Pat Wheeler, Canton (Supreme Court Advisory Committee), Tom B. Brown, Edina (2nd Circuit Bar Committee), Thomas C. Capps, Liberty (7th Circuit Bar Committee), Hannelore Fischer, Jefferson City (19th Circuit Bar Committee), Jo Beth Prewitt, West Plains (37th Circuit Bar Committee),and Sara Rittman, Jefferson City (Staff Counsel, Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel).

I hope that the publication of this deskbook and periodic supplements will assist Missouri lawyers in determining the appropriate course of conduct when faced with the multitude of ethical problems that arise in every type of practice.

John E. Howe

June, 1995 Chief Disciplinary Counsel  



FORMAL OPINIONS: Formal Opinions are opinions issued by the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee's current authority is found in Missouri Supreme Court Rule 5.28(a). Withdrawal of a Formal Opinion should not necessarily be considered a reversal of the entire opinion. Withdrawal indicates that the Advisory Committee determined that all or part of the opinion is no longer correct and, therefore, the opinion was withdrawn.

INFORMAL OPINIONS: Informal advisory opinions are issued by the Chief Disciplinary Counsel under Rule 5.28(b). The Chief Disciplinary Counsel only issues opinions to attorneys for their own guidance involving an existing set of facts. Informal advisory opinions cannot be issued on hypotheticals or regarding the conduct of an attorney other than the one asking for the opinion.

Although an effort has been made to summarize the important facts of the question, not all details are included in each summary. Therefore, these summaries should be used only for general guidance. Only summaries are available; actual copies of the opinion request and answer are not available.

Informal advisory opinions were not summarized and published between 1983 and 1993. Therefore, no informal advisory opinions from that period are included.

OMITTED OPINIONS: Informal opinions from the previous edition that are questionable, no longer valid, or no longer relevant have been labelled "omitted" unless specific action was taken to withdraw the opinion.

SOLICITATION CHAPTER: The deskbook committee determined that opinions on solicitation should be included in the Advertising chapter. Therefore, no new opinions have been added to the Solicitation chapter. Additionally, the text of opinions that were in the Solicitation chapter and in another chapter has been omitted and a cross reference to the other location has been included.