Maryland

Differences from ABA Model Rules

Rule 1.2(c) Limited Scope Significant Changes
Rule 5.4(a) Fee-Sharing Significant Changes
Rules 5.4(b)-(d) Non-Lawyer OwnershipSame as Model Rule
Rule 5.5. Unauthorized Practice of LawSignificant Changes
Rule 5.7 Law Related Services Same as Model Rule
Rule 6.5 Limited ScopeSame as Model Rule
Rule 7.2(b) Lawyer ReferralSignificant Changes
Cloud Computing AdvisoryNo
Technology Competency RulesNo

ABA Rule 1.2(c) (Limited Scope)

RULE 19-301.2. SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION AND ALLOCATION OF AUTHORITY BETWEEN CLIENT AND ATTORNEY (1.2)

c) An attorney may limit the scope of the representation in accordance with applicable Maryland Rules if (1) the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances, (2) the client gives informed consent, and (3) the scope and limitations of any representation, beyond an initial consultation or brief advice provided without a fee, are clearly set forth in a writing, including any duty on the part of the attorney under Rule 1-324 to forward notices to the client.

Relevant Comments:

Agreements Limiting Scope of Representation–[6] The scope of services to be provided by an attorney may be limited by agreement with the client or by the terms under which the attorney’s services are made available to the client. When an attorney has been retained by an insurer to represent an insured, for example, the representation may be limited to matters related to the insurance coverage. A limited representation may be appropriate because the client has limited objectives for the representation. In addition, the terms upon which representation is undertaken may exclude specific means that might otherwise be used to accomplish the client’s objectives. Such limitations may exclude actions that the client thinks are too costly or that the attorney regards as repugnant or imprudent.

[7] Although this Rule affords the attorney and client substantial latitude to limit the representation, the limitation must be reasonable under the circumstances. If, for example, a client’s objective is limited to securing general information about the law the client needs in order to handle a common and typically uncomplicated legal problem, the attorney and client may agree that the attorney’s services will be limited to a brief telephone consultation. Such a limitation, however, would not be reasonable if the time allotted was not sufficient to yield advice upon which the client could rely. Although an agreement for a limited representation does not exempt an attorney from the duty to provide competent representation, the limitation is a factor to be considered when determining the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation. See Rule 19-301.1 (1.1).

[8] An attorney and a client may agree that the scope of the representation is to be limited to clearly defined specific tasks or objectives, including: (1) without entering an appearance, filing papers, or otherwise participating on the client’s behalf in any judicial or administrative proceeding, (i) giving legal advice to the client regarding the client’s rights, responsibilities, or obligations with respect to particular matters, (ii) conducting factual investigations for the client, (iii) representing the client in settlement negotiations or in private alternative dispute resolution proceedings, (iv) evaluating and advising the client with regard to settlement options or proposed agreements, or (v) drafting documents, performing legal research, and providing advice that the client or another attorney appearing for the client may use in a judicial or administrative proceeding; or (2) in accordance with applicable Maryland Rules, representing the client in discrete judicial or administrative proceedings, such as a court-ordered alternative dispute resolution proceeding, a pendente lite proceeding, or proceedings on a temporary restraining order, a particular motion, or a specific issue in a multi-issue action or proceeding. Before entering into such an agreement, the attorney shall fully and fairly inform the client of the extent and limits of the attorney’s obligations under the agreement, including any duty on the part of the attorney under Rule 1-324 to forward notices to the client.

[9] Representation of a client in a collaborative law process is a type of permissible limited representation. It requires a collaborative law participation agreement that complies with the requirements of Code, Courts Article, § 3-1902 and Rule 17-503 (b) and is signed by all parties after informed consent

ABA Rule 5.4(a) (Fee-sharing)

RULE 19-305.4. PROFESSIONAL INDEPENDENCE OF AN ATTORNEY (5.4)

(a) An attorney or law firm shall not share legal fees with a non-attorney, except that:

(1) an agreement by an attorney with the attorney’s firm, partner, or associate may provide for the payment of money, over a reasonable period of time after the attorney’s death, to the attorney’s estate or to one or more specified persons;

(2) an attorney who purchases the practice of an attorney who is deceased or disabled or who has disappeared may, pursuant to the provisions of Rule 19-301.17 (1.17), pay the purchase price to the estate or representative of the attorney.

