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Conditions on Outside Practice of Law for Non-Office of General Counsel Attorneys

Attorneys who do not work in the Office of General Counsel cannot engage in outside legal practice which involves  representational services before any Federal department, agency, or court on any matter in which the United States is a party or for which the U.S. has a direct and substantial interest, regardless of whether it is compensated or uncompensated.

Example:  Providing tax advice or preparing a tax return is not considered representational services.  However, if the IRS decides to audit that return, the attorney is prohibited from representing the client in the IRS audit.

The attorney cannot receive compensation as a result of any one else's representation of a client in a matter before a Federal agency or court.  The attorney may be prohibited from establishing an attorney-client relationship in an outside professional practice with a current or recent former employee, if it results in questions regarding the attorney's impartiality.

Example:  The attorney is a partner in a law firm which represents a client before a Government agency.  The Federal employee may not receive any partnership proceeds which arise from the firm representing that particular client.

The attorney agrees to the following stipulations, as outlined on the form NIH 2657, which must be signed and submitted as part of the Outside Activity request package:

  • Client support, including telephone calls, will not be provided during working hours at NIH and that arrangements have been made for coverage of emergencies and other activities with clients while the employee is on duty.
  • The attorney cannot receive a fee for consulting with another attorney if that attorney's client is a current or recent former NIH employee.
  • The attorney cannot represent a client in matters in which the current or former employee participated personally and substantially while a government employee.

NOTE:  The attorney may represent his or her parents, spouse, child, or any person for whom, or any estate for which, he or she is serving as guardian, executor, administrator, trustee or other personal fiduciary if the attorney obtains additional approval by the Government official responsible for his or her appointment.

The attorney should also consult the rules of the state in which he/she is licensed to practice.

For additional information, contact your IC's Ethics Officials (see links below).