RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT Chapter 1 Lawyer-Client Relationship Rules 1.1 – 1.18

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Rule 1.1 Competence
(a) A lawyer shall not intentionally, recklessly, with gross negligence, or repeatedly fail to
perform legal services with competence.
(b) For purposes of this rule, “competence” in any legal service shall mean to apply the (i)
learning and skill, and (ii) mental, emotional, and physical ability reasonably* necessary
for the performance of such service.
(c) If a lawyer does not have sufficient learning and skill when the legal services are
undertaken, the lawyer nonetheless may provide competent representation by (i)
associating with or, where appropriate, professionally consulting another lawyer whom
the lawyer reasonably believes* to be competent, (ii) acquiring sufficient learning and
skill before performance is required, or (iii) referring the matter to another lawyer whom
the lawyer reasonably believes* to be competent.
(d) In an emergency a lawyer may give advice or assistance in a matter in which the lawyer
does not have the skill ordinarily required if referral to, or association or consultation
with, another lawyer would be impractical. Assistance in an emergency must be limited
to that reasonably* necessary in the circumstances.
Comment
[1] This rule addresses only a lawyer’s responsibility for his or her own professional
competence. See rules 5.1 and 5.3 with respect to a lawyer’s disciplinary responsibility for
supervising subordinate lawyers and nonlawyers.
[2] See rule 1.3 with respect to a lawyer’s duty to act with reasonable* diligence.
Rule 1.2 Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority
(a) Subject to rule 1.2.1, a lawyer shall abide by a client’s decisions concerning the
objectives of representation and, as required by rule 1.4, shall reasonably* consult with
the client as to the means by which they are to be pursued. Subject to Business and
Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) and rule 1.6, a lawyer may take such
action on behalf of the client as is impliedly authorized to carry out the representation. A
lawyer shall abide by a client’s decision whether to settle a matter. Except as otherwise
provided by law in a criminal case, the lawyer shall abide by the client’s decision, after
consultation with the lawyer, as to a plea to be entered, whether to waive jury trial and
whether the client will testify.
(b) A lawyer may limit the scope of the representation if the limitation is reasonable* under
the circumstances, is not otherwise prohibited by law, and the client gives informed
consent.*

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Comment
Allocation of Authority between Client and Lawyer
[1] Paragraph (a) confers upon the client the ultimate authority to determine the purposes to
be served by legal representation, within the limits imposed by law and the lawyer’s professional
obligations. (See, e.g., Cal. Const., art. I, § 16; Pen. Code, § 1018.) A lawyer retained to
represent a client is authorized to act on behalf of the client, such as in procedural matters and in
making certain tactical decisions. A lawyer is not authorized merely by virtue of the lawyer’s
retention to impair the client’s substantive rights or the client’s claim itself. (Blanton v.
Womancare, Inc. (1985) 38 Cal.3d 396, 404 [212 Cal.Rptr. 151, 156].)
[2] At the outset of, or during a representation, the client may authorize the lawyer to take
specific action on the client’s behalf without further consultation. Absent a material change in
circumstances and subject to rule 1.4, a lawyer may rely on such an advance authorization. The
client may revoke such authority at any time.
Independence from Client’s Views or Activities
[3] A lawyer’s representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not
constitute an endorsement of the client’s political, economic, social or moral views or activities.
Agreements Limiting Scope of Representation
[4] All agreements concerning a lawyer’s representation of a client must accord with the
Rules of Professional Conduct and other law. (See, e.g., rules 1.1, 1.8.1, 5.6; see also Cal. Rules
of Court, rules 3.35-3.37 [limited scope rules applicable in civil matters generally], 5.425
[limited scope rule applicable in family law matters].)
Rule 1.2.1 Advising or Assisting the Violation of Law
(a) A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client in conduct that the lawyer
knows* is criminal, fraudulent,* or a violation of any law, rule, or ruling of a tribunal.*
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a lawyer may:
(1) discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client;
and
(2) counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity,
scope, meaning, or application of a law, rule, or ruling of a tribunal.*
Comment
[1] There is a critical distinction under this rule between presenting an analysis of legal
aspects of questionable conduct and recommending the means by which a crime or fraud* might
be committed with impunity. The fact that a client uses a lawyer’s advice in a course of action
that is criminal or fraudulent* does not of itself make a lawyer a party to the course of action.

