Tennessee

Differences from ABA Model Rules

Rule 1.2(c) Limited ScopeSignificant Changes
Rule 5.4(a) Fee-SharingSignificant Changes
Rules 5.4(b)-(d) Non-Lawyer OwnershipSignificant Changes
Rule 5.5. Unauthorized Practice of LawSignificant Changes
Rule 5.7 Law Related ServicesSame as Model Rule
Rule 6.5 Limited Scope Same as Model Rule
Rule 7.2(b) Lawyer ReferralSignificant Changes
Cloud Computing AdvisoryNo
Technology Competency RulesYes

ABA Rule 1.2(c) (Limited Scope)

RULE 1.2: Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer


(c)   A lawyer may limit the scope of representation if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent, preferably in writing.

Relevant Comments:

[6]       The scope of services to be 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. When a lawyer 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 lawyer regards as repugnant or imprudent.

[7]      Although this Rule affords the lawyer 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 lawyer and client may agree that the lawyer’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 a lawyer 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 RPC 1.1.

[8]      All agreements concerning a lawyer’s representation of a client must accord with the Rules of Professional Conduct and other law. See, e.g., RPCs 1.1, 1.8, and 5.6.

Modified By:

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.)

Bd. of Prof. Resp. of the Sup. Ct. of Tenn. Op. 93-F-130 (1993) (An attorney may represent a client solely for the purpose of reviewing and advising on a mediated agreement for divorce when no complaint has yet been filed or when the opposing party has filed for divorce.)

Discover Bank v. McCullough, 2008 W: 248975 (Tenn. Ct. App.) (In a dispute over a bank card balance, cardholders chose to represent themselves after card issuer filed suit. The self-represented litigants mailed a response to court but then failed to appear at the hearing, which prompted the court to grant a default judgment to the card issuer. During the appeals process, the self represented filed papers not known within the jurisdiction. When the case reached the appellate court, the Court found that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction because the self represented litigants failed to file a court recognized notice. The court found that while it appreciated the difficulties encountered by self-represented litigants, it could not “abdicate its role as an impartial, neutral arbiter and become an advocate for the self-represented litigant.”)

Green v. Champs-Elysees, No. M2012-01352-COA-R3-CV, 2013 WL 1458890, 2013 BL 103687 (Tenn. Ct. App. Apr. 9, 2013) (lawyer’s assistance to pro se litigant, including drafting pleadings, may have violated ethics rules but did not amount to contempt of court); aba

Tenn. Formal Ethics Op. 2007-F-153 (2007) (lawyer may prepare pleading to assist pro se litigant in protecting right from dismissal under statute of limitations or other similar rule without disclosing assistance but may not provide further assistance without disclosure).

ABA Rule 5.4(a) (Fee-sharing)

RULE 5.4: Professional Independence of a Lawyer

(a)   A lawyer or law firm shall not share legal fees with a nonlawyer, except that:

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

(2) a lawyer who purchases the practice of a deceased, disabled, or disappeared lawyer may, pursuant to the provisions of RPC 1.17, pay to the estate or other representative of that lawyer the agreed upon purchase price;

(3) a lawyer or law firm may include nonlawyer employees in a compensation or retirement plan, even though the plan is based in whole or in part on a profit sharing arrangement;

(4) a lawyer may share a court awarded fee with a client represented in the matter or with a nonprofit organization that employed, retained, or recommended employment of the lawyer in the matter;

(5) a lawyer who is a full-time employee of a client may share a legal fee with the client to the extent necessary to reimburse the client for the actual cost to the client of permitting the lawyer to represent another client while continuing in the full time employ of the client with whom the fee will be shared; and

(6) a lawyer may pay to a registered nonprofit intermediary organization a referral fee calculated by reference to a reasonable percentage of the fee paid to the lawyer by the client referred to the lawyer by the intermediary organization.

Relevant Comments:

[1]      The provisions of this Rule express traditional limitations on sharing fees with and the co ownership of law practices by nonlawyers. These limitations are to protect the lawyer’s independence of professional 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.

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 other 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 ownership interest of the lawyer for a reasonable time during administration;

(2) a nonlawyer is a corporate director or officer thereof or occupies the 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.

Relevant Comments:

[2]      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 RPC 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 informed consent).

ABA Rule 5.5 (UPL)

RULE 5.5: Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law

(c)   A lawyer 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 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 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 lawyer’s representation of an existing client 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 within paragraphs (c)(2) or (c)(3) and arise out of or are reasonably related to the lawyer’s representation of an existing client in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice.

(d)   A lawyer admitted in another United States jurisdiction, and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services through an office or other systematic and continuous presence 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 to provide by federal law or other law of this jurisdiction.

(3) A lawyer providing legal services pursuant to paragraph (d)(1) is subject to registration pursuant to Tenn. Sup. Ct. R.7, § 10.01, and may be subject to other requirements, including assessments for client protection funds and mandatory continuing legal education. Failure to register in a timely manner may preclude the lawyer from later seeking admission in this jurisdiction.

