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Performing Background Checks When Hiring a Freelance Lawyer

October 17, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Hiring attorneys should complete background checks of all potential freelance attorneys to make sure that confidential information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Checking references and completing background checks is an easy and inexpensive way for hiring attorneys to play it safe and ensure confidentiality.

The importance of confidentiality within the law cannot be understated. The obligation of confidentiality is borne of Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6, Confidentiality of Information, interpreted in the context of freelance attorneys in ABA Formal Op. 08-451. The opinion states that hiring attorneys should make “reasonable efforts to ensure that the conduct of the lawyers or nonlawyers to whom tasks are outsourced is compatible with her own professional obligations as a lawyer with ‘direct supervisory authority’ over them.”

Adding background checks to the recruitment process is an important step that hiring attorneys can take towards fulfilling this obligation. Moreover, background checks give hiring attorneys the piece of mind that they have screened out potentially problematic attorneys. According to the 2008 opinion, hiring attorneys should at least “consider” performing background checks on potential freelance attorneys.

There are more tips on maintaining confidentiality while taking advantage of freelance attorney services in The Freelance Lawyering Manual: What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About the New Temporary Attorney Market.

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