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[2] Paragraphs (a) and (b) apply whether or not the client’s conduct has already begun and is
continuing. In complying with this rule, a lawyer shall not violate the lawyer’s duty under
Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (a) to uphold the Constitution and laws
of the United States and California or the duty of confidentiality as provided in Business and
Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) and rule 1.6. In some cases, the lawyer’s
response is limited to the lawyer’s right and, where appropriate, duty to resign or withdraw in
accordance with rules 1.13 and 1.16.
[3] Paragraph (b) authorizes a lawyer to advise a client in good faith regarding the validity,
scope, meaning or application of a law, rule, or ruling of a tribunal* or of the meaning placed
upon it by governmental authorities, and of potential consequences to disobedience of the law,
rule, or ruling of a tribunal* that the lawyer concludes in good faith to be invalid, as well as legal
procedures that may be invoked to obtain a determination of invalidity.
[4] Paragraph (b) also authorizes a lawyer to advise a client on the consequences of violating
a law, rule, or ruling of a tribunal* that the client does not contend is unenforceable or unjust in
itself, as a means of protesting a law or policy the client finds objectionable. For example, a
lawyer may properly advise a client about the consequences of blocking the entrance to a public
building as a means of protesting a law or policy the client believes* to be unjust or invalid.
[5] If a lawyer comes to know* or reasonably should know* that a client expects assistance
not permitted by these rules or other law or if the lawyer intends to act contrary to the client’s
instructions, the lawyer must advise the client regarding the limitations on the lawyer’s conduct.
(See rule 1.4(a)(4).)
[6] Paragraph (b) permits a lawyer to advise a client regarding the validity, scope, and
meaning of California laws that might conflict with federal or tribal law. In the event of such a
conflict, the lawyer may assist a client in drafting or administering, or interpreting or complying
with, California laws, including statutes, regulations, orders, and other state or local provisions,
even if the client’s actions might violate the conflicting federal or tribal law. If California law
conflicts with federal or tribal law, the lawyer must inform the client about related federal or
tribal law and policy and under certain circumstances may also be required to provide legal
advice to the client regarding the conflict (see rules 1.1 and 1.4).
Rule 1.3 Diligence
(a) A lawyer shall not intentionally, repeatedly, recklessly or with gross negligence fail to act
with reasonable diligence in representing a client.
(b) For purposes of this rule, “reasonable diligence” shall mean that a lawyer acts with
commitment and dedication to the interests of the client and does not neglect or
disregard, or unduly delay a legal matter entrusted to the lawyer.

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Comment
[1] This rule addresses only a lawyer’s responsibility for his or her own professional
diligence. See rules 5.1 and 5.3 with respect to a lawyer’s disciplinary responsibility for
supervising subordinate lawyers and nonlawyers.
[2] See rule 1.1 with respect to a lawyer’s duty to perform legal services with competence.
Rule 1.4 Communication with Clients
(a) A lawyer shall:
(1) promptly inform the client of any decision or circumstance with respect to which
disclosure or the client’s informed consent* is required by these rules or the State
Bar Act;
(2) reasonably* consult with the client about the means by which to accomplish the
client’s objectives in the representation;
(3) keep the client reasonably* informed about significant developments relating to
the representation, including promptly complying with reasonable* requests for
information and copies of significant documents when necessary to keep the
client so informed; and
(4) advise the client about any relevant limitation on the lawyer’s conduct when the
lawyer knows* that the client expects assistance not permitted by the Rules of
Professional Conduct or other law.
(b) A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably* necessary to permit the client to
make informed decisions regarding the representation.
(c) A lawyer may delay transmission of information to a client if the lawyer reasonably
believes* that the client would be likely to react in a way that may cause imminent harm
to the client or others.
(d) A lawyer’s obligation under this rule to provide information and documents is subject to
any applicable protective order, non-disclosure agreement, or limitation under statutory
or decisional law.
Comment
[1] A lawyer will not be subject to discipline under paragraph (a)(3) of this rule for failing to
communicate insignificant or irrelevant information. (See Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6068, subd.
(m).) Whether a particular development is significant will generally depend on the surrounding
facts and circumstances.

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[2] A lawyer may comply with paragraph (a)(3) by providing to the client copies of
significant documents by electronic or other means. This rule does not prohibit a lawyer from
seeking recovery of the lawyer’s expense in any subsequent legal proceeding.
[3] Paragraph (c) applies during a representation and does not alter the obligations applicable
at termination of a representation. (See rule 1.16(e)(1).)
[4] This rule is not intended to create, augment, diminish, or eliminate any application of the
work product rule. The obligation of the lawyer to provide work product to the client shall be
governed by relevant statutory and decisional law.
Rule 1.4.1 Communication of Settlement Offers
(a) A lawyer shall promptly communicate to the lawyer’s client:
(1) all terms and conditions of a proposed plea bargain or other dispositive offer
made to the client in a criminal matter; and
(2) all amounts, terms, and conditions of any written* offer of settlement made to the
client in all other matters.
(b) As used in this rule, “client” includes a person* who possesses the authority to accept an
offer of settlement or plea, or, in a class action, all the named representatives of the class.
Comment
An oral offer of settlement made to the client in a civil matter must also be communicated if it is
a “significant development” under rule 1.4.
Rule 1.4.2 Disclosure of Professional Liability Insurance
(a) A lawyer who knows* or reasonably should know* that the lawyer does not have
professional liability insurance shall inform a client in writing,* at the time of the client’s
engagement of the lawyer, that the lawyer does not have professional liability insurance.
(b) If notice under paragraph (a) has not been provided at the time of a client’s engagement
of the lawyer, the lawyer shall inform the client in writing* within thirty days of the date
the lawyer knows* or reasonably should know* that the lawyer no longer has
professional liability insurance during the representation of the client.
(c) This rule does not apply to:
(1) a lawyer who knows* or reasonably should know* at the time of the client’s
engagement of the lawyer that the lawyer’s legal representation of the client in the
matter will not exceed four hours; provided that if the representation subsequently
exceeds four hours, the lawyer must comply with paragraphs (a) and (b);