(e)   A lawyer authorized to provide legal services in this jurisdiction pursuant to paragraph (d)(1) of this Rule may also provide pro bono legal services in this jurisdiction, provided that these services are offered through an established not for profit bar association, pro bono program or legal services program or through such organization(s) specifically authorized in this jurisdiction and provided that these are services for which the forum does not require pro hac vice admission.

(f)    A lawyer providing legal services in Tennessee pursuant to paragraph (c) or (d) shall advise the lawyer’s client that the lawyer is not admitted to practice in Tennessee and shall obtain the client’s informed consent to such representation.

(g)   A lawyer providing legal services in Tennessee pursuant to paragraph (c) or (d) shall be deemed to have submitted himself or herself to personal jurisdiction in Tennessee for claims arising out of the lawyer’s actions in providing such services in this state.

(h)   A lawyer or law firm shall not employ or continue the employment of a disbarred or suspended lawyer as an attorney, legal consultant, law clerk, paralegal or in any other position of a quasi-legal nature.

Relevant Comments:

[1]      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 court rule or order or by law to practice for a limited purpose or on a restricted basis. Paragraph (a) applies to unauthorized practice of law by a lawyer, whether through the lawyer’s direct action or by the lawyer assisting another person. For example, a lawyer may not assist a person in practicing law in violation of the rules governing professional conduct in that person’s jurisdiction.

[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 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 their work. See RPC 5.3.

[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.

[4]      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 RPCs 7.1(a) and 7.5(b).

[5]      There are occasions in which a lawyer 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. Paragraph (c) identifies four such circumstances. The fact that conduct is not so identified does not imply that the conduct is or is not 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 to practice generally here.

[6]      There is no single test to determine whether a lawyer’s services are provided on a “temporary basis” in this jurisdiction, and may therefore 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.

[7]      Paragraphs (c) and (d) apply to lawyers 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 paragraph (c) contemplates that the lawyer is authorized 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.

[8]      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.

[9]      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 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 court rule or other law of this jurisdiction requires a lawyer who is not admitted to practice in this jurisdiction to obtain admission pro hac vice before appearing before a tribunal or administrative agency, this Rule requires the lawyer to obtain that authority.

[10]   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. Examples of such conduct include meetings with the client, interviews of potential witnesses, and the review of documents. Similarly, a lawyer admitted only in another jurisdiction may engage in conduct temporarily in this jurisdiction in connection with pending litigation in another jurisdiction in which the lawyer is or reasonably expects to be authorized to appear, including taking depositions in this jurisdiction.

[11]   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.

[12]   Paragraph (c)(3) permits a lawyer 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 lawyer’s representation of an existing client in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice. The lawyer, however, must obtain admission pro hac vice in the case of a court annexed arbitration or mediation or otherwise if court rules or law so require.

[13]   Paragraph (c)(4) permits a lawyer 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 lawyer’s representation of an existing client in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted but are not within paragraphs (c)(2) or (c)(3). These services include both legal services and services that nonlawyers may perform but that are considered the practice of law when performed by lawyers.

[14]   Paragraphs (c)(3) and (c)(4) require that the services arise out of or be reasonably related to the lawyer’s representation of an existing client in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted. A variety of factors evidence such a relationship. The lawyer’s client may be resident 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. 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 lawyer in assessing the relative merits of each. Lawyers desiring to provide pro bono legal services on a temporary basis in a jurisdiction that has been affected by a major disaster, but in which they are not otherwise authorized to practice law, as well as lawyers from the affected jurisdiction who seek to practice law temporarily in another jurisdiction, but in which they are not otherwise authorized to practice law, should consult Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 47.

[15]   Paragraph (d) identifies two circumstances in which a lawyer 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. 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.

[16]   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. The 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.

[17]   [Effective January 1, 2016, RPC 5.5 was amended by moving the substance of former Comment [17] to new RPC 5.5(d)(3) (above).]

[18]   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 federal or other law, which includes statute, court rule, executive regulation or judicial precedent. See, e.g., Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 7, § 5.01(g) (Practice Pending Admission by Applicant Licensed in Another Jurisdiction).

[19]   A lawyer who practices law in this jurisdiction pursuant to paragraphs (c) or (d) or otherwise is subject to the disciplinary authority of this jurisdiction. See RPC 8.5(a). Additionally, under paragraph (g), a lawyer providing legal services in Tennessee pursuant to paragraphs (c) or (d) shall be deemed to have submitted himself or herself to personal jurisdiction in Tennessee for claims arising out of the lawyer’s actions in providing such services in this state.

[20]   Paragraph (f) requires a lawyer who practices law in this jurisdiction pursuant to paragraphs (c) or (d) to inform the client that the lawyer is not licensed to practice law in this jurisdiction. See also RPC 1.4(b).

