May a lawyer communicate with a represented person if that person is seeking a second opinion or replacement counsel?  

Yes, a lawyer may communicate directly with a represented person if that person is seeking a “second opinion” or replacement counsel.  

Louisiana Rule of Professional Conduct rule 4.2 provides:  

Unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized to do so by law or a court order, a lawyer in representing a client shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with: 

(a) a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter; or 

(b) a person the lawyer knows is presently a director, officer, employee, member, shareholder or other constituent of a represented organization and 

(1) who supervises, directs or regularly consults with the organization’s lawyer concerning the matter; 

(2) who has the authority to obligate the organization with respect to the matter; or 

(3) whose act or omission in connection with the matter may be imputed to the organization for purposes of civil or criminal liability. 

La. Rules of Prof’l Conduct, r. 4.2 (emphasis added).  

Rule 4.2 applies to lawyers “in representing a client.” This means that unless you currently represent someone whose interests are adverse to the prospective client, Rule 4.2 does not prohibit a disinterested lawyer from providing a second opinion to someone who is currently represented by counsel. See Legal Ethics Op. 1890 (Va. Jan. 9, 2020) (“Communications with Represented Persons (Compendium Opinion)”). For a readable, simple, succinct, and straightforward analysis of Rule 4.2 and its prohibitions, read our blog post here.

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