Following is the 63rd post in a series from Parker Law Group about recent changes to the California Bar Association (CBA)’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC). This rule is found in Chapter 5 – “Law Firms and Associations,” focusing on the restrictions that have been placed on an attorney’s right to practice law.
This Rule of Professional Conduct, as revised, is as follows:
Rule 5.6 Restrictions on a Lawyer’s Right to Practice
(a) Unless authorized by law, a lawyer shall not participate in offering or making:
(1) a partnership, shareholders, operating, employment, or other similar type of agreement that restricts the right of a lawyer to practice after termination of the relationship, except an agreement that concerns benefits upon retirement; or
(2) an agreement that imposes a restriction on a lawyer’s right to practice in connection with a settlement of a client controversy, or otherwise.
(b) A lawyer shall not participate in offering or making an agreement which precludes the reporting of a violation of these rules.
(c) This rule does not prohibit an agreement that is authorized by Business and Professions Code sections 6092.5, subdivision (i) or 6093.
The previous version of this rule in CBA’s RPC (Rule 1-500) contained the same basic information as the new rule does, but in a slightly different order. The information in subdivisions (a)(1)-(2) and (c) of the new rule were formerly found in 1-500(A)(1)-(3). And subd. (b) of the new rule was formerly subd. (B).
Only subds. (a)(1)-(2) of Rule 5.6 in CBA’s revised RPC, as set forth above, match the contents of the corresponding rule in the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Model RPC. One minor difference, however, is that ABA Rule 5.6(a) does not include “Unless authorized by law,” at the beginning of its rule. The other minor difference is that the wording in ABA’s Rule 5.6(b) is a streamlined version of the CBA’s wording in subd. (a)(2). ABA Rule 5.6(b) says a lawyer shall not participate in offering or making “an agreement in which a restriction on the lawyer’s right to practice is part of the settlement of a client controversy.”
Benefit: Generally speaking, the reorganization of information in this rule makes it easier for attorneys to find the regulations pertinent to their own practice … which, in turn, can remove potential stumbling blocks they might otherwise encounter.
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Rules of Professional Conduct, California Bar Association, American Bar Association, Legal Malpractice, Client Rights, Parker Law Group, Port Parker