Membership In Legal Services Organization
A lawyer may serve as a director, officer or member of a legal services organization, apart from the law firm in which the lawyer practices, notwithstanding that the organization serves persons having interests adverse to a client of the lawyer. The lawyer shall not knowingly participate in a decision or action of the organization:
- (a) if participating in the decision or action would be incompatible with the lawyer's obligations to a client under Rule 1.7; or
- (b) where the decision or action could have a material adverse effect on the representation of a client of the organization whose interests are adverse to a client of the lawyer.
 Lawyers should be encouraged to support and participate in legal service organizations. A lawyer who is an officer or a member of such an organization does not thereby have a client-lawyer relationship with persons served by the organization. However, there is potential conflict between the interests of such persons and the interests of the lawyer's clients. If the possibility of such conflict disqualified a lawyer from serving on the board of a legal services organization, the profession's involvement in such organizations would be severely curtailed.
 It may be necessary in appropriate cases to reassure a client of the organization that the representation will not be affected by conflicting loyalties of a member of the board. Established, written policies in this respect can enhance the credibility of such assurances.
Virginia Code Comparison
There was no counterpart to this Rule in the Virginia Code.
The Committee adopted this Rule to recognize and address the potential tension between private clients and participation by their lawyers in legal services organizations -- which was not addressed by the Virginia Code.
Updated: October 29, 2009