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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


Rhode Island Legal Ethics

VI. PUBLIC SERVICE

6.1   Rule 6.1 Pro Bono Public Service

6.1:100   Comparative Analysis of Rhode Island Rule

Primary Rhode Island References: RI Rule 6.1
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.1, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

6.1:101      Model Rule Comparison

RI Rule 6.1 and MR 6.1 are similar in spirit but there are also some significant differences between them. First, RI Rule 6.1 is substantially shorter than MR 6.1. Second, while RI Rule 6.1 holds that "[a] lawyer should render public interest legal service" it does not mandate any specific minimum number of pro bono hours. In contrast, MR 6.1 requires a minimum of fifty hours of pro bono service annually. Third, while MR 6.1(a) binds lawyers to perform "a substantial majority" of the fifty hours without any financial remuneration, RI Rule 6.1 allows for "no fee or reduced fee" for all pro bono services. Fourth, RI Rule 6.1 is not as specific in describing the types of persons or organizations who would benefit from the pro bono public services. The Comment section to RI Rule 6.1 is not as detailed as the comment section to MR 6.1 that goes to great length in specifying how a lawyer may satisfy the pro bono public services.

6.1:102      Model Code Comparison

Rhode Island has not adopted a Model Code comparison. See MR 6.1 and other Jurisdictions.

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

Primary Rhode Island References: RI Rule 6.1
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.1, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA 91:6001, ALI-LGL , Wolfram 16.9

There is no authority in Rhode Island on this topic.

6.2   Rule 6.2 Accepting Appointments

6.2:100   Comparative Analysis of Rhode Island Rule

Primary Rhode Island References: RI Rule 6.2
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.2, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

6.2:101      Model Rule Comparison

Rhode Island has adopted MR 6.2, including the Comments thereto.

6.2:102      Model Code Comparison

Rhode Island has not adopted a Model Code Comparison. See MR 6.2 and other jurisdictions.

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

Primary Rhode Island References: RI Rule 6.2
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.2, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA 91:6201, ALI-LGL 14, Wolfram 16.9

A lawyer may decline an appointment to represent a person for good cause. Good cause may occur if: the lawyer is unable "to handle the matter competently" (see RI Rule 1.1) representation would result in an "improper conflict of interest," or "acceptance would be unreasonably burdensome" to the lawyer. An appointed attorney is " subject to the same limitations on the client-lawyer relationship" and is under "the same obligations to the client as retained counsel."

There is no authority in Rhode Island on this topic.

6.3   Rule 6.3 Membership in Legal Services Organization

6.3:100   Comparative Analysis of Rhode Island Rule

Primary Rhode Island References: RI Rule 6.3
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.3, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

6.3:101      Model Rule Comparison

Rhode Island has adopted MR 6.3, including the Comments thereto.

6.3:102      Model Code Comparison

Rhode Island has not adopted a Model Code comparison. See MR 6.3 and other jurisdictions.

6.3:200   Conflicts of Interest of Lawyers Participating in Legal Service Organizations

Primary Rhode Island References: RI Rule 6.3
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.3, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA 91:6401, ALI-LGL 135, Wolfram 16.7.4

An attorney may serve as a "member, officer or director of [a] non-profit corporation within the confines of RI Rule 6.3," which pertains to conflicts between clients of the non-profit organization and other clients of the attorney. RI Eth. Op. 93-25 (1993). An attorney is allowed to be retained by non-profit corporations from time to time but the attorney is subject to RI Rule 6.3 and RI Rule 5.4. See id.

6.4   Rule 6.4 Law Reform Activities Affecting Client Interests

6.4:100   Comparative Analysis of Rhode Island Rule

Primary Rhode Island References: RI Rule 6.4
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.4, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

6.4:102      Model Rule Comparison

Rhode Island has adopted MR 6.4 and the Comments thereto.

6.4:103      Model Code Comparison

There is no counterpart to this rule in the Code. Rhode Island has not adopted a Model Code comparison. See MR 6.4 and Other Jurisdictions.

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

Primary Rhode Island References: RI Rule 6.4
Background References: ABA Model Rule 6.4, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA 91:6401, ALI-LGL , Wolfram 13.8

There is no authority in Rhode Island on this topic.

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

6.5:100   Comparative Analysis of Rhode Island Rule

Primary Rhode Island 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

Rhode Island has not adopted the new model rule.

6.5:200   Scope of Rule

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

Rhode Island has not adopted the new model rule.

6.5:300   Special Conflict of Interest Rule

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

Rhode Island has not adopted the new model rule.