(3) an attorney who undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a deceased, retired, disabled, or suspended attorney may pay to that attorney or that attorney’s estate the proportion of the total compensation fairly allocable to the services rendered by the former attorney;

(4) an attorney or law firm may include non-attorney employees in a compensation or retirement plan, even though the plan is based in whole or in part on a profit-sharing arrangement; and

(5) an attorney may share court-awarded legal fees with a nonprofit organization that employed, retained or recommended employment of the attorney in the matter

Relevant Comments:

[1] The provisions of this Rule express traditional limitations on sharing fees. These limitations are to protect the attorney’s professional independence of judgment. Where someone other than the client pays the attorney’s fee or salary, or recommends employment of the attorney, that arrangement does not modify the attorney’s obligation to the client. As stated in section (c) of this Rule, such arrangements should not interfere with the attorney’s professional judgment.

Modified By:

Md. Ethics Op. 2004-11 (2004) (lawyer may not enter arrangement for nonlawyer insurance brokers and financial planners to refer their estate planning customers to him and pay his fee)  

Md. Ethics Op. 02-05 (2005) (lawyer may not be employee of or share in profits of collection agency he co-owns with nonlawyer; agency charges customers single fee and uses lawyer’s firm for legal work)

Att’y Grievance Comm’n v. Brennan, 714 A.2d 157 (Md. 1998) (shared fees with suspended lawyer; private agreement limiting suspended lawyer to paralegal role not a defense, as rule prohibits sharing fee with paralegal)

Son v. Margolius, Mallios, Davis, Rider & Tomar, 709 A.2d 112 (Md. 1998) (retainer agreement’s implicit requirement that law firm pay percentage of its fee to nonlawyer consultant serving as clients’ translator and spokesperson violated public policy expressed in Rule 5.4(a))

ABA Rule 5.4(b – d) Non-lawyer ownership

Same as Model Rule.

Relevant Comments:

[2] This Rule also expresses traditional limitations on permitting a third party to direct or regulate the attorney’s professional judgment in rendering legal services to another. See also Rule 19-301.8 (f) (1.8) (attorney may accept compensation from a third party as long as there is no interference with the attorney’s independent professional judgment and the client gives informed consent).

ABA Rule 5.5 (UPL)

RULE 19-305.5. UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW; MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL PRACTICE OF LAW (5.5)

(a) An attorney shall not practice law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction, or assist another in doing so.

(b) An attorney who is not admitted to practice in this jurisdiction shall not:

(1) except as authorized by these Rules or other law, establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law; or

(2) hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the attorney is admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction.

(c) An attorney admitted in another United States jurisdiction, and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services on a temporary basis in this jurisdiction that:

(1) are undertaken in association with an attorney who is admitted to practice in this jurisdiction and who actively participates in the matter;

(2) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential proceeding before a tribunal in this or another jurisdiction, if the attorney, or a person the attorney is assisting, is authorized by law or order to appear in such proceeding or reasonably expects to be so authorized;

(3) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution proceeding in this or another jurisdiction, if the services arise out of or are reasonably related to the attorney’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the attorney is admitted to practice and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or

(4) are not within subsections (c)(2) or (c)(3) of this Rule and arise out of or are reasonably related to the attorney’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the attorney is admitted to practice.

(d) An attorney admitted in another United States jurisdiction, and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services in this jurisdiction that:

(1) are provided to the attorney’s employer or its organizational affiliates and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or

(2) are services that the attorney is authorized to provide by federal law or other law of this jurisdiction.

(e)

(1) In this section, “foreign attorney” means an attorney who (A) is not admitted to practice law in any United States jurisdiction, (B) is a member in good standing of a recognized legal profession in a country other than the United States and, as such, is authorized to practice law in that country, (C) is subject to effective regulation and discipline by a duly constituted professional body or a public authority of that country, and (D) has not been disbarred or suspended from the practice of law in any jurisdiction of the United States.

