ABA addresses lawyer use of technology, nonlawyer assistance

August 8, 2012
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The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates has been busy these last few days, adopting policies on criminal justice reforms, civil standards in immigration detention, and ethics in the profession.

It’s this last area that has the most impact on attorneys no matter what your practice, as the House of Delegates approved six recommendations sponsored by the ABA’s Commission Ethics 20/20 that amend the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and commentary. The rules cover the use of technology and confidentiality as well as the ethical implications of retaining lawyers and nonlawyers outside the firm to work on client matters.

The comment to Rule 1.18 on Duties to Prospective Client says that “Whether communications, including written, oral or electronic communications, constitute a consultation depends on the circumstance.”

The comment to Rule 7.2 on advertising now says a lawyer can pay others for generating client leads that include Internet-based client leads as long as certain conditions are met.

The comment to Rule 5.3 on Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistance outlines when a lawyer may use nonlawyers outside the firm, which is new commentary. The commentary previously just addressed the use of nonlawyers within the firm.

You can read about all the resolutions adopted by the ABA on its website.
 

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