ABA Formal Opinion 07-446 (2007)
A lawyer may provide legal assistance to litigants appearing before tribunals "pro se" and help them prepare written submissions without disclosing or ensuring the disclosure of the nature or extent of such assistance.
Alabama State Bar Ass’n Ethics Op. 2010-01
The Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct allow a lawyer to limit the scope of the representation. Ordinarily, a lawyer is not required to disclose drafting assistance to the court.
Arizona State Bar Ass’n Op. 06-03 (2006)
An attorney who limits the scope of representation and coaches the client or ghost writes papers must direct the client to be truthful and candid in the client’s activities. While an attorney is not required to disclose to opposing counsel that the attorney is providing limited-scope representation, the attorney must maintain client confidentiality if doing so.
Orange County Bar Association Formal Opinion 2014-1 (Ghostwriting by Contract Lawyers and Out-of-State Lawyers)
A lawyer may use another contract lawyer or out-of-state lawyer to ghostwrite court documents without having to disclose that assistance to the court.
Los Angeles Cnty Bar Ass'n Prof. Resp. and Ethics Comm. Ethics Op. 502 (1999)
Attorneys may limit scope of representation of a litigation client to consultation, preparation of pleadings to be filed by client, and participation in negotiations, as long as client consents to the limitation in advance. Attorney must still tell the client about reasonably apparent legal problems even if they fall outside the scope of representation.
Delaware State Bar Ass'n Comm. On Prof. Ethics Op. 1994-2
A legal services organization may properly limit its involvement in matters to advice and document preparation, but must disclose any significant assistance it provides to an otherwise pro se litigant. If it prepares pleadings or other documents, or provides advice or assistance on an ongoing basis, it should disclose the extent of its involvement.
Florida State Bar Ass'n Op. 79-7 (Reconsideration 2000)
Any pleadings or other papers prepared by an attorney and filed with the court on behalf of a pro se litigant must clearly indicate that the litigant was aided by an attorney. Specifically, such filings should state, "Prepared with Assistance of Counsel."
Illinois State Bar Ass’n Prof. Conduct Comm. Op. 04-03
A lawyer who mediated a divorce settlement between unrepresented husband and wife may not prepare a proposed judgment of dissolution of marriage, a marriage separation agreement and joint parenting agreement for husband and wife and allow husband and wife to file said documents as pro se litigants.
Illinois State Bar Ass’n Prof. Conduct Comm. Op. 94-01
A lawyer aids in the unauthorized practice of law, and may violate rules pertaining to confidentiality, conflicts, and the duty to communicate with and explain matters to a client, by limiting his role in a real estate transaction to the drafting of documents and delegating the gathering and dissemination of information, the resolution of problems arising from such the documents drafted, and other problems which may arise at the closing, to the real estate broker.
Iowa State Bar Ass'n Op. 96-31 (1997)
An attorney may draft a dissolution petition without charge for an indigent client who wishes to proceed pro se where the attorney indicates on the petition that he or she drafted it. As long as the court is informed of the lawyer who prepared the pleading, no ethical violation would occur and it would not be improper.
Iowa State Bar Ass'n Op. 94-35 (1995)
Ghostwriting that represents pleadings to be pro se is a deception on the court when it is in fact a product of the lawyer "who is counseling the party and not accepting the inherent lawyer responsibilities to the court and to the law."
Kansas Ethics Opinion No. 09-01
An attorney may offer limited scope representation. Any lawyer who prepares a pleading for an otherwise pro se litigant must disclose such assistance, including the phrase “Prepared with Assistance of Counsel” on the pleading. The attorney need not provide identifying information such as name, bar number or address.
Kentucky Bar Ass'n Op. E-343 (1991)
A lawyer may limit his or her undertaking and provide assistance in preparation of initial pleadings. However, the lawyer should not aid a litigant in the deception that the litigant is not represented when, in fact, the litigant is represented behind the scenes.
Massachusetts Bar Ass'n Committee on Professional Ethics, Op. 98-1 (1998)
An attorney may provide limited background advice and counseling to pro se litigants. However, providing more extensive services, such as drafting pleadings, i.e., ghostwriting, would usually be misleading to the court and other parties and therefore would be prohibited.
State Bar of Michigan Op. RI-347 (2010)
An attorney may assist a pro se litigant by giving advice or preparing documents as long as the attorney complies with the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct. An attorney who assists a pro se litigant is not required to appear in any proceeding and is not required to disclose the assistance to the court or opposing counsel.