(2) A foreign attorney may not establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this State for the practice of law, or hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the attorney is admitted to practice law in this State. Any violation of this provision or any material misrepresentation regarding the requirements in subsection (e)(1) of this Rule by the foreign attorney will subject the foreign attorney to liability for the unauthorized practice of law.

(3) A foreign attorney, with respect to any matter, may (A) act as a consultant to a Maryland attorney on the law and practice in a country in which the foreign attorney is admitted to practice, including principles of international law recognized and enforced in that country and (B) in association with a Maryland attorney who actively participates in the matter, participate in discussions with a client of the Maryland attorney or with other persons involved with the matter, provided that the Maryland attorney shall remain fully responsible to the client for all advice and other conduct by the foreign attorney with respect to the matter..

Relevant Comments:

[1] An attorney may practice law only in a jurisdiction in which the attorney is authorized to practice. An attorney may be admitted to practice law in a jurisdiction on a regular basis or may be authorized by court rule or order or by law to practice for a limited purpose or on a restricted basis. Section (a) of this Rule applies to unauthorized practice of law by an attorney, whether through the attorney’s direct action or by the attorney’s assisting another person.

[2] The definition of the practice of law is established by law and varies from one jurisdiction to another. Whatever the definition, limiting the practice of law to members of the bar protects the public against rendition of legal services by unqualified persons. This Rule does not prohibit an attorney from employing the services of paraprofessionals and delegating functions to them, so long as the attorney supervises the delegated work and retains responsibility for their work. See Rule 19-305.3 (5.3).

[3] An attorney may provide professional advice and instruction to non-attorneys whose employment requires knowledge of law; for example, claims adjusters, employees of financial or commercial institutions, social workers, accountants and individuals employed in government agencies. Attorneys also may assist independent non-attorneys, such as paraprofessionals, who are authorized by the law of a jurisdiction to provide particular law-related services. In addition, an attorney may counsel non-attorneys who wish to proceed self-represented.

[4] Other than as authorized by law or this Rule, an attorney who is not admitted to practice generally in this jurisdiction violates section (b) of this Rule if the attorney establishes an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law. Presence may be systematic and continuous even if the attorney is not physically present here. Such an attorney must not hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the attorney is admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction. See also Rules 19-307.1 (a) (7.1) and 19-307.5 (b) (7.5).

[5] There are occasions in which an attorney admitted to practice in another United States jurisdiction, and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services on a temporary basis in this jurisdiction under circumstances that do not create an unreasonable risk to the interests of their clients, the public or the courts. Section (c) of this Rule identifies four such circumstances. The fact that conduct is not so identified does not imply that the conduct is or is not authorized.

[6] There is no single test to determine whether an attorney’s services are provided on a “temporary basis” in this jurisdiction, and may therefore be permissible under section (c) of this Rule. Services may be “temporary” even though the attorney provides services in this jurisdiction on a recurring basis, or for an extended period of time, as when the attorney is representing a client in a single lengthy negotiation or litigation.

[7] Sections (c) and (d) of this Rule apply to attorneys who are admitted to practice law in any United States jurisdiction, which includes the District of Columbia and any state, territory or commonwealth of the United States. The word “admitted” in section (c) of this Rule contemplates that the attorney is authorized to practice in the jurisdiction in which the attorney is admitted and excludes an attorney who while technically admitted is not authorized to practice, because, for example, the attorney is on inactive status.

[8] Subsection (c)(1) of this Rule recognizes that the interests of clients and the public are protected if an attorney admitted only in another jurisdiction associates with an attorney licensed to practice in this jurisdiction. For this subsection to apply, however, the attorney admitted to practice in this jurisdiction must actively participate in and share responsibility for the representation of the client.

[9] Attorneys not admitted to practice generally in a jurisdiction may be authorized by law or order of a tribunal or an administrative agency to appear before the tribunal or agency. This authority may be granted pursuant to formal rules governing admission pro hac vice or pursuant to informal practice of the tribunal or agency. Under subsection (c)(2) of this Rule, an attorney does not violate this Rule when the attorney appears before a tribunal or agency pursuant to such authority. An attorney who is not admitted to practice in this jurisdiction must obtain admission pro hac vice before appearing before a tribunal or administrative agency, as provided by Rule 19-214 of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Maryland. See also Md. Code, Business Occupations and Professions Article, § 10-215.

