Utah

Innovation of Note

Utah, starting in 2019, will have Licensed Paralegal Practitioners.

In late 2018, the Utah Supreme Court, at the request of the Utah Bar, ordered the creation of a working group to study the legal regulatory infrastructure in Utah and make recommendations to optimize it for innovation.

Differences from ABA Model Rules

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

ABA Rule 1.2(c) (Limited Scope)

Same as Model Rule.

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 were 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 Rule 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., Rules 1.1, 1.8 and 5.6.

Modified By:

Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Op. Comm. Op. 08-01 (2008) (A lawyer may provide legal assistance to litigants appearing before tribunals pro se and help them prepare written submissions without disclosing or ensuring the disclosure to others of the nature or extent of such assistance. Undertaking to provide limited legal help does not generally alter any other aspect of the attorney’s professional responsibilities to the client.)

Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Op. Comm. Op. 02-10 (2002) (It is permissible for an attorney to review the contents of a divorce agreement resulting from mediation on behalf of one party and inform that party about the options and advisability of the agreement. However, it is inappropriate to for an attorney to limit his or her services to assisting in the drafting of pleading and failing to advise about the relevant law.)

Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Op. Comm. Op. 96-12 (1996) (Is not unethical for attorney to use a 900 number to give legal advice to paying clients. A disclaimer of the attorney-client relationship may be effective, but only if caller has no expectation that such relationship would be created by call. However, if legal advice is sought, if the advice is pertinent to the attorney’s profession, and the attorney gives advice for which a fee is charged, the attorney-client relationship has been established and it may not be disclaimed by the attorney giving the advice.)

Young v. Bridwell, 437 P.2d 686 (Utah 1968) (lawyer retained to conduct trial had no duty to advise clients whether to appeal)

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:

(a)(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;

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

(a)(2)(ii) a lawyer who undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a deceased lawyer may pay to the estate of the deceased lawyer that proportion of the total compensation which fairly represents the services rendered by the deceased lawyer; and

(a)(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.

Relevant Comments:

[1] 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.

[2a] Paragraph (a)(4) of the ABA Model Rule was not adopted because it is inconsistent with the provisions of Rule 7.2(b), which prohibit the sharing of attorney’s fees. Rule 5.4(e) addresses a lawyer practicing in a non-profit corporation that serves the public interest. There is no similar provision in the ABA Model Rules.

Modified By:

Utah Ethics Op. 02-07 (2002) (nonlawyer compensation plan may include legal fees if amounts not tied to specific cases)

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

Rule 5.4. Professional Independence of a Lawyer.

(e) A lawyer may practice in a non-profit corporation which is established to serve the public interest provided that the nonlawyer directors and officers of such corporation do not interfere with the independent professional judgment of the lawyer.

Relevant Comments:

[2] The 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 informed consent)

Modified By:

Utah Ethics Op. 00-03 (2000) (may not enter partnership with nonlawyer to help clients challenge real estate tax assessments; representation of taxpayers in tax commission proceedings is ““practice of law” under Rule 5.4(b))

Utah Ethics Op. 02-01 (2002) (lawyer may fund contingent-fee litigation with loan on which he is sole obligor, but may not grant lender security interest in fee; collecting opinions from other jurisdictions)

ABA Rule 5.5 (UPL)

Rule 5.5. Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law.

(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 without admission to the Utah State Bar if:

(d)(1) the services are provided to the lawyer’s employer or its organizational affiliates while the lawyer has a pending application for admission to the Utah State Bar and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or

(d)(2) the services provided are authorized by specific federal or Utah law or by applicable rule.

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’s 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. The “practice of law” in Utah is defined in Rule 14-802(b)(1), Authorization to Practice Law, of the Supreme Court Rules of Professional Practice. 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 Rule 5.3.

[2a] The Utah rule modifies the second sentence of ABA Comment [2] to reflect and be consistent with Rule 14‑802(b)(1), Authorization to Practice Law, of the Supreme Court Rules of Professional Practice, which both defines the “practice of law” and expressly authorizes nonlawyers to engage in some aspects of the practice of law as long as their activities are confined to the categories of services specified in that rule.

[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)(1) 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).

[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 paragraphs (c) and (d) 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 practice 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 practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted but are not within paragraphs (c)(2) or (c)(3).