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(2) a lawyer who is employed as a government lawyer or in-house counsel when that
lawyer is representing or providing legal advice to a client in that capacity;
(3) a lawyer who is rendering legal services in an emergency to avoid foreseeable
prejudice to the rights or interests of the client;
(4) a lawyer who has previously advised the client in writing* under paragraph (a) or
(b) that the lawyer does not have professional liability insurance.
Comment
[1] The disclosure obligation imposed by paragraph (a) applies with respect to new clients
and new engagements with returning clients.
[2] A lawyer may use the following language in making the disclosure required by paragraph
(a), and may include that language in a written* fee agreement with the client or in a separate
writing:
“Pursuant to rule 1.4.2 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct, I am
informing you in writing that I do not have professional liability insurance.”
[3] A lawyer may use the following language in making the disclosure required by paragraph
(b):
“Pursuant to rule 1.4.2 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct, I am
informing you in writing that I no longer have professional liability insurance.”
[4] The exception in paragraph (c)(2) for government lawyers and in-house counsels is
limited to situations involving direct employment and representation, and does not, for example,
apply to outside counsel for a private or governmental entity, or to counsel retained by an insurer
to represent an insured. If a lawyer is employed by and provides legal services directly for a
private entity or a federal, state or local governmental entity, that entity is presumed to know*
whether the lawyer is or is not covered by professional liability insurance.
Rule 1.5 Fees for Legal Services
(a) A lawyer shall not make an agreement for, charge, or collect an unconscionable or illegal
fee.
(b) Unconscionability of a fee shall be determined on the basis of all the facts and
circumstances existing at the time the agreement is entered into except where the parties
contemplate that the fee will be affected by later events. The factors to be considered in
determining the unconscionability of a fee include without limitation the following:
(1) whether the lawyer engaged in fraud* or overreaching in negotiating or setting the
fee;

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(2) whether the lawyer has failed to disclose material facts;
(3) the amount of the fee in proportion to the value of the services performed;
(4) the relative sophistication of the lawyer and the client;
(5) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to
perform the legal service properly;
(6) the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular
employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer;
(7) the amount involved and the results obtained;
(8) the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;
(9) the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;
(10) the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the
services;
(11) whether the fee is fixed or contingent;
(12) the time and labor required; and
(13) whether the client gave informed consent* to the fee.
(c) A lawyer shall not make an agreement for, charge, or collect:
(1) any fee in a family law matter, the payment or amount of which is contingent
upon the securing of a dissolution or declaration of nullity of a marriage or upon
the amount of spousal or child support, or property settlement in lieu thereof; or
(2) a contingent fee for representing a defendant in a criminal case.
(d) A lawyer may make an agreement for, charge, or collect a fee that is denominated as
“earned on receipt” or “non-refundable,” or in similar terms, only if the fee is a true
retainer and the client agrees in writing* after disclosure that the client will not be
entitled to a refund of all or part of the fee charged. A true retainer is a fee that a client
pays to a lawyer to ensure the lawyer’s availability to the client during a specified period
or on a specified matter, but not to any extent as compensation for legal services
performed or to be performed.
(e) A lawyer may make an agreement for, charge, or collect a flat fee for specified legal
services. A flat fee is a fixed amount that constitutes complete payment for the
performance of described services regardless of the amount of work ultimately involved,
and which may be paid in whole or in part in advance of the lawyer providing those
services.

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Comment
Prohibited Contingent Fees
[1] Paragraph (c)(1) does not preclude a contract for a contingent fee for legal representation
in connection with the recovery of post-judgment balances due under child or spousal support or
other financial orders.
Payment of Fees in Advance of Services
[2] Rule 1.15(a) and (b) govern whether a lawyer must deposit in a trust account a fee paid in
advance.
[3] When a lawyer-client relationship terminates, the lawyer must refund the unearned
portion of a fee. (See rule 1.16(e)(2).)
Division of Fee
[4] A division of fees among lawyers is governed by rule 1.5.1.
Written* Fee Agreements
[5] Some fee agreements must be in writing* to be enforceable. (See, e.g., Bus. & Prof.
Code, §§ 6147 and 6148.)
Rule 1.5.1 Fee Divisions Among Lawyers
(a) Lawyers who are not in the same law firm* shall not divide a fee for legal services
unless:
(1) the lawyers enter into a written* agreement to divide the fee;
(2) the client has consented in writing,* either at the time the lawyers enter into the
agreement to divide the fee or as soon thereafter as reasonably* practicable, after
a full written* disclosure to the client of: (i) the fact that a division of fees will be
made; (ii) the identity of the lawyers or law firms* that are parties to the division;
and (iii) the terms of the division; and
(3) the total fee charged by all lawyers is not increased solely by reason of the
agreement to divide fees.
(b) This rule does not apply to a division of fees pursuant to court order.
Comment
The writing* requirements of paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) may be satisfied by one or more
writings.*

