Change Log Entries
Differences from ABA Model Rules
|Rule 1.2(c) Limited Scope||Same as Model Rule|
|Rule 5.4(a) Fee-Sharing||Same as Model Rule|
|Rules 5.4(b)-(d) Non-Lawyer Ownership||Same as Model Rule|
|Rule 5.5. Unauthorized Practice of Law||Significant Changes|
|Rule 5.7 Law Related Services||Same as Model Rule|
|Rule 6.5 Limited Scope||Minor Clerical Changes|
|Rule 7.2(b) Lawyer Referral||Minor Clerical Changes|
|Cloud Computing Advisory||No|
|Technology Competency Rules||Yes (change 9/2019)|
ABA Rule 1.2(c) (Limited Scope)
Same as Model Rule.
SERVICES LIMITED IN OBJECTIVES OR MEANS The objectives or scope of services provided by a lawyer may be limited by agreement with the client or by the terms under which the lawyer’s services are made available to the client. For example, a retainer may be for a specifically defined purpose. Representation provided through a legal-aid agency may be subject to limitations on the types of cases the agency handles. When a lawyer has been retained by an insurer to represent an insured, the representation may be limited to matters related to the insurance coverage. The terms upon which representation is undertaken may exclude specific objectives or means. Such limitations may exclude objectives or means that the lawyer regards as repugnant or imprudent. An agreement concerning the scope of representation must accord with the Rules of Professional Conduct and other law. Thus, the client may not be asked to agree to representation so limited in scope as to violate Rule 1.1, or to surrender the right to terminate the lawyer’s services or the right to settle litigation that the lawyer might wish to continue.
REASONABLE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES Factors to weigh in deciding whether the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances according to the facts communicated to the attorney include the apparent capacity of the person to proceed effectively with the limited scope assistance given the complexity and type of matter and other self-help resources available. For example, some self-represented persons may seek objectives that are inconsistent with an attorney’s obligation under the Rules of Professional Conduct, or assert claims or defenses pursuant to pleadings or motions that would, if signed by an attorney, violate MCR 1.109. Attorneys must be reasonably diligent to ensure a limited scope representation does not advance improper objectives, and the commentary should help inform lawyers of these considerations.
State Bar of Michigan Op. RI-301 (1997) When no confidential information has been divulged and the participant of apro se self-help clinic has signed an agreement where the legal services agency disavows legal representation, no client-lawyer relationship is established. The legal services agency that provides the clinic is not disqualified from representing a party to litigation when the litigation has been filed by a participant in the clinic.
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 Michigan Op. RI-348 (2010) After consultation with the client, a lawyer may ethically limit the scope of representation in the context of Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings. The lawyer must provide competent representation to the client in light of the proposed limitations and the proposed limitations may not violate other law.
Mich. Informal Ethics Op. RI-358 (2013) (lawyer may, as condition of representation of one client, agree to limit scope of representation of other existing and potential future clients if lawyer determines she may provide competent representation to other clients and obtains their informed consent)
ABA Rule 5.4(a) (Fee-sharing)
Same as Model Rule.
The provisions of this rule express traditional limitations on sharing fees. These limitations are to protect the lawyer’s professional independence of judgment. Where someone other than the client pays the lawyer’s fee or salary, or recommends employment of the lawyer, that arrangement does not modify the lawyer’s obligation to the client. As stated in paragraph (c), such arrangements should not interfere with the lawyer’s professional judgment.
In re Bass, 227 B.R. 103 (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 1998) (law firm tied legal assistants’ compensation to number of bankruptcy petitions firm filed)
Morris & Doherty, P.C. v. Lockwood, 672 N.W.2d 884 (Mich. Ct. App. 2003) (for purposes of fee-sharing rule, law professor on inactive status treated as nonlawyer)
ABA Rule 5.4(b – d) Non-lawyer ownership
Rule: 5.4 Professional Independence of a Lawyer
(d) A lawyer shall not practice with or in the form of a professional corporation or association authorized to practice law for a profit, if:
(1) a nonlawyer owns any interest therein, except that a fiduciary representative of the estate of a lawyer may hold the stock or interest of the lawyer for a reasonable time during administration;
(2) a nonlawyer is a corporate director or officer thereof, or one who occupies a position of similar responsibility in any form of association other than a corporation; or
(3) a nonlawyer has the right to direct or control the professional judgment of a lawyer.
