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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


New Mexico Rules of Professional Conduct

Comment - Rule 6.1

[1] The ABA House of Delegates has formally acknowledged "the basic responsibility of each lawyer engaged in the practice of law to provide public interest legal services" without fee, or at a substantially reduced fee, in one or more of the following areas: poverty law, civil rights law, public rights law, charitable organization representation and the administration of justice. This Rule expresses that policy but is not intended to be enforced through disciplinary process.

[2] The rights and responsibilities of individuals and organizations in the United States are increasingly defined in legal terms. As a consequence, legal assistance in coping with the web of statutes, rules and regulations is imperative for persons of modest and limited means, as well as for the relatively well-to-do.

[3] The basic responsibility for providing legal services for those unable to pay ultimately rests upon the individual lawyer, and personal involvement in the problems of the disadvantaged can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the life of a lawyer. Every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional workload, should find time to participate in or otherwise support the provision of legal services to the disadvantaged. The provision of free legal services to those unable to pay reasonable fees continues to be an obligation of each lawyer as well as the profession generally, but the efforts of individual lawyers are often not enough to meet the need. Thus, it has been necessary for the profession, the government, and the courts to institute additional programs to provide legal services. Accordingly, legal aid offices, lawyer referral services, and other related problems have been developed, and more will be developed by the profession, the government, and the courts. Every lawyer should support all proper efforts to meet this need for legal services.

[4] The goal of 50 hours per year for pro bono legal service established in paragraph (b) of this Rule is aspirational, it is a goal, not a requiremnt. The number used is intended as an average yealry amount over the course of the lawyer's career.

[5] A lawyer in government service who is prohibited by constitutional, statutory, or regulatory restrictions from performing the pro bono legal services described in paragraph (b)(1) of the Rule may discharge the lawyer's responsibility by participating in activities described in paragraph (b)(2).

Model Code Comparison

There is no counterpart of Rule 6.1 in the Disciplinary Rules of the Code. EC 2-25 states that "The basic responsibility for providing legal services for those unable to pay ultimately rests upon the individual lawyer.... Every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional workload, should find time to participate in serving the disadvantaged." EC 8-9 states that "The advancement of our legal system is of vital importance in maintaining the rule of law ... and lawyers should encourage, and should aid in making needed changes and improvements." EC 8-3 states that "Those persons unable to pay for legal services should be provided needed services."

COMMITTEE COMMENTARY

For the purposes of this rule, "a court pro se assisted program" shall qualify.