The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Service Delivery has launched a website that promotes unbundled legal service delivery and pro se representation. The Standing Committee believes that unbundling is an important part of providing legal services to individuals who would otherwise not be able to afford a lawyer. The website has also compiled a list of government ethics reviews that deal with limited representation. See www.abanet.org/legalservices/delivery/home.html Based on these powers, it is likely that the agreement will be considered a violation of Rule 5.4 in most States if a lawyer provides document preparation services to a service provider`s client as an agent and is remunerated based on the clients served. However, if the lawyer merely purchases the document preparation services from the service provider in order to enable his clients to fill in the forms, which he then verifies, the lawyer is not a representative of the service provider and the circumstance does not affect the lawyer`s loyalty to the client and his independence of judgment. even if the agreement is “by use”. Therefore, it would be very likely that a State would conclude that this agreement constitutes a violation of Rule 5.4 or any other provision relating to the allocation of fees. The third agreement concerns payments that are based on fees but do not compromise the independence of the lawyer`s judgment. In these circumstances, there is a technical sharing of fees with a non-lawyer, but this department is not in a position to compromise the lawyer`s loyalty to his client. In these cases, these are payments to a temporary employment agency when a lawyer uses the services of a temporary lawyer or other staff.
As a rule, the agency charges a fee, pays part to the temporary employment agency and keeps the rest as a service fee. Another circumstance concerns the use of credit cards, where the lawyer receives payment of the client`s fees on a card. Payment is shared with the lawyer`s bank under the lawyer`s merchant account agreement with the bank. This is usually two to five percent of the amount charged on the credit card, depending on the arrangement. This is similar to purchasing “pay-as-you-go” services. In this case, it is a “peruse” of banking services to facilitate the payment of the customer`s fees. In both cases, the lawyer`s commitment to the client is not affected in any way.  Since the limited nature of the services significantly reduces the risk of conflicts of interest with other matters dealt with by the member`s law firm, paragraph (B) provides that imputed conflicts of interest do not apply to representation subject to this rule, except as provided in paragraph (A)(2). Paragraph (A)(2) accuses the participating member of conflict of interest if the member knows that a lawyer in the member`s office would be disqualified under rule 3-310. In addition, pursuant to paragraph (B), a member`s participation in a short-term limited legal services program will not be assigned to the member`s law firm or will prevent the member`s law firm from representing or continuing to represent a client whose interests conflict with a client represented under the auspices of the program. The personal disqualification of a lawyer participating in the program will also not be attributed to other lawyers participating in the program.
Q. What if the law firm has to pay a fee per document used (a user fee), but the document usage fee is not related to the fee charged by the law firm to its clients? One. This question relates to the fee structure of a company that offers online document compilation to lawyers – who then use this service as part of legal services for their clients – where lawyers pay the firm a fixed monthly fee plus a “per use” cost of using document compilation services. The main question is whether this regulation creates a fee-splitting between the lawyer and the service provider. The allocation of fees is regulated in three places in the State Code of Conduct. Model Rule 1.5(e) and its State equivalents set out the circumstances in which lawyers who are not otherwise affiliated may share fees. It is not relevant to this analysis. Model rule 7.2 (b) prohibits a lawyer from obtaining anything of value to recommend his or her services, except for reasonable advertising fees and the usual costs of certain legal investment services.
This rule is also not relevant to this analysis. One. When a client registers on the law firm`s website, they must accept a limited-service mandate agreement. DirectLaw® provides a limited-service mandate template suitable for the online provision of legal services, but this agreement can be customized for any law firm. Before the lawyer can offer legal services online to a client, a conflict of interest check must be completed and the lawyer sends a specific email to the client stating that they have been accepted as a client of the law firm. These acceptance emails will be archived for future reference and to determine the date of establishment of the customer relationship. Q. Can a lawyer offer a limited scope of representation that includes creating online legal forms?  A member who provides limited legal services on short notice under Rule 1-650 must obtain the client`s informed consent to the limited scope of representation.
If limited short-term representation is not reasonable in the circumstances, the Commissioner may advise the client, but must also inform the client of the need for legal assistance. See rule 3-110. Except as otherwise provided in this Rule 1-650, limited representation is governed by the Code of Professional Conduct and the State Bar Act, including the member`s duty of confidentiality under Section 6068(e)(1) of the Commercial and Professional Code. (Added by Order of the Supreme Court, effective August 28, 2009.) The article transcends the dominant caricature of lawyers as lacking social conscience and weaves recent scandals into a history of the pervasive separation between legal and moral advice – a separation based on the profession`s assumption that questions of legality can be isolated from questions of goodness.