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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.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

VI. PUBLIC SERVICE

6.1   Rule 6.1 Pro Bono Public Service

6.1:100   Comparative Analysis of Louisiana Rule

Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 6.1
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.1, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

6.1:101      Model Rule Comparison

LRPC 6.1 and MR 6.1 have two main differences. First, MR 6.1 provides that a lawyer should aspire to render at least fifty (50) hours of pro bono service per year. The Louisiana Rule differs in that it does not provide Louisiana lawyers with a certain number of hours of pro bono service to perform but merely suggests that lawyers “should render public interest legal service.” Secondly, the Louisiana Rule allows a lawyer to satisfy his obligation to provide such service by rendering services at no fee, at a reduced fee, to public or charitable groups, by participating in activities to improve the law or legal system or by financially supporting organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means. MR 6.1(a) provides that “a substantial majority of the (50) hours of legal services should be rendered without fee or expectation of fee.” According to MR 6.1(b), lawyers should also “provide any additional services,” above and beyond the (50) hours, at no fee or a substantially reduced fee. Again, Louisiana has no counterpart.

6.1:102      Model Code Comparison

LRPC 6.1 advises lawyers that they should render “public interest legal service” and lists some examples of how a lawyer might render such service. The Model Code has no Disciplinary Rule that deals with pro bono services, although EC 1-2, 1-4, 6-2, 8-1, 8-2, 8-3, 8-7 and 8-9 provide that lawyers should assist in improving the bar and the legal profession and enforcing the Disciplinary Rules. EC 2-1 charges lawyers with the task of assisting in making legal services available and EC 2-16 suggests that lawyers should support activities created so that people unable to pay legal fees can obtain legal services. Finally, EC 2-25 urges all lawyers to find time to serve the disadvantaged.

6.1:200   Lawyer's Moral Obligation to Engage in Public Interest Legal Service

Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 6.1
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.1, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA § 91:6001, ALI-LGL § , Wolfram § 16.9

This section has not yet been completed.

6.2   Rule 6.2 Accepting Appointments

6.2:100   Comparative Analysis of Louisiana Rule

Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 6.2
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.2, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

6.2:101      Model Rule Comparison

The text of LRPC 6.2 is identical to that in its counterpart, MR 6.2.

6.2:102      Model Code Comparison

LRPC 6.2 provides that lawyers should not seek to avoid appointment by a tribunal except for good cause, which includes cases where the representation would result in a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, would result in an unreasonable financial burden on the lawyer or if the client or the cause is so repugnant that it would impair the client-lawyer relationship or the lawyer’s ability to represent the client. The Model Code has no Disciplinary Rule relating to such appointments. EC 2-29 provides that, when lawyers are appointed by a tribunal to represent someone, they may be excused only for compelling reasons. EC 2-27 provides that a lawyer should not decline representation of an unpopular cause. EC 2-28 provides that a lawyer’s personal feelings towards others is not a sufficient reason to decline representation. Nevertheless, EC 2-30 provides that lawyers should not accept employment when they cannot render competent service and should decline employment when their personal feelings would affect their representation of the client. Finally, EC 8-9 provides that lawyers should not be subjected to “undue geographical restraints” when appointed to representation.

6.2:200   Duty to Accept Court Appointments Except for Good Cause

Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 6.2
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.2, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA § 91:6201, ALI-LGL § 26, Wolfram § 16.9

This section has not yet been completed.

6.3   Rule 6.3 Membership in Legal Services Organization

6.3:100   Comparative Analysis of Louisiana Rule

Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 6.3
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.3, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

6.3:101      Model Rule Comparison

The text of LRPC 6.3 is identical to that in its counterpart, MR 6.3.

6.3:102      Model Code Comparison

LRPC 6.3 allows a lawyer to serve in legal organizations despite any interests it might have that are adverse to his clients. The lawyer’s participation in the organization’s actions is restricted in only two very limited situations -- if participation would be incompatible with the lawyer’s obligations to the client under LRPC 1.7; or, if a decision could adversely affect a client of the organization whose interests are adverse to one of the lawyer’s clients, the lawyer should not knowingly participate in the decision. The only corollary in the Model Code is that DR 5-101(A) prevents a lawyer from accepting employment if his professional judgment on behalf of his client would be affected by his personal interests. Additionally, EC 2-33 advises lawyers to be certain that their professional judgment is not affected by their service in a legal assistance organization and advises them to avoid situations in which their professional judgment may be directed by non-lawyers or other interests.

6.3:200   Conflicts of Interest of Lawyers Participating in a Legal Services Organization

Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 6.3
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.3, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA § 91:6401, ALI-LGL § 216, Wolfram § 16.7.4

This section has not yet been completed.

6.4   Rule 6.4 Law Reform Activities Affecting Client Interests

6.4:100   Comparative Analysis of Louisiana Rule

Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 6.4
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.4, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

6.4:101      Model Rule Comparison

The text of LRPC 6.4 is identical to that in its counterpart, MR 6.4.

6.4:102      Model Code Comparison

LRPC 6.4 allows lawyers to serve in organizations involved with reform or administration of the law despite the fact that the reform may affect the interests of one of the lawyer’s clients. Although the Model Code has no counterpart, there are several provisions which may relate to this type of service. DR 5-101(A) prevents a lawyer from accepting employment if his professional judgment on behalf of his client will be affected by his personal interests. DR 8-101 prevents a lawyer holding a public position from using his position to gain special advantage, to influence a tribunal or from accepting anything of value when it is obviously for the purpose of “influencing his action as a public official.” EC 2-33 also advises lawyers to be certain that their professional judgment is not affected by their service in a legal assistance organization and advises them to avoid situations in which their professional judgment may be directed by non-lawyers or other interests.

6.4:200   Conflicts of Interest of Lawyers Participating in Law Reform Organizations

Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 6.4
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.4, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA § 91:6401, ALI-LGL § , Wolfram § 13.8

This section has not yet been completed.

6.5   Rule 6.5 Nonprofit and Court-Annexed Limited Legal Service Programs

6.5:100   Comparative Analysis of Louisiana Rule

Primary Louisiana References:
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.5, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

MR 6.5 was added in February 2002. The Reporter's explanation of the change reads as follows:

Rule 6.5 is a new Rule in response to the Commission's concern that a strict application of the conflict-of-interest rules may be deterring lawyers from serving as volunteers in programs in which clients are provided short-term limited legal services under the auspices of a nonprofit organization or a court-annexed program. The paradigm is the legal-advice hotline or pro se clinic, the purpose of which is to provide short-term limited legal assistance to persons of limited means who otherwise would go unrepresented.

6.5:101      Model Rule Comparison

Louisiana has not adopted the new model rule.

6.5:200   Scope of Rule

Primary Louisiana References:
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.5, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

Louisiana has not adopted the new model rule.

6.5:300   Special Conflict of Interest Rule

Primary Louisiana References:
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.5, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

Louisiana has not adopted the new model rule.

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