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Rule1.5. Requirements for written contract and fees.

(a)    Before providing any services, alicensed paralegal practitioner shall provide the client with a writtencontract that:

(a)(1) statesthe purpose for which the licensed paralegal practitioner has been hired;

(a)(2)states the services to be performed;

(a)(3) statesthe rate or fee for the services to be performed and whether and to what extentthe client will be responsible for any costs, expenses or disbursements in thecourse of the representation;

(a)(4) includes a statement printedin 12-point boldface type that the licensed paralegal practitioner is not anattorney and is limited to practice in only those areas in which the licensedparalegal practitioner is licensed;

(a)(5) includes a provision statingthat the client may report complaints relating to a licensed paralegalpractitioner or the unauthorized practice of law to the Utah State Bar,including a toll-free number and Internet website;

(a)(6) identifiesthe document to be prepared;

(a)(7) explainsthe purpose of the document;

(a)(8) explainsthe process to be followed in preparing the document;

(a)(9) stateswhether the licensed paralegal practitioner will be filing the document on theclient?s behalf; and

(a)(10) statesthe approximate time necessary to complete the task.

(b) A licensed paralegalpractitioner may not make an oral or written statement guaranteeing orpromising an outcome, unless the licensed paralegal practitioner has some basisin fact for making the guarantee or promise.

(c)   Awritten contract is void if not written in accordance with this section.

(d) Alicensed paralegal practitioner shall not make an agreement for, charge orcollect an unreasonable fee or an unreasonable amount for expenses. The factorsto be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee include thefollowing:

(d)(1) thetime and labor required and the skill requisite to perform the legal serviceproperly;

(d)(2) thelikelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particularemployment will preclude other employment by the licensed paralegalpractitioner;

(d)(3) thefee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;

(d)(4) theamount involved and the results obtained;

(d)(5) thetime limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;

(d)(6) thenature and length of the professional relationship with the client; and

(d)(7) theexperience, reputation and ability of the licensed paralegal practitioner orlicensed paralegal practitioners performing the services.

(d)(8) Reserved.

(e) Any changes in the basis or rateof the fee or expenses shall also be communicated to the client.?

(f) A licensed paralegalpractitioner may not enter into a contingency fee agreement with a client.

(g) A division of a fee betweenlicensed paralegal practitioners who are not in the same firm may be made only if:

(g)(1) thedivision is in proportion to the services performed by each licensed paralegalpractitioner or each licensed paralegal practitioner assumes jointresponsibility for the representation;

(g)(2) theclient agrees to the arrangement, including the share each licensed paralegal practitionerwill receive, and the agreement is confirmed in writing; and

(g)(3) the total fee is reasonable.

 

Comment

Reasonableness of Fee and Expenses

[1] Paragraph (d) requires that licensedparalegal practitioners charge fees that are reasonable under thecircumstances. The factors specified in (d)(1) through(d)(7) are not exclusive. Nor will each factor be relevant in each instance.Paragraph (d) also requires that expenses for which the client will be chargedmust be reasonable. A licensed paralegal practitioner may seek reimbursementfor the cost of services performed in-house, such as copying, or for otherexpenses incurred in-house, such as telephone charges, either by charging areasonable amount to which the client has agreed in advance or by charging anamount that reasonably reflects the cost incurred by the licensed paralegalpractitioner.

[2] Reserved.

[3] Reserved.

Terms of Payment

[4] A licensed paralegal practitioner mayrequire advance payment of a fee but is obligated to return any unearnedportion. See Rule 1.16(d). A licensed paralegal practitioner may acceptproperty in payment for services, such as an ownership interest in anenterprise, providing this does not involve acquisition of a proprietaryinterest in the cause of action or subject matter of the litigation contrary toRule 1.8(i). However, a fee paid in property instead of money may be subject tothe requirements of Rule 1.8(a) because such fees often have the essentialqualities of a business transaction with the client.

[5] An agreement may not be made whose termsmight induce the licensed paralegal practitioner improperly to curtail servicesfor the client or perform them in a way contrary to the client's interest. Forexample, a licensed paralegal practitioner should not enter into an agreementwhereby services are to be provided only up to a stated amount when it isforeseeable that more extensive services probably will be required, unless thesituation is adequately explained to the client. Otherwise, the client mighthave to bargain for further assistance in the midst of a proceeding or transaction.However, it is proper to define the extent of services in light of the client'sability to pay. A licensed paralegal practitioner should not exploit a feearrangement based primarily on hourly charges by using wasteful procedures.

[6] Prohibited Contingent Fees.? Paragraph (f) prohibits a licensed paralegalpractitioner from charging a contingent fee.

Division of Fees

[7] A division of fee is a single billing to aclient covering the fee of two or more licensed paralegal practitioners or alicensed paralegal practitioner and a lawyer who are not in the same firm. Adivision of fee facilitates association of more than one licensed paralegalpractitioner or lawyer in a matter in which neither alone could serve theclient as well, and most often is used when the fee is contingent and thedivision is between a referring licensed paralegal practitioner and a lawyer ortrial specialist. Paragraph (g) permits the division of a fee either on thebasis of the proportion of services they render or if each practitioner assumesresponsibility for the representation as a whole. In addition, the client mustagree to the arrangement, including the share that each practitioner is toreceive, and the agreement must be confirmed in writing. Joint responsibilityfor the representation entails financial and ethical responsibility for therepresentation as if the licensed paralegal practitioner and the other licensedparalegal practitioner or lawyer were associated in a partnership. A licensedparalegal practitioner should only refer a matter to a licensed paralegalpractitioner or lawyer whom the referring licensed paralegal practitionerreasonably believes is competent to handle the matter. See Rule 1.1.

[8] Paragraph (g) does not prohibit or regulatedivision of fees to be received in the future for work done when licensedparalegal practitioners were previously associated in a law firm.

Disputes Over Fees

[9] If a procedure has been established forresolution of fee disputes, such as an arbitration or mediation procedureestablished by the Bar, the licensed paralegal practitioner must comply withthe procedure when it is mandatory, and, even when it is voluntary, thelicensed paralegal practitioner should conscientiously consider submitting toit.

 

Effective November 1, 2018