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Rule 1.6 Confidential Information of a Client
(a) A lawyer shall not reveal information protected from disclosure by Business and
Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) unless the client gives informed
consent,* or the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b) of this rule.
(b) A lawyer may, but is not required to, reveal information protected by Business and
Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) to the extent that the lawyer reasonably
believes* the disclosure is necessary to prevent a criminal act that the lawyer reasonably
believes* is likely to result in death of, or substantial* bodily harm to, an individual, as
provided in paragraph (c).
(c) Before revealing information protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068,
subdivision (e)(1) to prevent a criminal act as provided in paragraph (b), a lawyer shall, if
reasonable* under the circumstances:
(1) make a good faith effort to persuade the client: (i) not to commit or to continue
the criminal act; or (ii) to pursue a course of conduct that will prevent the
threatened death or substantial* bodily harm; or do both (i) and (ii); and
(2) inform the client, at an appropriate time, of the lawyer’s ability or decision to
reveal information protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068,
subdivision (e)(1) as provided in paragraph (b).
(d) In revealing information protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068,
subdivision (e)(1) as provided in paragraph (b), the lawyer’s disclosure must be no more
than is necessary to prevent the criminal act, given the information known* to the lawyer
at the time of the disclosure.
(e) A lawyer who does not reveal information permitted by paragraph (b) does not violate
this rule.
Comment
Duty of confidentiality
[1] Paragraph (a) relates to a lawyer’s obligations under Business and Professions Code
section 6068, subdivision (e)(1), which provides it is a duty of a lawyer: “To maintain inviolate
the confidence, and at every peril to himself or herself to preserve the secrets, of his or her
client.” A lawyer’s duty to preserve the confidentiality of client information involves public
policies of paramount importance. (In Re Jordan (1974) 12 Cal.3d 575, 580 [116 Cal.Rptr.
371].) Preserving the confidentiality of client information contributes to the trust that is the
hallmark of the lawyer-client relationship. The client is thereby encouraged to seek legal
assistance and to communicate fully and frankly with the lawyer even as to embarrassing or
detrimental subjects. The lawyer needs this information to represent the client effectively and, if
necessary, to advise the client to refrain from wrongful conduct. Almost without exception,
clients come to lawyers in order to determine their rights and what is, in the complex of laws and

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regulations, deemed to be legal and correct. Based upon experience, lawyers know* that almost
all clients follow the advice given, and the law is upheld. Paragraph (a) thus recognizes a
fundamental principle in the lawyer-client relationship, that, in the absence of the client’s
informed consent,* a lawyer must not reveal information protected by Business and Professions
Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1). (See, e.g., Commercial Standard Title Co. v. Superior
Court (1979) 92 Cal.App.3d 934, 945 [155 Cal.Rptr.393].)
Lawyer-client confidentiality encompasses the lawyer-client privilege, the work-product doctrine
and ethical standards of confidentiality
[2] The principle of lawyer-client confidentiality applies to information a lawyer acquires by
virtue of the representation, whatever its source, and encompasses matters communicated in
confidence by the client, and therefore protected by the lawyer-client privilege, matters protected
by the work product doctrine, and matters protected under ethical standards of confidentiality, all
as established in law, rule and policy. (See In the Matter of Johnson (Rev. Dept. 2000) 4 Cal.
State Bar Ct. Rptr. 179; Goldstein v. Lees (1975) 46 Cal.App.3d 614, 621 [120 Cal.Rptr. 253].)
The lawyer-client privilege and work-product doctrine apply in judicial and other proceedings in
which a lawyer may be called as a witness or be otherwise compelled to produce evidence
concerning a client. A lawyer’s ethical duty of confidentiality is not so limited in its scope of
protection for the lawyer-client relationship of trust and prevents a lawyer from revealing the
client’s information even when not subjected to such compulsion. Thus, a lawyer may not reveal
such information except with the informed consent* of the client or as authorized or required by
the State Bar Act, these rules, or other law.
Narrow exception to duty of confidentiality under this rule
[3] Notwithstanding the important public policies promoted by lawyers adhering to the core
duty of confidentiality, the overriding value of life permits disclosures otherwise prohibited by
Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1). Paragraph (b) is based on
Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(2), which narrowly permits a
lawyer to disclose information protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068,
subdivision (e)(1) even without client consent. Evidence Code section 956.5, which relates to
the evidentiary lawyer-client privilege, sets forth a similar express exception. Although a lawyer
is not permitted to reveal information protected by section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) concerning a
client’s past, completed criminal acts, the policy favoring the preservation of human life that
underlies this exception to the duty of confidentiality and the evidentiary privilege permits
disclosure to prevent a future or ongoing criminal act.
Lawyer not subject to discipline for revealing information protected by Business and Professions
Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) as permitted under this rule
[4] Paragraph (b) reflects a balancing between the interests of preserving client
confidentiality and of preventing a criminal act that a lawyer reasonably believes* is likely to
result in death or substantial* bodily harm to an individual. A lawyer who reveals information
protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) as permitted under
this rule is not subject to discipline.

