Thursday, November 01, 2012

Rules of Professional Conduct Amended

Effective January 1, 2013, Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct (SJC Rule 3:07)  Rules 1.5 and 6.5 have been amended.

Rule 1.5, Fees, has a new subsection (b) regarding written fee agreements, which reads:

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2), the scope of the representation and the basis or rate of the fee and expenses for which the client will be responsible shall be communicated to the client in writing before or within a reasonable time after commencing the representation, except when the lawyer will charge a regularly represented client on the same basis or rate. Any changes in the basis or rate of the fee or expenses shall also be communicated in writing to the client.
(2) The requirement of a writing shall not apply to a single-session legal consultation or where the lawyer reasonably expects the total fee to be charged to the client to be less than $500. Where an indigent representation fee is imposed by a court, no fee agreement has been entered into between the lawyer and client, and a writing is not required.
Rule 6.5, Nonprofit and Court-Annexed Limited Legal Services Programs, has been replaced in its entirety. You can read the new rule, effective January 1, at Rule 6.5.