Supreme Court Regulatory Reform-Effective August 14, 2020

The Utah Supreme Court approves the following regulatory reform efforts effective August 14, 2020. Please see https://sandbox.utcourts.gov/ and the press release for more information.

Supreme Court Standing Order

Standing Order 15: This order establishes a pilot legal regulatory sandbox and an Office of Legal Services Innovation to assist the Utah Supreme Court with respect to overseeing and regulating the practice of law by nontraditional legal service providers or by traditional providers offering nontraditional legal services.

Rules of Professional Conduct

Rules Governing the Professional Independence of a Lawyer: The Supreme Court repeals former Rule 5.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and replaces it with Rules 5.4A and 5.4B.

  • Rule 5.4A: This rule governs lawyers delivering legal services in the traditional and conventional model. New Rule 5.4A(a) outlines the foremost duties of a lawyer – the duty of independence of judgment, duty of loyalty to the client, and duty of confidentiality – applicable to the rest of the Rule. The preeminence of these professional core values is further explained in new Comments [1] and [2] as they pertain to sharing fees with nonlawyers, with lawyers in a separate firm, and accepting referrals and payments from parties other than the client. In order to loosen the restriction on fee sharing, Rule 5.4A(b) allows a lawyer to share legal fees with a nonlawyer as long as written notice is given at the outset of the representation or before sharing fees from an existing client.
  • Rule 1.5: Paragraph (e) of this rule has been eliminated to allow dividing fees among lawyers who are not in the same firm.
  • Rule 5.4B: This rule is applicable to lawyers participating in the pilot legal regulatory sandbox. Like Rule 5.4A, the core professional values for lawyers underlying this rule are stated at the outset under subsection (a). Comments [1] and [2] reiterate and clarify the importance of the underlying core values and duties of a lawyer, notwithstanding the novel arrangement with nonlawyers. Rule 5.4B(b) allows a lawyer to practice law in an organization that is managed or owned, in whole or in part, by nonlawyers, as long as (i) the client is given written notice that nonlawyers have a financial interest in the organization or nonlawyers have managerial authority over the lawyer, and (ii) the client receives in writing the financial or managerial structure of the organization.

Lawyer Advertising Rules: The Supreme Court significantly simplified the lawyer advertising rules in the Rules of Professional Conduct. Rules 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5 have been repealed and replaced with new Rule 7.1. Notably, this change eliminates the prohibition against in-person solicitation found previously in Rule 7.3.

  • Rule 7.1: Prohibits (i) making false and misleading claims about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services, and (ii) interacting in a way that involves coercion, duress, or harassment.

Redline and Clean Rules

Redline Rule 5.4A

Clean Rule 5.4A

Redline Rule 5.4B 

Clean Rule 5.4B

Redline Rule 1.5 

Clean Rule 1.5 

Redline Rules 7.1 through 7.5 

Clean Rules Rules 7.1 through 7.5

Supreme Court Order

Link to Revised Regulatory Reform Rules

 

Utah Courts

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  1. Pingback: TO TACKLE THE UNMET LEGAL NEEDS CRISIS, UTAH SUPREME COURT UNANIMOUSLY ENDORSES A PILOT PROGRAM TO ASSESS CHANGES TO THE GOVERNANCE OF THE PRACTICE OF LAW – Utah Courts Recent Press Notifications