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No duty to reveal information protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068,
subdivision (e)(1)
[5] Neither Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(2) nor paragraph (b)
imposes an affirmative obligation on a lawyer to reveal information protected by Business and
Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) in order to prevent harm. A lawyer may
decide not to reveal such information. Whether a lawyer chooses to reveal information protected
by section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) as permitted under this rule is a matter for the individual
lawyer to decide, based on all the facts and circumstances, such as those discussed in Comment
[6] of this rule.
Whether to reveal information protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068,
subdivision (e) as permitted under paragraph (b)
[6] Disclosure permitted under paragraph (b) is ordinarily a last resort, when no other
available action is reasonably* likely to prevent the criminal act. Prior to revealing information
protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) as permitted by
paragraph (b), the lawyer must, if reasonable* under the circumstances, make a good faith effort
to persuade the client to take steps to avoid the criminal act or threatened harm. Among the
factors to be considered in determining whether to disclose information protected by section
6068, subdivision (e)(1) are the following:
(1) the amount of time that the lawyer has to make a decision about disclosure;
(2) whether the client or a third-party has made similar threats before and whether
they have ever acted or attempted to act upon them;
(3) whether the lawyer believes* the lawyer’s efforts to persuade the client or a third
person* not to engage in the criminal conduct have or have not been successful;
(4) the extent of adverse effect to the client’s rights under the Fifth, Sixth and
Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and analogous rights
and privacy rights under Article I of the Constitution of the State of California
that may result from disclosure contemplated by the lawyer;
(5) the extent of other adverse effects to the client that may result from disclosure
contemplated by the lawyer; and
(6) the nature and extent of information that must be disclosed to prevent the criminal
act or threatened harm.
A lawyer may also consider whether the prospective harm to the victim or victims is imminent in
deciding whether to disclose the information protected by section 6068, subdivision (e)(1).
However, the imminence of the harm is not a prerequisite to disclosure and a lawyer may
disclose the information protected by section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) without waiting until
immediately before the harm is likely to occur.

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Whether to counsel client or third person* not to commit a criminal act reasonably* likely to
result in death or substantial* bodily harm
[7] Paragraph (c)(1) provides that before a lawyer may reveal information protected by
Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1), the lawyer must, if reasonable*
under the circumstances, make a good faith effort to persuade the client not to commit or to
continue the criminal act, or to persuade the client to otherwise pursue a course of conduct that
will prevent the threatened death or substantial* bodily harm, including persuading the client to
take action to prevent a third person* from committing or continuing a criminal act. If
necessary, the client may be persuaded to do both. The interests protected by such counseling
are the client’s interests in limiting disclosure of information protected by section 6068,
subdivision (e) and in taking responsible action to deal with situations attributable to the client.
If a client, whether in response to the lawyer’s counseling or otherwise, takes corrective action
— such as by ceasing the client’s own criminal act or by dissuading a third person* from
committing or continuing a criminal act before harm is caused — the option for permissive
disclosure by the lawyer would cease because the threat posed by the criminal act would no
longer be present. When the actor is a nonclient or when the act is deliberate or malicious, the
lawyer who contemplates making adverse disclosure of protected information may reasonably*
conclude that the compelling interests of the lawyer or others in their own personal safety
preclude personal contact with the actor. Before counseling an actor who is a nonclient, the
lawyer should, if reasonable* under the circumstances, first advise the client of the lawyer’s
intended course of action. If a client or another person* has already acted but the intended harm
has not yet occurred, the lawyer should consider, if reasonable* under the circumstances, efforts
to persuade the client or third person* to warn the victim or consider other appropriate action to
prevent the harm. Even when the lawyer has concluded that paragraph (b) does not permit the
lawyer to reveal information protected by section 6068, subdivision (e)(1), the lawyer
nevertheless is permitted to counsel the client as to why it may be in the client’s best interest to
consent to the attorney’s disclosure of that information.
Disclosure of information protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision
(e)(1) must be no more than is reasonably* necessary to prevent the criminal act
[8] Paragraph (d) requires that disclosure of information protected by Business and
Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e) as permitted by paragraph (b), when made, must
be no more extensive than is necessary to prevent the criminal act. Disclosure should allow
access to the information to only those persons* who the lawyer reasonably believes* can act to
prevent the harm. Under some circumstances, a lawyer may determine that the best course to
pursue is to make an anonymous disclosure to the potential victim or relevant law-enforcement
authorities. What particular measures are reasonable* depends on the circumstances known* to
the lawyer. Relevant circumstances include the time available, whether the victim might be
unaware of the threat, the lawyer’s prior course of dealings with the client, and the extent of the
adverse effect on the client that may result from the disclosure contemplated by the lawyer.

