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Rule 5.4. Professional independence of alicensed paralegal practitioner.

(a) A licensed paralegalpractitioner or firm of licensed paralegal practitioners shall not share legalfees with a non-lawyer or a non-licensed paralegal practitioner, exceptthat:

(a)(1) an agreement by alicensed paralegal practitioner with the licensed paralegal practitioner?sfirm, partner or associate may provide for the payment of money, over areasonable period of time after the licensed paralegal practitioner?s death, tothe licensed paralegal practitioner?s estate or to one or more specifiedpersons;

(a)(2)(i) a licensedparalegal practitioner who purchases the practice of a deceased, disabled ordisappeared licensed paralegal practitioner may, pursuant to the provisions of Rule1.17, pay to the estate or other representative of that licensed paralegalpractitioner the agreed-upon purchase price; and

(a)(2)(ii) a licensedparalegal practitioner who undertakes to complete unfinished legal business ofa deceased licensed paralegal practitioner may pay to the estate of thedeceased licensed paralegal practitioner that proportion of the totalcompensation which fairly represents the services rendered by the deceasedlicensed paralegal practitioner; and

(a)(3) a licensed paralegal practitioner or firm of licensedparalegal practitioners may include non-lawyer and non-licensed paralegalpractitioner employees in a compensation or retirement plan, even thoughthe plan is based in whole or in part on a profit-sharing arrangement.

(b) A licensed paralegalpractitioner shall not form a partnership with a non-lawyer ornon-LPP if any of the activities of the partnership consist of the practice oflaw.

(c) A licensed paralegalpractitioner shall not permit a person who recommends, employs or pays thelicensed paralegal practitioner to render legal services for another to director regulate the licensed paralegal practitioner?s professional judgment inrendering such legal services.

(d) A licensed paralegalpractitioner shall not practice with or in the form of a professionalcorporation or association authorized to practice law for a profit, if:

(d)(1) a non-lawyer ornon-licensed paralegal practitioner owns any interest therein, except that afiduciary representative of the estate of a licensed paralegal practitioner mayhold the stock or interest of the licensed paralegal practitioner for areasonable time during administration;

(d)(2) a non-lawyer or non-licensed paralegal practitioner isa corporate director or officer thereof or occupies the position of similarresponsibility in any form of association other than a corporation; or

(d)(3) a non-lawyer or non-licensed paralegalpractitioner has the right to direct or control the professional judgment of alicensed paralegal practitioner.

(e) A licensed paralegalpractitioner may practice in a non-profit corporation which is established toserve the public interest provided that the non-lawyer ornon-licensed paralegal practitioner directors and officers of such corporationdo not interfere with the independent professional judgment of the licensedparalegal practitioner.

 

Comment

[1] The provisions ofthis Rule express traditional limitations on sharing fees. These limitationsare to protect the licensed paralegal practitioner?s professional independenceof judgment. Where someone other than the client pays the licensed paralegalpractitioner?s fee or salary, or recommends employment of the licensedparalegal practitioner, that arrangement does not modify the licensed paralegalpractitioner?s obligation to the client. As stated in paragraph (c), sucharrangements should not interfere with the licensed paralegal practitioner?sprofessional judgment.

[2] The rule alsoexpresses traditional limitations on permitting a third party to direct or regulatethe licensed paralegal practitioner?s professional judgment in rendering legalservices to another. See also Rule 1.8(f) (licensed paralegal practitioner mayaccept compensation from a third party as long as there is no interference withthe licensed paralegal practitioner?s independent professional judgment and theclient gives informed consent).

[2a] Reserved.

 

Effective November 1, 2018