What Does Of Counsel Mean?

Of Counsel means someone is close to the law firm but is neither an associate or partner. This is usually used to describe longtime lawyers that are close friends or have a well-maintained relationship with the law firm in question.

There is no proper source for the person responsible for coining the term, but we assume that it started as an informal practice where lawyers would help each other out despite not being employed or partnered. This has gotten increasingly popular since 2010.

  • Of Counsel means someone who is close to the law firm but is not employed by it.
  • It lets people know that you’re talking about a lawyer that’s close to a firm but does not work for it.

If you’re talking with someone about the law or court cases, “of counsel” is a type of person that might give advice and input to the case but isn’t hired or employed by the firm.

How To Use Of Counsel 

Of Counsel means a lawyer that counsels a firm without being employed by it, a type of person that’s kind of like a mentor. The “of counsel” can either be paid or not, but can perform similar duties to a regular lawyer. You can use it for legal reasons and when talking about lawyers if that’s your area of expertise.


Even though I’m a lawyer of counsel, I can still get paid. I’m just not considered employed by the law firm.

Of Counsel Meaning Infographic

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