This rule also expresses traditional limitations on permitting a third party to direct or regulate the lawyer’s professional judgment in rendering legal services to another. See also Rule 1.8(f) (lawyer may accept compensation from a third party as long as there is no interference with the lawyer’s independent professional judgment and the client gives consent.
Mich. Informal Ethics Op. RI-225 (1995) (lawyer licensed in both Michigan and D.C. may obtain financial interest in D.C. firm owned in part by nonlawyer)
ABA Rule 5.5 (UPL)
Rule: 5.5 Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law
(a) A lawyer 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) A lawyer who is not admitted to practice in this jurisdiction shall not:
(1) except as authorized by law or these rules, 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 lawyer is admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction.
(c) A lawyer admitted in another jurisdiction of the United States and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction may provide temporary legal services in this jurisdiction that:
(1) are undertaken in association with a lawyer 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 lawyer or a person the lawyer is assisting is authorized by law 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 lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or
(4) are not covered by paragraphs (c)(2) or (c)(3) and arise out of or are reasonably related to the lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice.
(d) A lawyer admitted in another jurisdiction of the United States and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction may provide legal services in this jurisdiction that:
(1) are provided to the lawyer’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 lawyer is authorized by law to provide in this jurisdiction.
A lawyer may practice law only in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is authorized to practice. A lawyer may be admitted to practice law in a jurisdiction on a regular basis or may be authorized by law, order, or court rule to practice for a limited purpose or on a restricted basis. See, for example, MCR 8.126, which permits, under certain circumstances, the temporary admission to the bar of a person who is licensed to practice law in another jurisdiction, and Rule 5(E) of the Rules for the Board of Law Examiners, which permits a lawyer who is admitted to practice in a foreign country to practice in Michigan as a special legal consultant, without examination, provided certain conditions are met. Paragraph (a) applies to the unauthorized practice of law by a lawyer, whether through the lawyer’s direct action or by the lawyer assisting another person. 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 a lawyer from employing the services of paraprofessionals and delegating functions to them, so long as the lawyer supervises the delegated work and retains responsibility for it. See Rule 5.3. A lawyer may provide professional advice and instruction to nonlawyers whose employment requires knowledge of the law, for example, claims adjusters, employees of financial or commercial institutions, social workers, accountants and persons employed in government agencies.Lawyers also may assist independent nonlawyers, such as paraprofessionals, who are authorized by the law of a jurisdiction to provide particular law-related services. In addition, a lawyer may counsel nonlawyers who wish to proceed pro se.
Other than as authorized by law or this rule, a lawyer who is not admitted to practice generally in this jurisdiction violates paragraph (b) if the lawyer 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 lawyer is not physically present here. Such a lawyer must not hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the lawyer is admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction. See also Rules 7.1(a) and 7.5(b).
There are occasions on which a lawyer admitted to practice in another jurisdiction of the United States 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 clients, the public, or the courts. Paragraph (c) identifies four such circumstances. The fact that conduct is not so identified does not indicate whether the conduct is authorized. With the exception of paragraphs (d)(1) and (d)(2), this rule does not authorize a lawyer to establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction without being admitted here to practice generally.
There is no single test to determine whether a lawyer’s services are provided on a “temporary basis” in this jurisdiction and, therefore, may be permissible under paragraph (c). Services may be “temporary” even though the lawyer provides services in this jurisdiction on a recurring basis or for an extended period of time, as when the lawyer is representing a client in a single lengthy negotiation or litigation.