[13a] The last sentence in Comment [13] to ABA Model Rule 5.5 has been omitted to comport with Utah’s definition of the “practice of law” in Rule 14‑802(b)(1).

[14] 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 evidence such a relationship. The lawyer’s client may have been previously represented by the lawyer or 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. In other cases, significant aspects of the lawyer’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 lawyer in assessing the relative merits of each. In addition, the services may draw on the lawyer’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] 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.

[15a] Utah’s Rule 5.5(d) differs from the ABA Model Rule by requiring a person providing services to the lawyer’s employer to have submitted an application for admission to the Bar, such as an application for admission of attorney applicants under Supreme Court Rules of Professional Practice, Rule 14-704; admission by motion under Rule 14-705; or admission as House Counsel under Rule 14-719.

[15b] Utah Rule 5.5 does not adopt the ABA’s provisions dealing with foreign lawyers, as other rules in Article 7 of the Rules Governing the Utah State Bar cover this matter.

[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] If an employed lawyer establishes an office or other systematic presence in this jurisdiction for the purpose of rendering legal services to the employer under paragraph (d)(1), the lawyer is subject to Utah admission and licensing requirements, including assessments for annual licensing fees and client protection funds, and mandatory continuing legal education.

[18] Paragraph (d)(2) recognizes that a lawyer may provide legal services in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is not licensed when authorized  federal or other law, which includes statute, court rule, executive regulation or judicial precedent.

[18a] The Utah version of Paragraph (d)(2) clarifies that a lawyer not admitted to practice in Utah may provide legal services under that paragraph only if the lawyer can cite specific federal or state law or an applicable rule that authorizes the services.  See, e.g., Rule DUCivR 83‑1.1, Rules of Practice of the United States District Court of the District of Utah; Rule 14‑804 of the Supreme Court Rules of Professional Practice, admission for military-lawyer practice; Rule 14-719(d)(2), which provides a six-month period during which an in-house counsel is authorized to practice before submitting a House Counsel application; practice as a patent attorney before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

[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 Rule 8.5(a).

[20] In some circumstances, a lawyer who practices law in this jurisdiction pursuant to paragraphs (c) or (d) may have to inform the client that the lawyer 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 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 in this jurisdiction are governed by Rules 7.1 to 7.5.

Modified By:

Rule 14-802 of the Rules Governing the Utah State Bar creates an exception to the authorization to practice law for an Licensed Paralegal Practitioner.

In re Sonnenreich, 86 P.3d 712 (Utah 2004) (lawyer suspended for nonpayment of licensing fees may not be disciplined for unauthorized practice unless lawyer had actual notice of suspension)

Utah State Bar v. Summerhayes &  Hayden, 905 P.2d 867 (Utah 1995) (“practice of third-party adjusting by public adjusters falls clearly within the definition of the practice of law”)

Spencer v. Utah State Bar, 293 P.3d 360 (Utah 2012) (upholding admission-on-motion rule against statutory and constitutional challenges and denying admission to applicant who had not practiced at least three of five preceding years in reciprocal jurisdiction)

Other Definitions:

Board of Com’rs of Utah State Bar v. Petersen, 937 P.2d 1263 (Utah 1997)

Although “the practice of law” has not been exactly defined, an “ordinary reader” would understand that certain services, when performed on someone else’s behalf, are part of such practice. Such services would include not only appearing in court, but also drafting complaints, drafting or negotiating contracts, drafting wills, counseling or giving advice on legal matters, and many other things. In Utah State Bar v. Summerhayes & Hayden, Public Adjusters, 905 P.2d 867 (Utah 1995), this court, while noting that “[w]hat constitutes the practice of law in any given situation requires a case-by-case decision,” stated:

The practice of law, although difficult to define precisely, is generally acknowledged to involve the rendering of services that require the knowledge and application of legal principles to serve the interests of another with his consent. It not only consists of performing services in the courts of justice throughout the various stages of a matter, but in a larger sense involves counseling, advising, and assisting others in connection with their legal rights, duties, and liabilities. It also includes the preparation of contracts and other legal instruments by which legal rights and duties are fixed.

Id. at 869-70 (citations omitted). Further, when such services are performed for a fee, it is even more likely that they constitute the practice of law. In Nelson v. Smith, 107 Utah 382, 154 P.2d 634 (1944), this court stated that “[t]he practice of law, though impossible of exact definition, involves the carrying on of the calling of an attorney usually for gain. ” Id. at 389, 154 P.2d 634. The court further stated that an element of the practice of law is “the rendering of legal service or the giving of legal advice to another usually for gain.” Id. at 390, 154 P.2d 634.