State Bar of Nevada Formal Ethics Opinion No. 34 (2006, Revised 2009)A lawyer who provides substantial assistance to a self-represented litigant must disclose such assistance to the court. The lawyer’s identity must be disclosed by signing all papers filed with the court for which the lawyer gave substantial assistance to the pro se litigant, by drafting or otherwise. In non-litigation settings, any attorney that provides substantial assistance to a pro se litigant must disclose such assistance, in writing, to the opposing party.
New York County Law Association Committee on Professional Ethics Op. 742 (2010)
It is ethically permissible for an attorney to prepare pleadings and other submissions for pro se litigants. Lawyers are not required to disclose such assistance, except in certain, limited situations.
North Carolina State Bar Formal Op. 3 (2008)
A lawyer may assist a pro se litigant by drafting pleadings and giving advice without making an appearance in the proceeding and without disclosing or ensuring the disclosure of his assistance to the court unless required to do so by law or court order.
North Carolina State Bar Op. 6 (2002)
A lawyer may not represent one party in a divorce and prepare pleadings for the other (pro se) party to sign, regardless of the willingness of the parties.
South Carolina Bar Ethics Advisory Op. 90-18
A lawyer may draft and submit a responsive pleading and waiver of appearance on behalf of an opposing party in a divorce action while representing the interest of his or her own client when he or she determines that the preparation and submission of the pleadings does not constitute representation.
Bd. of Prof. Resp. of the Sup. Ct. of Tenn. Op. 2007-F-153
An attorney may prepare pleadings for a pro se litigant without disclosing the name of the attorney on the pleading in circumstances where doing so allows the pro se litigant to protect his or her claim or matter from being barred by a statute of limitation, administrative rule or other proscriptive rule where the assisting attorney will not provide further assistance. An attorney may not prepare pleadings and other legal documents to assist a pro se litigant in the conduct of his or her litigation where doing so creates the false impression that the litigant is without substantial legal assistance.
Bd. of Prof. Resp. of the Sup. Ct. of Tenn. Op. 2005-F-151
Attorneys may offer limited representation through a pro se clinic if they obtain client’s consent, preferably in writing. Attorneys may draft proceedings for clients, if the attorney notifies the Court that counsel has assisted a pro se litigant. The phrase "Prepared with Assistance of Counsel" is recommended for inclusion on such pleadings in a prominent manner. Attorneys who draft proceedings need not appear and represent the client.
Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Op. Comm. Op. 08-01 (2008)
A lawyer may provide legal assistance to litigants appearing before tribunals pro se and help them prepare written submissions without disclosing or ensuring the disclosure to others of the nature or extent of such assistance. Undertaking to provide limited legal help does not generally alter any other aspect of the attorney’s professional responsibilities to the client.
Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Op. Comm. Op. 02-10 (2002)
It is permissible for an attorney to review the contents of a divorce agreement resulting from mediation on behalf of one party and inform that party about the options and advisability of the agreement. However, it is inappropriate for an attorney to limit his or her services to assisting in the drafting of pleading and failing to advise about the relevant law.
Standing Comm. On Legal Ethics, Virginia State Bar Ass'n Legal Ethics Op. 1761 (2002)
Legal aid staff may provide legal forms to pro se litigants, so long as no assistance is provided in the completion of those forms.
Standing Comm. On Legal Ethics, Virginia State Bar Ass'n Legal Ethics Op. 1127 (1988)
It is ethically permissible for a lawyer to advise and assist a pro se litigant and provide: general legal advice, recommendations for a course of action to follow discovery, legal research, and redrafting of documents prepared by the pro se litigant. A lawyer may prepare discovery requests, pleadings or briefs for signature by the pro se litigant. However, failure to disclose that the attorney provided active or substantial assistance may constitute a misrepresentation to the court.
Washington State Bar Ass'n Informal Ethics Op. 1763 (1997)
Unbundled legal services is defined as a party engaging an attorney to take limited measures, such as helping prepare initial pleadings and perform child support calculations, without either the lawyer or the client being obligated to the other for the duration of the proceedings.
West Virginia Lawyer Disciplinary Board L.E.O 2010-01
Ghostwriting is permissible under the West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct as long as a lawyer discloses his or her identity when preparing documents and pleadings filed before a tribunal. A lawyer must follow procedures to ensure that the client is fully aware of and consents to the specific limitations and possible ramifications.
State Bar of Wisconsin Formal Opinion E-97-1
A lawyer may limit the scope of representation, after client consultation, to the preparation of deed and transfer return. When the scope of representation is limited in this way, it is the lawyer's responsibility to insure that the client understands and accepts the limited nature of the representation. A lawyer who limits the scope of representation to the drafting of deeds and transfer returns does not solely by that limitation assist a title company in the unauthorized practice of law.