Following is the sixteenth in a series of posts about recent changes to the California Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC). As with the last post, this entry falls under the category of “Counselor” and is found in Chapter 2 of the new rules.
This is a new rule, not merely a revision of a previous one. The topic of Rule 2.4 is “lawyer as third-party neutral” and can be seen here:
Rule 2.4 Lawyer as Third-Party Neutral
(a) A lawyer serves as a third-party neutral when the lawyer assists two or more persons who are not clients of the lawyer to reach a resolution of a dispute, or other matter, that has arisen between them. Service as a third-party neutral may include service as an arbitrator, a mediator or in such other capacity as will enable the lawyer to assist the parties to resolve the matter.
(b) A lawyer serving as a third-party neutral shall inform unrepresented parties that the lawyer is not representing them. When the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that a party does not understand the lawyer’s role in the matter, the lawyer shall explain the difference between the lawyer’s role as a third-party neutral and a lawyer’s role as one who represents a client.
As set forth above, this rule defines the way a lawyer – who is not representing them – can provide a client with legal advice as a neutral third party. Serving as an arbitrator or mediator are two ways a lawyer can become a “third-party neutral.” This rule also requires the lawyer to ensure that the person they are helping understands the difference between the lawyer’s role as a neutral third party and what their role would be if they were to actually represent that person.
The title of this rule (Rule 2.4) of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) RPC is “Lawyer Serving as Third-Party Neutral” – nearly identical to the CBA’s Rule 2.4 (“Lawyer as Third-Party Neutral”). The remainder of ABA’s Rule 2.4 is virtually identical to the CBA’s Rule 2.4.
Benefit: Generally speaking, this rule gives the client the advantage of having access to a lawyer’s knowledge of, and expertise on, a particular subject in helping them move closer to resolving their matter.
The information provided herein is informational only and should not be construed as legal advice or as an agreement for representation. This is not an advertisement. If you have an issue or dispute with your attorney, or are seeking advice with respect to your obligations, you should consult with an experienced attorney. Parker Law Group is a full-service litigation and transactional law firm. Mr. Parker has represented clients in professional malfeasance disputes for over 22 years. If you would like to schedule an initial consultation with Mr. Parker or his team, you can reach them at 916/996-0400 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. (An email to the law firm requesting a consultation does not create an attorney-client relationship or any agreement for representation by the firm.)
Rules of Professional Conduct, California Bar Association, American Bar Association, Legal Malpractice, Breach of Fiduciary, Client Rights, Legal Advice, Third-Party Neutral, Mediation, Arbitration