[21]   Paragraphs (c) and (d) do not authorize communications advertising legal services in this jurisdiction by lawyers who are admitted to practice in other jurisdictions. Whether and how lawyers may communicate the availability of their services to prospective clients in this jurisdiction is governed by RPCs 7.1 to 7.5.

[22]   Paragraph (h) provides that a lawyer or law firm may not employ or continue the employment of a disbarred or suspended lawyer as an attorney, legal consultant, law clerk, paralegal or in any other position of a quasi-legal nature. That paragraph is consistent with existing Tennessee law. See Formal Ethics Opinion 83 F 50; Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 9, § 18.7 (providing, “[u]pon the effective date of the order [imposing disbarment, suspension or transfer to disability inactive status], the respondent shall not maintain a presence or occupy an office where the practice of law is conducted”).

Modified By:

Clinard v. Blackwood, 46 S.W.3d 177 (Tenn. 2001) (“It is well settled that the licensing and regulation of attorneys practicing law in courts of Tennessee is squarely within the inherent authority of the judicial branch of government.”)

In re Burson, 909 S.W.2d 768 (Tenn. 1995) (upholding statute permitting nonlawyers to represent taxpayers contesting assessment of real and personal property before boards of equalization when legal issues are not addressed in such proceedings).

In re Clemmons, 151 B.R. 860 (Bankr. M.D. Tenn. 1993);

In re Kincaid, 146 B.R. 387 (Bankr. W.D. Tenn. 1992).

Other Definitions:

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED, TITLE 23. ATTORNEYS-AT-LAW

CHAPTER 3. UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE AND IMPROPER CONDUCT

PART 1–GENERAL PROVISIONS

§23-3-101. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires: (1) “Law business” means the advising or counseling for a valuable consideration of any person, firm, association, or corporation, as to any secular law, or the drawing or the procuring of or assisting in the drawing for a valuable consideration of any paper, document or instrument affecting or relating to secular rights, or the doing of any act for a valuable consideration in a representative capacity, obtaining or tending to secure for any person, firm, association or corporation any property or property rights whatsoever, or the soliciting of clients directly or indirectly to provide such services; and (2) “Practice of law” means the appearance as an advocate in a representative capacity or the drawing of papers, pleadings or documents or the performance of any act in such capacity in connection with proceedings pending or prospective before any court, commissioner, referee or any body, board, committee or commission constituted by law or having authority to settle controversies, or the soliciting of clients directly or indirectly to provide such services.

ABA Rule 5.7 (Law Related Services)

Same as Model Rule.

Relevant Comments:

[1]      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.

[2]      RPC 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 whether the law related services are performed through a law firm or a separate entity. The Rule identifies the circumstances in which all of the 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 of whether the conduct involves the provision of legal services. See, e.g., RPC 8.4.

[3]      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 in providing the law related services must adhere to the requirements of the 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 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.

[4]      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, the 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 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.

[5]      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 RPC 1.8(a).

[6]      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 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 before entering into an agreement for provision of or providing law related services, and preferably should be in writing.

[7]      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.

[8]      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 RPC 5.3, that of nonlawyer employees in the distinct entity that the lawyer controls comply in all respects with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

[9]      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.

[10]   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 (RPCs 1.7 through 1.11, especially RPCs 1.7(a)(2) and 1.8(a), (b) and (f)), and to scrupulously adhere to the requirements of RPC 1.6 relating to disclosure of confidential information. The promotion of the law related services must also in all respects comply with RPCs 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.

[11]   When the full protections of all of the 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 RPC 8.4 (Misconduct).

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

Same as Model Rule.

[1]      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 assist persons to 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 is established, but 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., RPCs 1.7, 1.9, and 1.10.

[2]      A lawyer 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 RPC 1.2(c). 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 Rules of Professional Conduct, including RPCs 1.6 and 1.9(c), are applicable to the limited representation.

[3]      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 RPCs 1.7 or 1.9(a) only if the lawyer knows that the representation presents a conflict of interest for the lawyer, and with RPC 1.10 only if the lawyer knows that another lawyer in the lawyer’s firm is disqualified by RPCs 1.7 or 1.9(a) in the matter.

[4]      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 RPC 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 RPC 1.10 when the lawyer knows that the lawyer’s firm is disqualified by RPCs 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.

[5]      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, RPCs 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 or

publicizing the lawyer’s services except that a lawyer may pay for the following:

(1) the reasonable costs of advertisements permitted by this Rule;

(2) the usual charges of a registered intermediary organization as permitted by RPC 7.6;

(3) a sponsorship fee or a contribution to a charitable or other non profit organization in return for which the lawyer will be given publicity as a lawyer; or

(4) a law practice in accordance with RPC 1.17.

Cloud Computing

No opinion available.

Technology Competency

Comment 8 (formerly 6) amended

To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education, and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.