Paragraphs (c) and (d) apply to lawyers who are admitted to practice law in any jurisdiction of the United States, including the District of Columbia and any state, territory, or commonwealth. The word “admitted” in paragraph (c) contemplates that the lawyer is authorized to practice and is in good standing to practice in the jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted and excludes a lawyer who, while technically admitted, is not authorized to practice because, for example, the lawyer is on inactive status or is suspended for nonpayment of dues.
Paragraph (c)(1) recognizes that the interests of clients and the public are protected if a lawyer admitted only in another jurisdiction associates with a lawyer licensed to practice in this jurisdiction. For this paragraph to apply, however, the lawyer admitted to practice in this jurisdiction must actively participate in and share responsibility for the representation of the client.
Lawyers 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, such as MCR 8.126, or pursuant to informal practice of the tribunal or agency. Under paragraph (c)(2), a lawyer does not violate this rule when the lawyer appears before a tribunal or agency pursuant to such authority. To the extent that a law or court rule of this jurisdiction requires that a lawyer who is not admitted to practice in this jurisdiction obtain admission pro hac vice before appearing before a tribunal or administrative agency, this rule requires the lawyer to obtain that authority.
Paragraph (c)(2) also provides that a lawyer rendering services in this jurisdiction on a temporary basis does not violate this rule when the lawyer engages in conduct in anticipation of a proceeding or hearing in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is authorized to practice law or in which the lawyer reasonably expects to be admitted pro hac vice under MCR 8.126. Examples of such conduct include meetings with a client, interviews of potential witnesses, and the review of documents. Similarly, a lawyer admitted only in another jurisdiction may engage temporarily in this jurisdiction in conduct related to pending litigation in another jurisdiction in which the lawyer is or reasonably expects to be authorized to appear, including taking depositions in this jurisdiction.
When a lawyer has been or reasonably expects to be admitted to appear before a court or administrative agency, paragraph (c)(2) also permits conduct by lawyers who are associated with that lawyer in the matter but who do not expect to appear before the court or administrative agency. For example, subordinate lawyers may conduct research, review documents, and attend meetings with witnesses in support of the lawyer responsible for the litigation.
Paragraph (c)(3) permits a lawyer admitted to practice law in another jurisdiction to perform services on a temporary basis in this jurisdiction, provided that those services are in or are reasonably related to a pending or potential arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution proceeding in this or another jurisdiction and the services arise out of or are reasonably related to the lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice. The lawyer, however, must obtain admission pro hac vice under MCR 8.126 in the case of a court-annexed arbitration or mediation, or otherwise if required by court rule or law.
Paragraph (c)(4) permits a lawyer admitted in another jurisdiction to provide certain legal services on a temporary basis in this jurisdiction if they arise out of or are reasonably related to the lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted but are not covered by paragraphs (c)(2) or (c)(3). These services include both legal services and services performed by nonlawyers that would be considered the practice of law if performed by lawyers.
Paragraphs (c)(3) and (c)(4) require that the services arise out of or be reasonably related to the lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted. A variety of factors indicate such a relationship. The lawyer’s client previously may have been represented by the lawyer or may reside in or have substantial contacts with the jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted. The matter, although involving other jurisdictions, may have a significant connection with that jurisdiction. In other cases, significant aspects of the lawyer’s work may be conducted in that jurisdiction or a significant aspect of the matter may involve the law of that jurisdiction. The necessary relationship may 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 the corporation’s lawyer in assessing the relative merits of each. In addition, the services may draw on the lawyer’s recognized expertise, as 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.
Paragraph (d) identifies two circumstances in which a lawyer who is admitted to practice in another jurisdiction of the United States 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 to provide legal services on a temporary basis. Except as provided in paragraphs (d)(1) and (d)(2), a lawyer who is admitted to practice law in another jurisdiction and who establishes an office or other systematic or continuous presence in this jurisdiction must become admitted to practice law generally in this jurisdiction.
Paragraph (d)(1) applies to a lawyer 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 paragraph does not authorize the provision of personal legal services to the employer’s officers or employees. This paragraph applies to in-house corporate lawyers, government lawyers, and others who are employed to render legal services to the employer. The lawyer’s ability to represent the employer outside the jurisdiction in which the lawyer 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 lawyer’s qualifications and the quality of the lawyer’s work.
