SRLN Brief: Rule 6.5 - A Powerful Tool to Diversify Pro Bono and Transform Court Services

Ethics rule 6.5 is a powerful tool to diversify pro bono programs and to transform court services because it allows unbundled lawyers to perform real time services in court-annexed programs without the onerous clerical burdens and limitations under the traditional conflicts analysis.  Specifically the model rule states:

(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 without expectation by either the lawyer or the client that the lawyer will provide continuing representation in the matter:

(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 in paragraph (a)(2), Rule 1.10 is inapplicable to a representation governed by this Rule.

Court-legal aid partnerships throughout the country have taken advantage of this rule to get legal advice to SRLs in the courthouse when then really need it. More information about the model rule can be found at: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publicatio...