Why should a lawyer seek out a position as Of Counsel at a regulation office? The answer depends largely on the type of regulation office that a lawyer will work for. Some are more important than others, however. An “Of Counsel” relationship involves sharing liability and conflicts of interest. As a result, the firm should carefully screen potential candidates and closely monitor the relationship.
The designation “Of Counsel” conveys a close, personal and regular relationship. The problem is that there are a variety of possible meanings for this title. An “Of Counsel” may be misleading or false, but it is often used in a professional context. Whether a person is Of Counsel at a regulatory office is a matter of ethics and financial consideration.
The status “Of Counsel” may be used to protect a lawyer from conflict of interest. In the U.S., if a lawyer is “Of Counsel” at a regulation office, the person may have privileged access to information relating to clients. In addition, an “Of Counsel” lawyer must be mindful of ethical rules, including those regarding the unauthorized practice of law.