If an employed lawyer establishes an office or other systematic presence in this jurisdiction for the purpose of rendering legal services to the employer, the lawyer may be subject to registration or other requirements, including assessments for client protection funds and mandatory continuing legal education.
Paragraph (d)(2) recognizes that a lawyer may provide legal services in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is not licensed when authorized to do so by statute, court rule, executive regulation, or judicial precedent.
A lawyer who practices law in this jurisdiction is subject to the disciplinary authority of this jurisdiction. See Rule 8.5(a).
In some circumstances, a lawyer who practices law in this jurisdiction pursuant to paragraphs (c) or (d) may be required to inform the client that the lawyer is not licensed to practice law in this jurisdiction. For example, such disclosure may be required when the representation occurs primarily in this jurisdiction and requires knowledge of the law of this jurisdiction. See Rule 1.4(b).
Paragraphs (c) and (d) do not authorize lawyers who are admitted to practice in other jurisdictions to advertise legal services to prospective clients in this jurisdiction. Whether and how lawyers may communicate the availability of their services to prospective clients in this jurisdiction is governed by Rules 7.1 to 7.5.
Michigan Informal Ethics Op. RI-349 (2010) (lawyer may have paralegal communicate with clients as long as paralegal’s role does not “involve the exercise of legal judgment”)
Att’y Grievance Comm’n v. Maignan, 31 A.3d 467 (Md. 2011) (suspended lawyer continued to advise client and held himself out as able to practice law)
In re Bright, 171 B.R. 799 (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 1994) (disclaimer that nonlawyer provides merely “scrivener” or “paralegal” services is irrelevant if he is in fact engaging in unauthorized practice of law)
In re Desilets, 291 F.3d 925 (6th Cir. 2002) (Texas lawyer with office in Michigan may practice before bankruptcy court in Western District of Michigan even though not admitted to Michigan state court, because lawyer admitted to practice before U.S. District Court for Western District of Michigan).
In re Pinkins, 213 B.R. 818 (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 1997) (although lawyers may delegate certain activities to nonlawyers, lawyer must have direct client contact; lack of such contact “precludes proper delegation”).
Dressel v. Ameribank, 635 N.W.2d 328 (Mich.App. 2001) (Michigan law prohibits the unauthorized practice of law by individuals. MCL 600.916. Moreover, M.C.L. § 450.681 specifically enjoins corporations from practicing law without a license. . . . However, these statutes fail to define precisely what constitutes the “practice of law.” Rather, such determinations have been left to the discretion of the courts.
This Court agrees with the majority opinion of the states that charging a fee can take an otherwise incidental act into the realm of the unauthorized practice of law.)
ABA Rule 5.7 (Law Related Services)
Same as Model Rule.
When a lawyer performs law-related services or controls an organization that does so, there exists the potential for ethical problems. Principal among these is the possibility that the person for whom the law-related services are performed fails to understand that the services may not carry with them the protections normally afforded as part of the client-lawyer relationship. The recipient of the law-related services may expect, for example, that the protection of client confidences, prohibitions against representation of persons with conflicting interests, and obligations of a lawyer to maintain professional independence apply to the provision of law-related services when that may not be the case.
Rule 5.7 applies to the provision of law-related services by a lawyer even when the lawyer does not provide any legal services to the person for whom the law-related services are performed, and regardless of whether the law-related services are performed through a law firm or a separate entity. This rule identifies the circumstances in which all the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct apply to the provision of law-related services. Even when those circumstances do not exist, however, the conduct of a lawyer involved in the provision of law-related services is subject to those rules that apply generally to lawyer conduct, regardless whether the conduct involves the provision of legal services. See, e.g., Rule 8.4.