[10] Subsection (c)(2) of this Rule also provides that an attorney rendering services in this jurisdiction on a temporary basis does not violate this Rule when the attorney engages in conduct in anticipation of a proceeding or hearing in a jurisdiction in which the attorney is authorized to practice law or in which the attorney reasonably expects to be admitted pro hac vice. Examples of such conduct include meetings with the client, interviews of potential witnesses, and the review of documents. Similarly, an attorney admitted only in another jurisdiction may engage in conduct temporarily in this jurisdiction in connection with pending litigation in another jurisdiction in which the attorney is or reasonably expects to be authorized to appear, including taking depositions in this jurisdiction.

[11] When an attorney has been or reasonably expects to be admitted to appear before a court or administrative agency, subsection (c)(2) of this Rule also permits conduct by attorneys who are associated with that attorney in the matter, but who do not expect to appear before the court or administrative agency. For example, subordinate attorneys may conduct research, review documents, and attend meetings with witnesses in support of the attorney responsible for the litigation.

[12] Subsection (c)(3) of this Rule permits an attorney admitted to practice law in another jurisdiction to perform services on a temporary basis in this jurisdiction if those services are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution proceeding in this or another jurisdiction, if the services arise out of or are reasonably related to the attorney’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the attorney is admitted to practice. The attorney, however, must obtain permission pro hac vice in the case of a court-annexed arbitration or mediation or otherwise if court rules or law so require. See Rule 19-214 of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Maryland regarding admission to appear in arbitrations.

[13] Subsection (c)(4) of this Rule permits an attorney admitted in another jurisdiction to provide certain legal services on a temporary basis in this jurisdiction that arise out of or are reasonably related to the attorney’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the attorney is admitted but are not within subsections (c)(2) or (c)(3) of this Rule. These services include both legal services and services that non-attorneys may perform but that are considered the practice of law when performed by attorneys.

[14] Subsections (c)(3) and (c)(4) of this Rule require that the services arise out of or be reasonably related to the attorney’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the attorney is admitted. A variety of factors evidence such a relationship. The attorney’s client may have been previously represented by the attorney, or may be resident in or have substantial contacts with the jurisdiction in which the attorney is admitted. The matter, although involving other jurisdictions, may have a significant connection with that jurisdiction. In other cases, significant aspects of the attorney’s work might be conducted in that jurisdiction or a significant aspect of the matter may involve the law of that jurisdiction. The necessary relationship might arise when the client’s activities or the legal issues involve multiple jurisdictions, such as when the officers of a multinational corporation survey potential business sites and seek the services of their attorney in assessing the relative merits of each. In addition, the services may draw on the attorney’s recognized expertise developed through the regular practice of law on behalf of clients in matters involving a particular body of federal, nationally-uniform, foreign, or international law.

[15] Section (d) of this Rule identifies two circumstances in which an attorney who is admitted to practice in another United States jurisdiction, and is not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law as well as provide legal services on a temporary basis.

[16] Subsection (d)(1) of this Rule applies to an attorney who is employed by a client to provide legal services to the client or its organizational affiliates, i.e., entities that control, are controlled by, or are under common control with the employer. This subsection does not authorize the provision of personal legal services to the employer’s officers or employees. The subsection applies to in-house corporate attorneys, government attorneys and others who are employed to render legal services to the employer. The attorney’s ability to represent the employer outside the jurisdiction in which the attorney is licensed generally serves the interests of the employer and does not create an unreasonable risk to the client and others because the employer is well situated to assess the attorney’s qualifications and the quality of the attorney’s work.

[17] If an employed attorney establishes an office or other systematic presence in this jurisdiction for the purpose of rendering legal services to the employer, the attorney is governed by Md. Code, Business Occupations and Professions Article, § 1-206 (d). In general, the employed attorney is subject to disciplinary proceedings under the Maryland Rules and must comply with Md. Code, Business Occupations and Professions Article, § 10-215 (and Rule 19-214) for authorization to appear before a tribunal. See also Rule 19-215 (as to legal services attorneys).

