The first draft proposal would permit lawyers and clients to agree that their relationship will be governed by a specific jurisdiction’s conflict of interest rules. The proposal is designed to help lawyers and their clients predict, with more accuracy than Model Rule 8.5(b) can provide, which jurisdiction’s conflict rules would govern the lawyer’s representation of a client.
The second draft proposal would address a choice of law issue that is arising with greater frequency because of inconsistencies, domestically and abroad, regarding the permissibility of non-lawyer ownership of law firms and fee sharing with non-lawyers. The issue is whether a lawyer in a jurisdiction that prohibits such ownership or fee sharing may divide a fee with a lawyer in a different firm in which such ownership or fee sharing occurs and is permitted by the Rules applicable to that firm. The Resolution does not propose any change to the existing prohibition in Model Rule 5.4 against non-lawyer ownership of law firms or the sharing of fees with non-lawyers. The Resolution addresses only fee divisions between lawyers in separate firms under Model Rule 1.5 when one of the lawyers is in a firm that has nonl-awyer owners or shares fees with non-lawyers, as permitted by the rules of the jurisdiction that govern that lawyer’s firm. The cover memo from the Commission's co-chairs explains that the Commission “has made no decision regarding the nature and substance of any Resolutions on these subjects. The decision to file any such Resolutions will be made at the Commission’s October 2012 meeting. In the meantime, the Commission requests that any comments on these new drafts be sent to Natalia Vera at firstname.lastname@example.org by October 19, 2012.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 releases drafts on Choice of Law issues
The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 has released for comment its most recent drafts of proposals. As explained by one of the commission members over at the Legal Ethics Forum: