United States District Court

Northern District Of Illinois

Local Rules

LR83.56.2. Membership in Legal Services Organization

A lawyer may serve as a director, officer or member of a not-for-profit 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 or law firm. The lawyer shall not participate in a decision or action of the organization if the lawyer knows that:

(1) participation in the decision would be incompatible with the lawyer’s obligations to a client under LR83.51.7; or

(2) 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.

Committee Comment. 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.