I provide legal research & writing services to Ohio attorneys in full accordance with the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct.

The issues of (1) practice and (2) billing in Ohio are addressed below.



Simply put, I am able to provide legal research & writing services to Ohio attorneys because you, the hiring attorney, will continue to actively represent your client.

The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct, in relevant part, read as follows:

(c) A lawyer who is admitted in another United States jurisdiction, is in good standing in the jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted, and regularly practices law may provide legal services on a temporary basis in this jurisdiction if one or more of the following apply:


(1) the services are undertaken in association with a lawyer who is admitted to practice in this jurisdiction and who actively participates in the matter [.]

Ohio Rules of Prof. Conduct, Rule 5.5(c)(1).

Comment [8] to Rule 5.5(c)(1) further clarifies that

Paragraph (c)(1) recognizes that the interests of clients and the public are protected if a lawyer admitted only in another jurisdiction associates with a lawyer licensed to practice in this jurisdiction. For this paragraph to apply, however, the lawyer admitted to practice in this jurisdiction must actively participate in and share responsibility for the representation of the client.

Ohio Rules of Prof. Conduct, Rule 5.5, Cmt. 8.

  • By definition, as the hiring attorney, you will be "actively participat[ing] in and shar[ing] responsibility for the representation of the client" before the Ohio courts, thereby safeguarding the interests of the client, the public, and the courts of your state. I will only be performing the background "grunt work" of reading, researching and cite-checking relevant case law to ensure that your clients have the strongest legal arguments on their side.
  • Similarly, pro hac vice admission is not required because I will not be conducting any activities in another jurisdiction without the direct supervision of an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.
  • Further, it appears to be an open question as to whether the provision of legal research & writing services actually constitutes the practice of law in Ohio. According to an informal, unbinding opinion issued by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline of the Supreme Court of Ohio, "Providing legal research and writing services exclusively for lawyers and law firms is not considered engaging in the practice of law." Op. 88-018.* 



Ohio's Rules of Professional Conduct do allow a local attorney to divide fees with an out-of-state attorney.  However, I usually recommend the simpler approach for attorneys who bill their clients by the hour: 

     (1) bill the client directly for my hourly rate, then

     (2) charge the client your normal rate for the time you spend reviewing or otherwise supervising my work. 

Thus, (1) you recoup all of your costs for using my services, (2) you save time, and (3) the client saves money.

Additionally, you should obtain your client's informed, written consent to both (1) the working arrangement and (2) the fee for legal services being billed to the client.  This is easily accomplished by using a straightforward disclosure form like the one that can be found here.


Back to Ethics FAQ


*The Ohio Code of Professional Responsibility was superseded by the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct effective February 1, 2007.  Prior to that date, the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline of the Supreme Court of Ohio had issued a number of advisory opinions concerning the Ohio Code of Professional Responsibility. These opinions continue to "provide[] guidance as to the board's advice under the superseded rules," and are available online at


George Schuhmann, Attorney-at-Law -- 3107 Lowell Avenue, Louisville, KY  40205 -- (502) 439-3766

Disclaimer: Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice or as creating an attorney-client relationship.

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