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Informing client pursuant to paragraph (c)(2) of lawyer’s ability or decision to reveal
information protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1)
[9] A lawyer is required to keep a client reasonably* informed about significant
developments regarding the representation. (See rule 1.4; Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6068, subd. (m).)
Paragraph (c)(2), however, recognizes that under certain circumstances, informing a client of the
lawyer’s ability or decision to reveal information protected by section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) as
permitted in paragraph (b) would likely increase the risk of death or substantial* bodily harm,
not only to the originally-intended victims of the criminal act, but also to the client or members
of the client’s family, or to the lawyer or the lawyer’s family or associates. Therefore, paragraph
(c)(2) requires a lawyer to inform the client of the lawyer’s ability or decision to reveal
information protected by section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) as permitted in paragraph (b) only if it
is reasonable* to do so under the circumstances. Paragraph (c)(2) further recognizes that the
appropriate time for the lawyer to inform the client may vary depending upon the circumstances.
(See Comment [10] of this rule.) Among the factors to be considered in determining an
appropriate time, if any, to inform a client are:
(1) whether the client is an experienced user of legal services;
(2) the frequency of the lawyer’s contact with the client;
(3) the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;
(4) whether the lawyer and client have discussed the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality
or any exceptions to that duty;
(5) the likelihood that the client’s matter will involve information within paragraph
(b);
(6) the lawyer’s belief,* if applicable, that so informing the client is likely to increase
the likelihood that a criminal act likely to result in the death of, or substantial*
bodily harm to, an individual; and
(7) the lawyer’s belief,* if applicable, that good faith efforts to persuade a client not
to act on a threat have failed.
Avoiding a chilling effect on the lawyer-client relationship
[10] The foregoing flexible approach to the lawyer’s informing a client of his or her ability or
decision to reveal information protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068,
subdivision (e)(1) recognizes the concern that informing a client about limits on confidentiality
may have a chilling effect on client communication. (See Comment [1].) To avoid that chilling
effect, one lawyer may choose to inform the client of the lawyer’s ability to reveal information
protected by section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) as early as the outset of the representation, while
another lawyer may choose to inform a client only at a point when that client has imparted
information that comes within paragraph (b), or even choose not to inform a client until such
time as the lawyer attempts to counsel the client as contemplated in Comment [7]. In each

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situation, the lawyer will have satisfied the lawyer’s obligation under paragraph (c)(2), and will
not be subject to discipline.
Informing client that disclosure has been made; termination of the lawyer-client relationship
[11] When a lawyer has revealed information protected by Business and Professions Code
section 6068, subdivision (e) as permitted in paragraph (b), in all but extraordinary cases the
relationship between lawyer and client that is based on trust and confidence will have
deteriorated so as to make the lawyer’s representation of the client impossible. Therefore, when
the relationship has deteriorated because of the lawyer’s disclosure, the lawyer is required to
seek to withdraw from the representation, unless the client has given informed consent* to the
lawyer’s continued representation. The lawyer normally must inform the client of the fact of the
lawyer’s disclosure. If the lawyer has a compelling interest in not informing the client, such as
to protect the lawyer, the lawyer’s family or a third person* from the risk of death or
substantial* bodily harm, the lawyer must withdraw from the representation. (See rule 1.16.)
Other consequences of the lawyer’s disclosure
[12] Depending upon the circumstances of a lawyer’s disclosure of information protected by
Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) as permitted by this rule, there
may be other important issues that a lawyer must address. For example, a lawyer who is likely to
testify as a witness in a matter involving a client must comply with rule 3.7. Similarly, the
lawyer must also consider his or her duties of loyalty and competence. (See rules 1.7 and 1.1.)
Other exceptions to confidentiality under California law
[13] This rule is not intended to augment, diminish, or preclude any other exceptions to the
duty to preserve information protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068,
subdivision (e)(1) recognized under California law.
Rule 1.7 Conflict of Interest: Current Clients
(a) A lawyer shall not, without informed written consent* from each client and compliance
with paragraph (d), represent a client if the representation is directly adverse to another
client in the same or a separate matter.
(b) A lawyer shall not, without informed written consent* from each affected client and
compliance with paragraph (d), represent a client if there is a significant risk the lawyer’s
representation of the client will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to or
relationships with another client, a former client or a third person,* or by the lawyer’s
own interests.
(c) Even when a significant risk requiring a lawyer to comply with paragraph (b) is not
present, a lawyer shall not represent a client without written* disclosure of the
relationship to the client and compliance with paragraph (d) where:

