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LOCATION: 555 Capitol Mall, Suite 1230, Sacramento, CA 95814
PHONE: (916) 996-0400 | FAX: (916) 668-5760

Following is the 22nd post in a series from Parker Law Group about recent changes to the California Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC). This rule is found in Chapter 6, which is titled “Public Service.”

As a new rule, this is not simply a revision of a previous rule. CBA’s Rule 6.3 addresses “membership in legal services organization” and can be seen here:

Rule 6.3  Membership in Legal Services Organization

A lawyer may serve as a director, officer or member of a legal services organization, apart from the law firm in which the lawyer practices, notwithstanding that the organization serves persons having interests adverse to a client of the lawyer. The lawyer shall not knowingly participate in a decision or action of the organization:

(a)  if participating in the decision or action would be incompatible with the lawyer’s obligations to a client under Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) or rules 1.6(a), 1.7, 1.9, or 1.18; or

(b)  where the decision or action could have a material adverse effect on the representation of a client of the organization whose interests are adverse to a client of the lawyer.

Application:

This rule, as set forth above, explains that a lawyer can serve as an officer of a legal services organization to which he or she belongs, even if the organization’s members include those whose interests may be adverse to one of the lawyer’s clients. The rule, however, mentions two restrictions: the lawyer cannot participate in a decision or action of the organization if that action violates a client’s right to confidentiality OR if the decision or action would have a negative impact on representation of one of the organization’s clients … if that client’s interests are adverse to one of the lawyer’s clients.

The title of Rule 6.3 of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) RPC is the same as CBA’s Rule 6.3, and the wording found in both rules is almost identical.

Benefit: Generally speaking, the clear guidelines set forth in this rule should make it easier for lawyers to avoid potential conflicts (and possible future accusations of malpractice) in their dealings with any legal services organizations they choose to join.

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 contact@parlawgroup.com. (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, Client Rights, Legal Representation, Confidentiality, Legal Services, Parker Law Group, Port Parker

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