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.
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District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct
Comment - Rule 6.5
 Legal services organizations, courts, and various nonprofit organizations have
established programs through which lawyers provide short-term limited legal services, such as
advice or the completion of legal forms, that will assist persons to address their legal problems
without further representation by a lawyer. In these programs, such as legal-advice hotlines,
advice-only clinics or pro se counseling programs, a client-lawyer relationship is established, but
there is no expectation that the lawyer's representation of the client will continue beyond the
limited consultation. Such programs are normally operated under circumstances in which it is
not feasible for a lawyer to systematically screen for conflicts of interest as is generally required
before undertaking a representation. See, e.g., Rules 1.7, 1.9 and 1.10. For the purposes of this
rule, short-term limited legal services normally do not include appearing before a tribunal on
behalf of a client.
 A lawyer who provides short-term limited legal services pursuant to this rule must secure the client's informed consent to the limited scope of the representation. See Rule 1.2(c). If a short-term limited representation would not be reasonable under the circumstances, the lawyer may offer advice to the client but must also advise the client of the need for further assistance of counsel. Except as provided in this rule, the Rules of Professional Conduct, including Rule 1.6, are applicable to the limited representation.
 Because a lawyer who is representing a client in the circumstances addressed by this rule ordinarily is not able to check systematically for conflicts of interest, paragraph (a) requires compliance with Rules 1.7 or 1.9 only if the lawyer knows that the representation presents a conflict of interest for the lawyer, and with Rule 1.10 only if the lawyer knows that another lawyer in the lawyer's firm is disqualified by Rules 1.7 or 1.9 in the matter.
 Because the limited nature of the services significantly reduces the risk of conflicts of interest with other matters being handled by the lawyer's firm, paragraph (b) provides that Rule 1.10 is inapplicable to a representation governed by this rule except as provided by paragraph (a)(2). Paragraph (a)(2) requires the participating lawyer to comply with Rule 1.10 when the lawyer knows that the lawyer's firm is disqualified by Rules 1.7 or 1.9. By virtue of paragraph (b), however, a lawyer's participation in a short-term limited legal services program will not preclude the lawyer's firm from undertaking or continuing the representation of a client with interests adverse to a client being represented under the program's auspices. Nor will the personal disqualification of a lawyer participating in the program be imputed to other lawyers participating in the program.
 If, after commencing a short-term limited representation in accordance with this rule, a lawyer undertakes to represent the client in the matter on an ongoing basis, Rules 1.7, 1.9 and 1.10 become applicable.
 This rule serves the public interest by making it easier for lawyers affiliated with firms to provide pro bono legal services. Rule 1.10(e) contains a similarly-motivated exception from imputation for attorneys who, while affiliated with a firm, assist the District of Columbia Attorney General with certain matters.