Following is the 65th 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 6 – “Public Service,” focusing on limited legal services programs.
This Rule of Professional Conduct, as revised, is as follows:
Rule 6.5 Limited Legal Services Programs
(a) A lawyer who, under the auspices of a program sponsored by a court, government agency, bar association, law school, or nonprofit organization, provides short-term limited legal services to a client without expectation by either the lawyer or the client that the lawyer will provide continuing representation in the matter:
(1) is subject to rules 1.7 and 1.9(a) only if the lawyer knows that the representation of the client involves a conflict of interest; and
(2) is subject to rule 1.10 only if the lawyer knows that another lawyer associated with the lawyer in a law firm is prohibited from representation by rule 1.7 or 1.9(a) with respect to the matter.
(b) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2), rule 1.10 is inapplicable to a representation governed by this rule.
(c) The personal disqualification of a lawyer participating in the program will not be imputed to other lawyers participating in the program.
Rule 1-650 of CBA’s previous RPC corresponds to Rule 6.5 of the revised RPC, as set forth above, and the content of both are very similar. Both are titled “Limited Legal Services Programs,” and both contain three subdivisions and two sub-subdivisions. The conditions set forth in this rule affect any attorney providing short-term limited legal services to a client without expectation – by either the lawyer or the client – that the lawyer will provide continuing representation in the matter. Subd. (c) states that an attorney’s disqualification from participating in this type of program will not be imputed to other lawyers who are also participating in the program.
When comparing the CBA’s revised rule to Rule 6.5 of the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Model RPC, two differences can be found. The words “Nonprofit & Court-Annexed” appear at the beginning of the ABA rule’s title. And the CBA rule’s subd. (c) is missing from the ABA’s rule.
Benefit: Generally speaking, this rule’s provision that an individual attorney’s disqualification from this type of program does not automatically disqualify other attorneys, can help law firms avoid potential delays in their handling of legal matters.
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Rules of Professional Conduct, California Bar Association, American Bar Association, Legal Malpractice, Client Rights, Legal Services, Legal Representation, Parker Law Group, Port Parker