Occasionally, attorneys may get a call from an out-of-state attorney requesting them to serve as “local counsel” in a new lawsuit in their home town. Lead counsel explains, “Yeah, I just need you to file some papers, let me use your office for depositions once in a while, and tell me what the judge is like. I might even need you to attend a discovery hearing if need be.”
It sounds like a tempting opportunity to bring in new work and maybe get some easy billable time without a substantial increase in workload. But when one accepts the responsibility of being “local counsel,” traps await that may result in professional liabilities in surprising and unexpected ways.