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End-of-life notice: American Legal Ethics Library

As of March 1, 2013, the Legal Information Institute is no longer maintaining the information in the American Legal Ethics Library. It is no longer possible for us to maintain it at a level of completeness and accuracy given its staffing needs. It is very possible that we will revive it at a future time. At this point, it is in need of a complete technological renovation and reworking of the "correspondent firm" model which successfully sustained it for many years.

Many people have contributed time and effort to the project over the years, and we would like to thank them. In particular, Roger Cramton and Peter Martin not only conceived ALEL but gave much of their own labor to it. We are also grateful to Brad Wendel for his editorial contributions, to Brian Toohey and all at Jones Day for their efforts, and to all of our correspondents and contributors. Thank you.

We regret any inconvenience.

Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


Louisiana Legal Ethics

1.16   Rule 1.16 Declining or Terminating Representation

1.16:100   Comparative Analysis of Louisiana Rule

¥ Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 1.16
¥ Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.16, Other Jurisdictions
¥ Commentary:

1.16:101      Model Rule Comparison

The text of LRPC 1.16 is identical to that in its counterpart, MR 1.16.

1.16:102      Model Code Comparison

LRPC 1.16(a) requires a lawyer to avoid or discontinue representation if it will result in a violation of LouisianaÕs Rules of Professional Conduct, if the lawyer has a condition which impairs his abilities or if he is discharged. The Model Code prevents such representation in various rules.

DR 2-103(E) provides that a lawyer must not accept employment when the client is seeking legal assistance as a result of conduct prohibited by DR 2-103. DR 2-109(A) prevents a lawyer from accepting employment where it is either obvious or the lawyer knows that the prospective client merely means to harass someone or to make a claim unsupported by the law. DR 2-110(B)(1) through (4) require a lawyer to withdraw from existing representation if he knows or it is obvious that his clientÕs purpose is merely to injure or harass another person, if he knows or it is obvious that his continued representation will result in a violation of other Disciplinary Rules, if he has a condition which prevents his effective representation or if he is discharged by his client. EC 2-30 advises lawyers not to accept employment when they are unable to render competent service and, where the client had retained former counsel in the same matter, the lawyer should not accept the employment unless the former counsel approves, withdraws or is discharged.

LRPC 1.16(b) addresses permissive withdrawal, as opposed to mandatory withdrawal addressed in Paragraph (a). According to Paragraph (b), a lawyer may withdraw if there will be no material adverse effect on the clientÕs interests or if one of several scenarios listed in the Rule exists. LRPC 1.16(b)(1) allows a lawyer to withdraw if the client insists on involving the lawyerÕs services in activity the lawyer believes to be criminal or fraudulent. LRPC 1.16(b)(2) allows withdrawal when the client has already used the lawyerÕs services to perpetrate an act which is criminal or fraudulent. The Model Code does not offer such an opportunity for withdrawal.

DR 2-110(C)(1)(c) allows the lawyer to withdraw if his client insists that he pursue a course of conduct which is illegal or which would result in a violation of the Disciplinary Rules. DR 2-110(C)(1)(c) does not specifically provide recourse for the lawyer whose client has actually used his services in the perpetration of a crime, as the Louisiana Rule does. DR 2-110(C)(1)(b), unlike the Louisiana Rules, allows the lawyer to withdraw if his client personally pursues an illegal course of conduct.

LRPC 1.16(b)(3) allows a lawyer to withdraw if the client insists upon an objective that the lawyer finds repugnant or imprudent. In a limited way, DR 2-110(C)(1)(e) is similar because it allows the lawyer to withdraw when the client insists that the lawyer engage in activity that is contrary to his judgment, but only when the matter is not pending before a tribunal.