[18] Subsection (d)(2) of this Rule recognizes that an attorney may provide legal services in a jurisdiction in which the attorney is not licensed when authorized to do so by federal or other law, which includes statute, court rule, executive regulation or judicial precedent.

[19] An attorney who practices law in this jurisdiction pursuant to section (c) or (d) of this Rule or otherwise is subject to the disciplinary authority of this jurisdiction. See Rule 19-308.5 (a) (8.5) and Md. Rules 19-701 and 19-711.

[20] In some circumstances, an attorney who practices law in this jurisdiction pursuant to section (c) or (d) of this Rule may have to inform the client that the attorney is not licensed to practice law in this jurisdiction. For example, that may be required when the representation occurs primarily in this jurisdiction and requires knowledge of the law of this jurisdiction. See Rule 19-301.4 (b) (1.4).

[21] Sections (c) and (d) of this Rule do not authorize communications advertising legal services to prospective clients in this jurisdiction by attorneys who are admitted to practice in other jurisdictions. Rules 19-307.1 (7.1) to 19-307.5 (7.5) govern whether and how attorneys may communicate the availability of their services to prospective clients in this jurisdiction.

[22] Section (e) is not intended to permit a foreign attorney to be admitted pro hac vice in any proceeding, but it does not preclude the foreign attorney (1) from being present with a Maryland attorney at a judicial, administrative, or ADR proceeding to provide consultative services to the Maryland attorney during the proceeding, or (2) subject to Rule 5-702, from testifying as an expert witness.

Modified By:

Att’y Grievance Comm’n v. Ambe, 38 A.3d 390 (Md. 2012) (to avoid false or misleading advertising, “Rule 7.1 requires out-of-state attorneys practicing federal law in Maryland to disclose that the attorney’s practice is limited to federal matters and that the attorney is not authorized to practice law in Maryland”).

Att’y Grievance Comm’n v. Barneys, 805 A.2d 1040 (Md. 2002) (disbarring lawyer licensed in New York, Connecticut, and District of Columbia for representing multiple clients in Maryland state courts)

Att’y Grievance Comm’n v. Harris-Smith, 737 A.2d 567 (Md. 1999) (lawyer admitted in federal but not state court in Maryland used radio and newspaper advertisements to target prospective bankruptcy clients without noting her ineligibility to practice in Maryland state court)

Att’y Grievance Comm’n v. James, 735 A.2d 1027 (Md. 1999) (noting that although difficult to craft an “all encompassing definition” of practice of law, individual inquiry should focus upon “whether the activity in question required legal knowledge and skill in order to apply legal principles and precedent”)

Attorney Grievance Comm’n of Maryland v. Shephard, 119 A.3d 765 (Md. 2015) (out-of-state lawyer served as “Managing Attorney” or “Managing Partner” of Maryland law firm)

In re Application of R.G.S., 541 A.2d 977 (Md. 1988) (“The goal of the prohibition against unauthorized practice is to protect the public … from incompetent, unethical, or irresponsible representation”)

Kennedy v. Bar Ass’n of Montgomery County, 561 A.2d 200 (Md. 1989) (“the very acts of interview, analysis and explanation of legal rights constitute practicing law”)

Maryland Attorney Grievance Comm’n v. Brisbon, 31 A.3d 110 (Md. 2011) (suspended lawyer worked as immigration consultant)

Maryland Attorney Grievance Comm’n v. Maignan, 935 A.2d 409 (Md. 2007) (lawyer further disciplined for practicing law immediately after suspension;

Maryland Attorney Grievance Comm’n v. Shryock, 968 A.2d 593 (Md. 2009) (suspended lawyer prepared and filed notice of appeal)

Somuah v. Flachs, 721 A.2d 680 (Md. 1998) (practice of law includes use of legal education, training, and experience in applying legal analysis to client’s problem)

Turkey Point Prop. Owners’ Ass’n Inc. v. Anderson, 666 A.2d 904 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1995)

Other Definitions:

ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND BUSINESS OCCUPATIONS AND PROFESSIONS, TITLE 10. LAWYERS SUBTITLE 1–DEFINITIONS; GENERAL PROVISIONS § 10-101. Definitions

Sec. 10-101(h)

(1) “Practice law” means to engage in any of the following activities:

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(i) giving legal advice;

(ii) representing another person before a unit of the State government or of a political subdivision; or

(iii) performing any other service that the Court of Appeals defines as practicing law

(2) “Practice law” includes:

(i) advising in the administration of probate of estate of decedents in an orphans’ court of the state

(ii) preparing an instrument that affects title to real estate

(iii) preparing or helping in the preparation of any form or document that is filed in a court or affects a case that is or may be filed in a court; or

(iv) giving advice about a case that is or may be filed in a court.

§ 10-206. Bar admission requirement

(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, before an individual may practice law in the State, the individual shall:

(1) Be admitted to the Bar; and

(2) Meet any requirement that the Court of Appeals may set by rule.

(b) This section does not apply to:

(1) A person while representing a landlord in a summary ejectment proceeding in the District Court of Maryland;

(2) A person while representing a tenant in a summary ejectment proceeding in the District Court of Maryland if the person is:

(i) A law student practicing in a clinical law program at a law school accredited by the American Bar Association with the in-court supervision of a faculty member; or

(ii) Employed by a nonprofit organization receiving grants from the Maryland Legal Services Corporation and:

1. The person has training and experience;

2. The person is supervised by a lawyer; and

3. The supervising lawyer’s appearance is entered in the proceeding;

(3) An insurance company while defending an insured through staff counsel;

(4) (i) An officer of a corporation, an employee designated by an officer of a corporation, a partner in a business operated as a partnership or an employee designated by a partner, or an employee designated by the owner of a business operated as a sole proprietorship while the officer, partner, or employee is appearing on behalf of the corporation, partnership, or business in a civil action in the District Court of Maryland if the action:

1. Is based on a claim that does not exceed the amount set under § 4-405 of the Courts Article for a small claim action; and

2. Is not based on an assignment, to the corporation, partnership, or business, of the claim of another;

(ii) An employee designated under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph:

1. May not be assigned on a full-time basis to appear in the District Court on behalf of the corporation, partnership, or business;

2. Shall provide the court a power of attorney sworn to by the employer that certifies that the designated employee is an authorized agent of the corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship and may bind the corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship on matters pending before the court; and

3. May not be an individual who is disbarred or suspended as a lawyer in any state;

(iii) A corporation, partnership, or business may not contract, hire, or employ another business entity to provide appearance services under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph; or

(5) An individual who is authorized by a county employee to represent the employee at any step of the county’s grievance procedure.

(c) (1) In this subsection, “practice patent law”:

(i) Means to perform professional services that the Patent and Trademark Office requires to be performed by an individual registered to practice before that Office; and

(ii) Includes preparing a copyright application or assignment and submitting it to the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.

(2) While there is a Patent and Trademark Office in the State, an individual may practice patent law in the State if the individual is:

(i) Authorized to practice law in any other state; and

(ii) Registered to practice patent law before the Patent and Trademark Office.

(3) Unless otherwise authorized under this title, an individual who practices patent law under this subsection may not:

(i) Appear as an attorney at law in a court; or

(ii) Practice law generally in the State.

(d) (1) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, this section does not apply to an individual while giving legal advice to a corporation in this State if the individual is:

(i) Employed by the corporation; and

(ii) Admitted to the bar of any other state.

(2) An individual who gives legal advice under this subsection:

(i) Is subject to disciplinary proceedings as the Maryland Rules provide;

(ii) May not appear before a unit of the State government or of a political subdivision unless a court grants the individual a special admission in accordance with § 10-215 of this subtitle. (Special admission to practice law)

ABA Rule 5.7 (Law Related Services)

Same as Model Rule.

Relevant Comments:

[1] Legal services organizations, courts and various nonprofit organizations have established programs through which attorneys provide short-term limited legal services–such as advice or the completion of legal forms–that will assist persons to address their legal problems without further representation by an attorney. In these programs, such as legal-advice hotlines, advice-only clinics, self-represented counseling programs, or programs in which attorneys represent clients on a pro bono basis for the purposes of mediation only, a client-attorney relationship is established, but there is no expectation that the attorney’s representation of the client will continue beyond the limited consultation.

