Ethics Committee Formal Opinion #1993-94/8

Attorney Providing Court Coverage

June 23, 1994


An attorney that provides temporary court “coverage” for another attorney’s client must comply with all of the many applicable rules relating to representation of that client, and cannot do so without, at a minimum, the primary attorney first obtaining the client’s consent to 1) the representation by and 2) the amount of and sharing of fees with, the coverage attorney.

While such “coverage” representation is permissible, and may be needed in certain emergency situations, the committee cautions that the inherent risks of violation of the many applicable rules may render impractical a “coverage” attorney from making a regular practice of offering such “coverage” services to many other attorneys.


  1. May a lawyer hire outside counsel pro tempore for the purpose of substituting for the lawyer at a court hearing?
  2. If so, may a lawyer offer such pro tempore or “coverage counsel” services to lawyers on a regular basis?

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