PA Professional Responsibility
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Lawyer Client Relationship Begins
As soon as client reasonably believes the relationship exists.
Must be reasonable. All must be in writing in PA. Differs from MRPC - only contingency fees must be in writing.
Not authorized for criminal cases, divorce cases, or cases for support recovered.
If an advance on services, must return any unearned portion.
Property as Payment
Acceptable as long as it is not inform of proprietary interest in the cause of action or subject matter.
PA Rules Differ from ABA Model Rules
- ALL fee agreements must be in writing.
- ABA - only contingent fees must be in writing
- Client waiver of conflict of interest need not be in writing.
- ABA - needs to be in writing
- Free fee-sharing - referring lawyer may receive fee just for referral if fair and disclosed to client.
- ABA - can only receive fee for provision of some legal services
- To sell a practice, you must stop practicing in geographic area, notify clients and sell to one purchaser.
- ABA - rule is not as strict
- Imputed Disqualification
- PA Screening device
- - immediate screening and ban on communication
- - no share in fee
- - affected client must be notified and allowed to monitor
- - applies to non-professionals, as well, through case law
Business Transactions & Acquisition of Interest in Client's Property
- a) Terms must be in writing
- b) They must be fair and reasonable
- c) advise client in writing of the prudence of independent counsel; AND
- d) informed consent in writing, signed by the client.
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