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(1) the lawyer has, or knows* that another lawyer in the lawyer’s firm* has, a legal,
business, financial, professional, or personal relationship with or responsibility to
a party or witness in the same matter; or
(2) the lawyer knows* or reasonably should know* that another party’s lawyer is a
spouse, parent, child, or sibling of the lawyer, lives with the lawyer, is a client of
the lawyer or another lawyer in the lawyer’s firm,* or has an intimate personal
relationship with the lawyer.
(d) Representation is permitted under this rule only if the lawyer complies with paragraphs
(a), (b), and (c), and:
(1) the lawyer reasonably believes* that the lawyer will be able to provide competent
and diligent representation to each affected client;
(2) the representation is not prohibited by law; and
(3) the representation does not involve the assertion of a claim by one client against
another client represented by the lawyer in the same litigation or other proceeding
before a tribunal.
(e) For purposes of this rule, “matter” includes any judicial or other proceeding, application,
request for a ruling or other determination, contract, transaction, claim, controversy,
investigation, charge, accusation, arrest, or other deliberation, decision, or action that is
focused on the interests of specific persons,* or a discrete and identifiable class of
persons.*
Comment
[1] Loyalty and independent judgment are essential elements in the lawyer’s relationship to a
client. The duty of undivided loyalty to a current client prohibits undertaking representation
directly adverse to that client without that client’s informed written consent.* Thus, absent
consent, a lawyer may not act as an advocate in one matter against a person* the lawyer
represents in some other matter, even when the matters are wholly unrelated. (See Flatt v.
Superior Court (1994) 9 Cal.4th 275 [36 Cal.Rptr.2d 537].) A directly adverse conflict under
paragraph (a) can arise in a number of ways, for example, when: (i) a lawyer accepts
representation of more than one client in a matter in which the interests of the clients actually
conflict; (ii) a lawyer, while representing a client, accepts in another matter the representation of
a person* who, in the first matter, is directly adverse to the lawyer’s client; or (iii) a lawyer
accepts representation of a person* in a matter in which an opposing party is a client of the
lawyer or the lawyer’s law firm.* Similarly, direct adversity can arise when a lawyer crossexamines a non-party witness who is the lawyer’s client in another matter, if the examination is
likely to harm or embarrass the witness. On the other hand, simultaneous representation in
unrelated matters of clients whose interests are only economically adverse, such as
representation of competing economic enterprises in unrelated litigation, does not ordinarily

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constitute a conflict of interest and thus may not require informed written consent* of the
respective clients.
[2] Paragraphs (a) and (b) apply to all types of legal representations, including the concurrent
representation of multiple parties in litigation or in a single transaction or in some other common
enterprise or legal relationship. Examples of the latter include the formation of a partnership for
several partners* or a corporation for several shareholders, the preparation of a pre-nuptial
agreement, or joint or reciprocal wills for a husband and wife, or the resolution of an
“uncontested” marital dissolution. If a lawyer initially represents multiple clients with the
informed written consent* as required under paragraph (b), and circumstances later develop
indicating that direct adversity exists between the clients, the lawyer must obtain further
informed written consent* of the clients under paragraph (a).
[3] In State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Federal Insurance Company
(1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 1422 [86 Cal.Rptr.2d 20], the court held that paragraph (C)(3) of
predecessor rule 3-310 was violated when a lawyer, retained by an insurer to defend one suit, and
while that suit was still pending, filed a direct action against the same insurer in an unrelated
action without securing the insurer’s consent. Notwithstanding State Farm, paragraph (a) does
not apply with respect to the relationship between an insurer and a lawyer when, in each matter,
the insurer’s interest is only as an indemnity provider and not as a direct party to the action.
[4] Even where there is no direct adversity, a conflict of interest requiring informed written
consent* under paragraph (b) exists if there is a significant risk that a lawyer’s ability to
consider, recommend or carry out an appropriate course of action for the client will be materially
limited as a result of the lawyer’s other responsibilities, interests, or relationships, whether legal,
business, financial, professional, or personal. For example, a lawyer’s obligations to two or
more clients in the same matter, such as several individuals seeking to form a joint venture, may
materially limit the lawyer’s ability to recommend or advocate all possible positions that each
might take because of the lawyer’s duty of loyalty to the other clients. The risk is that the lawyer
may not be able to offer alternatives that would otherwise be available to each of the clients. The
mere possibility of subsequent harm does not itself require disclosure and informed written
consent.* The critical questions are the likelihood that a difference in interests exists or will
eventuate and, if it does, whether it will materially interfere with the lawyer’s independent
professional judgment in considering alternatives or foreclose courses of action that reasonably*
should be pursued on behalf of each client. The risk that the lawyer’s representation may be
materially limited may also arise from present or past relationships between the lawyer, or
another member of the lawyer’s firm*, with a party, a witness, or another person* who may be
affected substantially by the resolution of the matter.
[5] Paragraph (c) requires written* disclosure of any of the specified relationships even if
there is not a significant risk the relationship will materially limit the lawyer’s representation of
the client. However, if the particular circumstances present a significant risk the relationship will
materially limit the lawyer’s representation of the client, informed written consent* is required
under paragraph (b).