When law-related services are provided by a lawyer under circumstances that are not distinct from the lawyer’s provision of legal services to clients, the lawyer providing the law-related services must adhere to the requirements of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct as provided in paragraph (a)(1). Even when the law-related and legal services are provided in circumstances that are distinct from each other, for example through separate entities or different support staff within the law firm, the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct apply to the lawyer as provided in paragraph (a)(2) unless the lawyer takes reasonable measures to assure that the recipient of the law-related services knows that the services are not legal services and that the protections of the client-lawyer relationship do not apply.
Law-related services also may be provided through an entity that is distinct from that through which the lawyer provides legal services. If the lawyer individually or with others has control of such an entity’s operations, this rule requires the lawyer to take reasonable measures to assure that each person using the services of the entity knows that the services provided by the entity are not legal services and that the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct that relate to the client-lawyer relationship do not apply. A lawyer’s control of an entity extends to the ability to direct its operation. Whether a lawyer has such control will depend upon the circumstances of the particular case.
When a client-lawyer relationship exists with a person who is referred by a lawyer to a separate law-related service entity controlled by the lawyer, individually or with others, the lawyer must comply with Rule 1.8(a).
In taking the reasonable measures referred to in paragraph (a)(2) to assure that a person using law-related services understands the practical effect or significance of the inapplicability of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, the lawyer should communicate to the person receiving the law-related services, in a manner sufficient to assure that the person understands the significance of the fact, that the relationship of the person to the business entity will not be a client-lawyer relationship. The communication should be made, preferably in writing, before law-related services are provided or before an agreement is reached for provision of such services.
The burden is upon the lawyer to show that the lawyer has taken reasonable measures under the circumstances to communicate the desired understanding. For instance, a sophisticated user of law-related services, such as a publicly held corporation, may require a lesser explanation than someone unaccustomed to making distinctions between legal services and law-related services, such as an individual seeking tax advice from a lawyer-accountant or investigative services in connection with a lawsuit.
Regardless of the sophistication of potential recipients of law-related services, a lawyer should take special care to keep separate the provision of law-related and legal services in order to minimize the risk that the recipient will assume that the law-related services are legal services. The risk of such confusion is especially acute when the lawyer renders both types of services with respect to the same matter. Under some circumstances, the legal and law-related services may be so closely entwined that they cannot be distinguished from each other, and the requirement of disclosure and consultation imposed by paragraph (a)(2) of the rule cannot be met. In such a case, a lawyer will be responsible for assuring that both the lawyer’s conduct and, to the extent required by Rule 5.3, that of nonlawyer employees in the distinct entity that the lawyer controls, comply in all respects with the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct.
A broad range of economic and other interests of clients may be served by lawyers’ engaging in the delivery of law-related services. Examples of law-related services include providing title insurance, financial planning, accounting, trust services, real estate counseling, legislative lobbying, economic analysis, social work, psychological counseling, tax preparation, and patent, medical, or environmental consulting.
When a lawyer is obliged to accord the recipients of such services the protections of those rules that apply to the client-lawyer relationship, the lawyer must take special care to heed the proscriptions of the rules addressing conflicts of interest, and to scrupulously adhere to the requirements of Rule 1.6 relating to disclosure of confidential information. The promotion of the law-related services must also in all respects comply with Rules 7.1 through 7.3, dealing with advertising and solicitation. In that regard, lawyers should take special care to identify the obligations that may be imposed as a result of a jurisdiction’s decisional law.
When the full protections of all the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct do not apply to the provision of law-related services, principles of law external to the rules, for example, the law of principal and agent, govern the legal duties owed to those receiving the services. Those other legal principles may establish a different degree of protection for the recipient with respect to confidentiality of information, conflicts of interest, and permissible business relationships with clients. See also Rule 8.4 (Misconduct).
Mich. Informal Ethics Op. RI-363 (2013) (law-related services do not include provision of basic administrative services normally associated with supporting law office; lawyer may not set up separate entity to charge clients for basic administrative costs)
ABA Rule 6.5 (Court annexed/Non-profit limited scope)
Same as Model Rule. Titled under Rule 6.6.
