Ethics Opinion 299

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Committee on Professional Ethics

Opinion #299 – 06/25/1973 (25-73)

Topic: Lay assistant, credit for work performed
Digest: Proper for attorney to give credit to lay assistant for work performed on brief
Code: EC 3-6

QUESTION

Where an expert law student, law clerk or other lay assistant has assisted in the preparation of a brief to be filed with a court for his lawyer employer, may the lawyer give credit for the assistance to the assistant by a notation in the brief?

OPINION

Where the contribution of the non-lawyer assistant in the preparation of a brief has been of particular significance, it is not uncommon to give some recognition to the assistance either in a footnote or in some other appropriate manner particularly in assigned or pro bono publico causes. There is nothing improper in this practice provided the fact that the assistant is a non-lawyer is made clear.The lawyer, however, must supervise the work and must retain complete professional responsibility for the work product. EC 3-6: ABA 316 (1967): cf. N.Y. State 255 (1972): N.Y. State 261 (1972): N.Y. State 44 (1967).

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