[2] An attorney who provides short-term limited legal services pursuant to this Rule must secure the client’s informed consent to the limited scope of the representation. See Rule 19-301.2 (c) (1.2). If a short-term limited representation would not be reasonable under the circumstances, the attorney may offer advice to the client but must also advise the client of the need for further assistance of an attorney. Except as provided in this Rule, the Maryland Attorneys’ Rules of Professional Conduct, including Rules 19-301.6 (1.6) and 19-301.9 (c) (1.9), are applicable to the limited representation.

[3] Because the limited nature of the services significantly reduces the risk of conflicts of interest with other matters being handled by the attorney’s firm, section (b) provides that Rule 19-301.10 (1.10) is inapplicable to a representation governed by this Rule except as provided by subsection (a)(2) of this Rule. Subsection (a)(2) of this Rule requires the participating attorney to comply with Rule 19-301.10 (1.10) when the attorney knows that the attorney’s firm is disqualified by Rules 19-301.7 (1.7) or 19-301.9 (a) (1.9). By virtue of section (b) of this Rule, however, an attorney’s participation in a short-term limited legal services program will not preclude the attorney’s firm from undertaking or continuing the representation of a client with interests adverse to a client being represented under the program’s auspices. Nor will the personal disqualification of an attorney participating in the program be imputed to other attorneys participating in the program.

[4] If, after commencing a short-term limited representation in accordance with this Rule, an attorney undertakes to represent the client in the matter on an ongoing basis, Rules 19-301.7 (1.7), 19-301.9 (a) (1.9) and 19-301.10 (1.10) become applicable.

Modified By:

Att’y Grievance Comm’n v. Bereano, 744 A.2d 35 (Md. 2000) (disbarment for mail fraud arising out of lobbying activities)

Att’y Grievance Comm’n v. Johnson, 976 A.2d 245 (Md. 2009) (owner of title company and lawyer-settlement agent both disbarred for engaging in fraudulent lease/buy-back arrangement)

ABA Rule 6.5 (Court annexed/Non-profit limited scope)

Same as Model Rule.

Relevant Comments:

[1] Legal services organizations, courts and various nonprofit organizations have established programs through which attorneys provide short-term limited legal services–such as advice or the completion of legal forms–that will assist persons to address their legal problems without further representation by an attorney. In these programs, such as legal-advice hotlines, advice-only clinics, self-represented counseling programs, or programs in which attorneys represent clients on a pro bono basis for the purposes of mediation only, a client-attorney relationship is established, but there is no expectation that the attorney’s representation of the client will continue beyond the limited consultation.

[2] An attorney who provides short-term limited legal services pursuant to this Rule must secure the client’s informed consent to the limited scope of the representation. See Rule 19-301.2 (c) (1.2). If a short-term limited representation would not be reasonable under the circumstances, the attorney may offer advice to the client but must also advise the client of the need for further assistance of an attorney. Except as provided in this Rule, the Maryland Attorneys’ Rules of Professional Conduct, including Rules 19-301.6 (1.6) and 19-301.9 (c) (1.9), are applicable to the limited representation.

[3] Because the limited nature of the services significantly reduces the risk of conflicts of interest with other matters being handled by the attorney’s firm, section (b) provides that Rule 19-301.10 (1.10) is inapplicable to a representation governed by this Rule except as provided by subsection (a)(2) of this Rule. Subsection (a)(2) of this Rule requires the participating attorney to comply with Rule 19-301.10 (1.10) when the attorney knows that the attorney’s firm is disqualified by Rules 19-301.7 (1.7) or 19-301.9 (a) (1.9). By virtue of section (b) of this Rule, however, an attorney’s participation in a short-term limited legal services program will not preclude the attorney’s firm from undertaking or continuing the representation of a client with interests adverse to a client being represented under the program’s auspices. Nor will the personal disqualification of an attorney participating in the program be imputed to other attorneys participating in the program.

