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Rule5.4. Professional independence of alicensed paralegal practitioner.

(a) A licensedparalegal practitioner or firm of licensed paralegal practitioners shall not share legal fees with a non-lawyer ora non-licensed paralegal practitioner, except that:

(a)(1) an agreement by a licensed paralegal practitioner with thelicensed paralegal

practitioner?s firm, partner or associate may provide for the paymentof money, over a

reasonable period of time after the licensed paralegalpractitioner?s death, to the licensedparalegal practitioner?s estate or to one or more specified persons;

(a)(2)(i) a licensedparalegal practitioner who purchases the practice of a deceased,

disabled or disappeared licensed paralegal practitioner may, pursuant to the provisions of Rule 1.17, pay to the estate or other representative of thatlicensed paralegal practitioner theagreed-upon purchase price; and

(a)(2)(ii) a licensedparalegal practitioner who undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a deceased licensedparalegal practitioner may pay to the estate of the deceased licensed paralegal practitioner that proportion of thetotal compensation which fairly representsthe services rendered by the deceased licensed paralegal practitioner; and

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

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

(c) A licensedparalegal practitioner shall not permit a person who recommends, employs or pays the licensed paralegalpractitioner to render legal services for another to direct or regulate the licensed paralegal practitioner?sprofessional judgment in rendering suchlegal services.

(d) A licensedparalegal practitioner shall not practice with or in the form of a professional corporation orassociation authorized to practice law for a profit, if:

(d)(1) a non-lawyeror non-licensed paralegal practitioner owns any interest therein, except that a fiduciary representative of the estateof 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 is acorporate director or officerthereof or occupies the position of similar responsibility in any form of association other than a corporation; or

(d)(3) a non-lawyer or non-licensed paralegal practitioner has theright to direct or control theprofessional judgment of a licensed paralegalpractitioner.

(e) A licensed paralegal practitioner maypractice in a non-profit corporation which is established to serve the publicinterest provided that the non-lawyer or non- licensed paralegal practitionerdirectors and officers of such corporation do not interfere with theindependent professional judgment of the licensed paralegal practitioner.

 

Comment

[1] The provisions of thisRule express traditional limitations on sharing fees. These limitations are toprotect the licensed paralegal practitioner?s professional independence ofjudgment. 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?s professional judgment.

[2] The rule also expressestraditional limitations on permitting a third party to direct or regulate thelicensed 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.

 

 

EffectiveMay 1, 2019