Legal services organizations, courts, and various nonprofit organizations have established programs through which lawyers provide short-term limited legal services, such as advice or the completion of legal forms, that will help persons address their legal problems without further representation by a lawyer. In these programs, such as legal-advice hotlines, advice-only clinics, or pro se counseling programs, a client-lawyer relationship may or may not be established as a matter of law, but regardless there is no expectation that the lawyer’s representation of the client will continue beyond the limited consultation. Such programs are normally operated under circumstances in which it is not feasible for a lawyer to systematically screen for conflicts of interest as is generally required before undertaking a representation. See, e.g., Rules 1.7, 1.9, and 1.10.
A lawyer who provides short-term limited legal services pursuant to this rule must secure the client’s consent to the scope of the representation. See Rule 1.2. If a short-term limited representation would not be reasonable under the circumstances, the lawyer may offer advice to the client but must also advise the client of the need for further assistance of counsel. Except as provided in this rule, the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, including Rules 1.6 and 1.9(c), are applicable to the limited representation.
Because a lawyer who is representing a client in the circumstances addressed by this rule ordinarily is not able to check systematically for conflicts of interest, paragraph (a) requires compliance with Rules 1.7 or 1.9(a) only if the lawyer knows that the representation presents a conflict of interest for the lawyer, and with Rule 1.10 only if the lawyer knows that another lawyer in the lawyer’s firm is disqualified by Rules 1.7 or 1.9(a) in the matter.
Because the limited nature of the services significantly reduces the risk of conflicts of interest with other matters being handled by the lawyer’s firm, paragraph (b) provides that Rule 1.10 is inapplicable to a representation governed by this rule except as provided by paragraph (a)(2). Paragraph (a)(2) requires the participating lawyer to comply with Rule 1.10 when the lawyer knows that the lawyer’s firm is disqualified by Rules 1.7 or 1.9(a). By virtue of paragraph (b), however, a lawyer’s participation in a short-term limited legal services program will not preclude the lawyer’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 a lawyer participating in the program be imputed to other lawyers participating in the program.If, after commencing a short-term limited representation in accordance with this rule, a lawyer undertakes to represent the client in the matter on an ongoing basis, Rules 1.7, 1.9(a), and 1.10 become applicable.
ABA Rule 7.2(b) (Lawyer referral)
Rule: 7.2 Advertising
(c) A lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services, except that a lawyer may:
(i) pay the reasonable cost of advertising or communication permitted by this rule;
(ii) participate in, and pay the usual charges of, a not-for -profit lawyer referral service or other legal service organization that satisfies the requirements of Rule 6.3(b); and
(iii) pay for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17.
A lawyer is allowed to pay for advertising permitted by these rules and for the purchase of a law practice in accordance with the provisions of MRPC 1.17, but otherwise is not permitted to pay another person for channeling professional work. But see MRPC 1.5(e). This restriction does not prevent an organization or person other than the lawyer from advertising or recommending the lawyer’s services. Thus, a legal aid agency or prepaid legal services plan may pay to advertise legal services provided under its auspices. Likewise, a lawyer may participate in not-for -profit lawyer referral programs and pay the usual fees charged by such programs. Paragraph (c) does not prohibit paying regular compensation to an assistant, such as a secretary, to prepare communications permitted by these rules.
Mich. Informal Ethics Op. RI-365 (2013) (lawyer may not participate in for-profit marketing website that charges lawyer per blind referral generated when viewer selects lawyer’s area of concentration)
Mich. Informal Ethics Op. RI-366 (2014) (group coupon arrangement in which percentage of legal services coupon purchase price is retained by marketing company constitutes impermissible fee-sharing with nonlawyer).
No available opinions.
Comment to Rule 1.1
Thoroughness and Preparation. [Unchanged.]
To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should engage in continuing study and education, including the knowledge and skills regarding existing and developing technology that are reasonably necessary to provide competent representation for the client in a particular matter. If a system of peer review has been established, the lawyer should consider making use of it in appropriate circumstances.