[4] If, after commencing a short-term limited representation in accordance with this Rule, an attorney undertakes to represent the client in the matter on an ongoing basis, Rules 19-301.7 (1.7), 19-301.9 (a) (1.9) and 19-301.10 (1.10) become applicable.

ABA Rule 7.2(b) (Lawyer referral)

RULE 19-307.2. ADVERTISING (7.2)

(c) An attorney shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the attorney’s services, except that an attorney may:

(1) pay the reasonable cost of advertising or written communication permitted by this Rule;

(2) pay the usual charges of a legal service plan or a not-for-profit attorney referral service;

(3) pay for a law practice purchased in accordance with Rule 19-301.17 (1.17); and

(4) refer clients to a non-attorney professional pursuant to an agreement not otherwise prohibited under these Rules that provides for the non-attorney professional to refer clients or customers to the attorney, if:

(A) the reciprocal agreement is not exclusive, and

(B) the client is informed of the existence and nature of the agreement.

Relevant Comments:

Paying Others to Recommend an Attorney–[7] An attorney is allowed to pay for advertising permitted by this Rule and for the purchase of a law practice in accordance with the provisions of Rule 19-301.17 (1.17), but otherwise is not permitted to pay another person for channeling professional work. This restriction does not prevent an organization or person other than the attorney from advertising or recommending the attorney’s services. Thus, a legal aid agency or prepaid legal services plan may pay to advertise legal services provided under its auspices. Likewise, an attorney may participate in not-for-profit attorney referral programs and pay the usual fees charged by such programs. Section (c) of this Rule does not prohibit paying regular compensation to an assistant, such as a secretary, to prepare communications permitted by this Rule.

Assignments or Referrals from a Legal Services Plan or Attorney Referral Service–[8] An attorney who accepts assignments or referrals from a legal services plan or referrals from a attorney referral service must act reasonably to assure that the activities of the plan or service are compatible with the attorney’s professional obligations. See Rule 19-305.3 (5.3). Legal service plans and attorney referral services may communicate with prospective clients, but such communications must be in conformity with these Rules. Thus, advertising must not be false or misleading, as would be the case if the communications of a group advertising program or a group legal services plan would mislead prospective clients to think that it was attorney referral service sponsored by a state agency or bar association. Nor could the attorney allow in-person, telephonic, or real-time contacts that would violate Rule 19-307.3 (7.3).

Reciprocal Referral Agreements with Non-attorney Professionals–[9] An attorney may agree to refer clients to a non-attorney professional, in return for the undertaking of that person to refer clients or customers to the attorney to provide them with legal services. Such reciprocal referral arrangements must not be exclusive or otherwise interfere with the attorney’s professional judgment as to making referrals or as to providing substantive legal services. See Rules 19-302.1 (2.1) and 19-305.4 (c) (5.4). The client must also be informed of the existence and nature of the referral agreement. Reciprocal referral agreements should not be of indefinite duration and should be reviewed periodically to determine whether they comply with these Rules. Conflicts of interest created by such arrangements are governed by Rule 19-301.7 (1.7). Referral agreements between attorneys who are not in the same firm are governed by Rule 19-301.5 (e) (1.5).

Modified By:

Md. Ethics Op. 88-78 (1988) (advertisements that route viewers’ calls to participating lawyers are form of group advertising, rather than referral service; lawyers pay cost of advertising, not fee for referrals)

Md. Ethics Op. 99-10 (1998) (impermissible for accounting firm to hire lawyer at modest weekly wage with “understanding” it will refer fee-paying clients to lawyer)

Md. Ethics Op. 2012-7 (2012) (lawyer may use website company to advertise internet “daily deal” coupon, whereby company receives client’s coupon fee, retains portion, and forwards remainder to lawyer; retained sum is cost of advertising and not prohibited referral fee)

Son v. Margolius, Mallios, Davis, Rider & Tomar, 709 A.2d 112 (Md. 1998) (sufficient evidence for trial whether fee paid to personal injury client’s nonlawyer “consultant” who referred case to law firm was referral fee in violation of rule; summary judgment reversed)

Cloud Computing

No opinion available.

Technology Competency

Does not require.