LRPC 1.16(b)(4) allows the lawyer to withdraw if the client substantially fails to fulfill an obligation to the lawyer and has been warned that the lawyer will withdraw if the obligation is not fulfilled. DR 2-110(C)(1)(f) allows the lawyer to withdraw only if the clientÕs nonperformance is deliberate and only when it relates to expenses or fees. The Louisiana Rule is broader, giving the lawyer recourse for the clientÕs deliberate and non-deliberate actions regarding any obligation, not just financial obligations. Another distinguishing factor is that, under the Model Code, the lawyer is not required to warn the client of his possible withdrawal.

LRPC 1.16(b)(5) permits the lawyer to withdraw if representation will result in an unreasonable financial burden or if itÕs been rendered unreasonably difficult by the client. Similarly, DR 2-110(C)(1)(d) allows a lawyer to withdraw if the clientÕs conduct renders the lawyerÕs effective representation difficult. Although the Model Code does not specifically allow a lawyer to withdraw when representation results in a financial burden, DR 2-110(C)(1)(f), mentioned above, allows withdrawal when the client has not met his obligations pertaining to expenses and fees.

Finally, LRPC 1.16(b)(6) allows the lawyer to withdraw for Òother good cause.Ó DR 2-110(C) also allows a lawyer to withdraw for good cause when a proceeding is pending before a tribunal. DR 2-110(C)(2) through (5) list several other reasons for which an attorney may withdraw in any type of matter, including withdrawal in matters not pending before a tribunal.

LRPC 1.16(c) requires that an attorney continue representation, despite good cause for termination, when the court so orders. DR 2-110(A)(1) also provides that, in cases where a tribunalÕs permission is required for withdrawal, a lawyer may not withdraw without the tribunalÕs permission. Additionally, LRPC 1.16(d) requires a lawyer to protect his clientÕs interests after terminating representation. Likewise, DR 2-110(A)(2) and (3) mandate that a lawyer protect his clientÕs rights upon his withdrawal, requiring a lawyer to give his client the same benefits required under LRPC 1.16(d) such as returning papers and any portion of a prepaid fee that was not earned.

1.16:200   Mandatory Withdrawal

¥ Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 1.16(a)
¥ Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.16(a), Other Jurisdictions
¥ Commentary: ABA/BNA ¤ 31:1001, ALI-LGL ¤ 44, Wolfram ¤ 9.54

This section has not yet been completed.

1.16:210      Discharge by Client

This section has not yet been completed.

1.16:220      Incapacity of Lawyer

This section has not yet been completed.

1.16:230      Withdrawal to Avoid Unlawful Conduct

This section has not yet been completed.

1.16:240      Legal Action for the Purpose of Harassing or Maliciously Injuring Any Person

This section has not yet been completed.

1.16:300   Permissive Withdrawal

¥ Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 1.16(b)
¥ Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.16(b), Other Jurisdictions
¥ Commentary: ABA/BNA ¤ 31:1101, ALI-LGL ¤ 44, Wolfram ¤ 9.5.3

This section has not yet been completed.

1.16:310      Withdrawal to Undertake Adverse Representation

This section has not yet been completed.

1.16:320      Circumstances Justifying Discretionary Withdrawal

This section has not yet been completed.

1.16:400   Order by Tribunal to Continue Representation

¥ Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 1.16(c)
¥ Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.16(c), Other Jurisdictions
¥ Commentary: ABA/BNA ¤ 31:1101, ALI-LGL ¤ 44, Wolfram ¤ 9.5.1

This section has not yet been completed.

1.16:500   Mitigating Harm to Client Upon Withdrawal

¥ Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 1.16(d)
¥ Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.16(d), Other Jurisdictions
¥ Commentary: ABA/BNA ¤ 31:1201, ALI-LGL ¤¤ 44, 45, Wolfram ¤ 9.5.1

This section has not yet been completed.

1.16:600   Fees on Termination

¥ Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 1.16(d)
¥ Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.16(d), Other Jurisdictions
¥ Commentary: ABA/BNA ¤¤ 31:701, 31:1001, 31:1101 , ALI-LGL ¤¤ 43, 52, Wolfram ¤ 9.5

This section has not yet been completed.

1.16:610      Termination of Lawyer's Authority [see 1.2:270]

This section has not yet been completed.

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