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] 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 whether the law-related services are performed through a law firm or a separate entity. This 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., Rule 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 ensure 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, this Rule requires the lawyer to take reasonable measures to ensure 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 Rule 1.8(a).

[6] In taking the reasonable measures referred to in paragraph (a)(2) to ensure 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 ensure 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 this Rule cannot be met. In such a case a lawyer will be responsible for ensuring 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 complies 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 conflict of interest (Rules 1.7 through 1.11, especially Rules 1.7(a)(2) and 1.8(a), (b) and (f)), and to adhere scrupulously 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.

[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 Rule 8.4 (Misconduct).

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 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. Rules 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 Rule 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 Rule 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 Rule 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.

[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 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.

[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, Rules 1.7, 1.9(a) and 1.10 become applicable.

Modified By:

Utah Ethics Op. 08-01 (2008) (reasoning that if rules’ drafters wanted to prohibit undisclosed assistance to pro se litigants, “Rule 6.5 would have been a likely place” to do so

ABA Rule 7.2(b) (Lawyer referral)

Rule 7.2. Advertising.

(f) A lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services, except that a lawyer may pay the reasonable cost of advertising permitted by these Rules and may pay the usual charges of a lawyer referral service or other legal service plan.

Relevant Comments:

[5] Except as permitted by Paragraph (f), lawyers are not permitted to pay others for recommending the lawyer’s services or for channeling professional work in a manner that violates Rule 7.3. A communication contains a recommendation if it endorses or vouches for a lawyer’s credentials, abilities, competence, character, or other professional qualities. Paragraph (f), however, allows a lawyer to pay for advertising and communications permitted by this Rule, including the costs of print directory listings, on-line directory listings, newspaper ads, television and radio airtime, domain-name registrations, sponsorship fees, Internet-based advertisements and group advertising. A lawyer may compensate employees, agents and vendors who are engaged to provide marketing or client-development services, such as publicists, public-relations personnel, business-development staff and website designers. Moreover, a lawyer may pay others for generating client leads, such as Internet-based client leads, as long as the lead generator does not recommend the lawyer, and any payment to the lead generator is consistent with the lawyer’s obligations under these rules. To comply with Rule 7.1, a lawyer must not pay a lead generator that states, implies, or creates a reasonable impression that it is recommending the lawyer, is making the referral without payment from the lawyer, or has analyzed a person’s legal problems when determining which lawyer should receive the referral. See Rule 5.3 (duties of lawyers and law firms with respect to the conduct of non-lawyers); Rule 8.4(a) (duty to avoid violating the Rules through the acts of another).

[6] A lawyer may pay the usual charges of a legal service plan or a lawyer referral service. A legal service plan is a prepaid or group legal service plan or a similar delivery system that assists prospective clients to secure legal representation. A lawyer referral service, on the other hand, is an organization that holds itself out to the public to provide referrals to lawyers with appropriate experience in the subject matter of the representation. No fee generating referral may be made to any lawyer or firm that has an ownership interest in, or who operates or is employed by, the lawyer referral service, or who is associated with a firm that has an ownership interest in, or operates or is employed by, the lawyer referral service.

[7] A lawyer who accepts assignments or referral from a legal service plan or referrals from a lawyer referral service must act reasonably to assure that the activities of the plan or service are compatible with the lawyer’s professional obligations. See Rule 5.3. Legal service plans and lawyer referral services may communicate with the public, but such communication 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 the public to think that it was a lawyer referral service sponsored by a state agency or bar association. Nor could the lawyer allow in-person, telephonic, or real-time contacts that would violate Rule 7.3.

[8] For the disciplinary authority and choice of law provisions applicable to advertising, see Rule 8.5.

[8a] This Rule differs from the ABA Model Rule in that it defines “advertisement” and places some limitations on advertisements. Utah Rule 7.2(b)(2) also differs from the ABA Model Rule by permitting a lawyer to pay the usual charges of any lawyer referral service. This is not limited to not-for-profit services. Comment [6] to the Utah rule is modified accordingly.

Cloud Computing

No opinions available.

Technology Competency

Comment to Rule 1.1

Maintaining Competence

[8] 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