Following is the fourth in a series of posts from Parker Law Group reflecting on recent changes to the California Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC), under the category of “Lawyer-Client Relationship,” focusing on “compensation from one other than client.” The Rule of Professional Conduct, as revised, is as follows:
Rule 1.8.6 Compensation from One Other than Client
A lawyer shall not enter into an agreement for, charge, or accept compensation for representing a client from one other than the client unless:
(a) there is no interference with the lawyer’s independent professional judgment or with the lawyer-client relationship;
(b) information is protected as required by Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) and rule 1.6; and
(c) the lawyer obtains the client’s informed written consent at or before the time the lawyer has entered into the agreement for, charged, or accepted the compensation, or as soon thereafter as reasonably practicable, provided that no disclosure or consent is required if:
(1) nondisclosure or the compensation is otherwise authorized by law or a court order; or
(2) the lawyer is rendering legal services on behalf of any public agency or nonprofit organization that provides legal services to other public agencies or the public.
As set forth above, CBA’s new RPC Rule 1.8.6 is similar to the former version (Rule 3-310[F]), except for subsection (a), which switched the previous “client-lawyer relationship” to “lawyer-client relationship.” And subsection (b) says that, in addition to the protection provided by Business and Professions Code section 6068, information is also protected by Rule 1.6 (“Confidential Information of a Client”) of the new RPC. Subsection (c) expands on the previous rule’s wording about when a lawyer shall obtain a client’s informed written consent. Rule 1.8.6 says the consent should occur “at or before the time the lawyer has entered into the agreement for, charged, or accepted the compensation, or as soon thereafter as reasonably practicable… .”
The CBA’s addition of protection of information as required by Rule 1.6 now matches the American Bar Association’s wording in RPC Rule 1.8(f)(3).
Potential Benefit: Generally speaking, the changes clarify the requirements intended to protect clients and their confidential information when someone else is responsible for payment of their legal services.
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