Bar Rules

RULE 6.5. NONPROFIT & COURT-ANNEXED LIMITED LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAMS

Ethics & Discipline / Current Rules / Part IV (After January 1 / 2001) - Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct (also includes Disciplinary Proceedings and Advisory Opinion rules) / CHAPTER 1 GEORGIA RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT AND ENFORCEMENT THEREOF

(a) A lawyer who, under the auspices of a program sponsored by a nonprofit organization or court, provides short-term limited legal services to a client, normally through a one-time consultation, without expectation by either lawyer or the client that the lawyer will provide continuing representation in the matter and without expectation that the lawyer will receive a fee from the client for the services provided:

  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 disqualified by Rule 1.7 or 1.9(a) with respect to the matter.

(b) Except as provided by paragraph (a)(2), Rule 1.10 is inapplicable to a representation governed by this Rule.

(c) The recipient of the consultation authorized under paragraph (a) is, for purposes of Rule 1.9, a former client of the lawyer providing the service, but that lawyer's disqualification is not imputed to lawyers associated with the lawyer for purposes of Rule 1.10.

The maximum penalty for a violation of this Rule is a public reprimand.

Comment
[1] Legal services organizations, courts and various nonprofit organizations have established programs through which lawyers provide short-term limited legal services—such as consultation clinics for advice or help with 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 free 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 Rules 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 Rules 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 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.

 



GO TO RULE 6.4 LAW REFORM ACTIVITIES AFFECTING CLIENT INTERESTS
GO TO RULE 7.1 COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING A LAWYER'S SERVICES
Return to handbook browser.

© Copyright MMXIV State Bar of Georgia