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[6] Ordinarily paragraphs (a) and (b) will not require informed written consent* simply
because a lawyer takes inconsistent legal positions in different tribunals* at different times on
behalf of different clients. Advocating a legal position on behalf of a client that might create
precedent adverse to the interests of another client represented by a lawyer in an unrelated matter
is not sufficient, standing alone, to create a conflict of interest requiring informed written
consent.* Informed written consent* may be required, however, if there is a significant risk that:
(i) the lawyer may temper the lawyer’s advocacy on behalf of one client out of concern about
creating precedent adverse to the interest of another client; or (ii) the lawyer’s action on behalf of
one client will materially limit the lawyer’s effectiveness in representing another client in a
different case, for example, when a decision favoring one client will create a precedent likely to
seriously weaken the position taken on behalf of the other client. Factors relevant in determining
whether the clients’ informed written consent* is required include: the courts and jurisdictions
where the different cases are pending, whether a ruling in one case would have a precedential
effect on the other case, whether the legal question is substantive or procedural, the temporal
relationship between the matters, the significance of the legal question to the immediate and
long-term interests of the clients involved, and the clients’ reasonable* expectations in retaining
the lawyer.
[7] Other rules and laws may preclude the disclosures necessary to obtain the informed
written consent* or provide the information required to permit representation under this rule.
(See, e.g., Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6068, subd. (e)(1) and rule 1.6.) If such disclosure is precluded,
representation subject to paragraph (a), (b), or (c) of this rule is likewise precluded.
[8] Paragraph (d) imposes conditions that must be satisfied even if informed written consent*
is obtained as required by paragraphs (a) or (b) or the lawyer has informed the client in writing*
as required by paragraph (c). There are some matters in which the conflicts are such that even
informed written consent* may not suffice to permit representation. (See Woods v. Superior
Court (1983) 149 Cal.App.3d 931 [197 Cal.Rptr. 185]; Klemm v. Superior Court (1977) 75
Cal.App.3d 893 [142 Cal.Rptr. 509]; Ishmael v. Millington (1966) 241 Cal.App.2d 520 [50
Cal.Rptr. 592].)
[9] This rule does not preclude an informed written consent* to a future conflict in
compliance with applicable case law. The effectiveness of an advance consent is generally
determined by the extent to which the client reasonably* understands the material risks that the
consent entails. The more comprehensive the explanation of the types of future representations
that might arise and the actual and reasonably* foreseeable adverse consequences to the client of
those representations, the greater the likelihood that the client will have the requisite
understanding. The experience and sophistication of the client giving consent, as well as
whether the client is independently represented in connection with giving consent, are also
relevant in determining whether the client reasonably* understands the risks involved in giving
consent. An advance consent cannot be effective if the circumstances that materialize in the
future make the conflict nonconsentable under paragraph (d). A lawyer who obtains from a
client an advance consent that complies with this rule will have all the duties of a lawyer to that
client except as expressly limited by the consent. A lawyer cannot obtain an advance consent to
incompetent representation. (See rule 1.8.8.)

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[10] A material change in circumstances relevant to application of this rule may trigger a
requirement to make new disclosures and, where applicable, obtain new informed written
consents.* In the absence of such consents, depending on the circumstances, the lawyer may
have the option to withdraw from one or more of the representations in order to avoid the
conflict. The lawyer must seek court approval where necessary and take steps to minimize harm
to the clients. See rule 1.16. The lawyer must continue to protect the confidences of the clients
from whose representation the lawyer has withdrawn. (See rule 1.9(c).)
[11] For special rules governing membership in a legal service organization, see rule 6.3; and
for work in conjunction with certain limited legal services programs, see rule 6.5.
Rule 1.8.1 Business Transactions with a Client and Pecuniary Interests Adverse to a Client
A lawyer shall not enter into a business transaction with a client, or knowingly* acquire an
ownership, possessory, security or other pecuniary interest adverse to a client, unless each of the
following requirements has been satisfied:
(a) the transaction or acquisition and its terms are fair and reasonable* to the client and the
terms and the lawyer’s role in the transaction or acquisition are fully disclosed and
transmitted in writing* to the client in a manner that should reasonably* have been
understood by the client;
(b) the client either is represented in the transaction or acquisition by an independent lawyer
of the client’s choice or the client is advised in writing* to seek the advice of an
independent lawyer of the client’s choice and is given a reasonable* opportunity to seek
that advice; and
(c) the client thereafter provides informed written consent* to the terms of the transaction or
acquisition, and to the lawyer’s role in it.
Comment
[1] A lawyer has an “other pecuniary interest adverse to a client” within the meaning of this
rule when the lawyer possesses a legal right to significantly impair or prejudice the client’s rights
or interests without court action. (See Fletcher v. Davis (2004) 33 Cal.4th 61, 68 [14 Cal.Rptr.3d
58]; see also Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6175.3 [Sale of financial products to elder or dependent adult
clients; Disclosure]; Fam. Code, §§ 2033-2034 [Attorney lien on community real property].)
However, this rule does not apply to a charging lien given to secure payment of a contingency
fee. (See Plummer v. Day/Eisenberg, LLP (2010) 184 Cal.App.4th 38 [108 Cal.Rptr.3d 455].)
[2] For purposes of this rule, factors that can be considered in determining whether a lawyer
is independent include whether the lawyer: (i) has a financial interest in the transaction or
acquisition; and (ii) has a close legal, business, financial, professional or personal relationship
with the lawyer seeking the client’s consent.
[3] Fairness and reasonableness under paragraph (a) are measured at the time of the
transaction or acquisition based on the facts that then exist.

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19
[4] In some circumstances, this rule may apply to a transaction entered into with a former
client. (Compare Hunniecutt v. State Bar (1988) 44 Cal.3d 362, 370-71 [“[W]hen an attorney
enters into a transaction with a former client regarding a fund which resulted from the attorney’s
representation, it is reasonable to examine the relationship between the parties for indications of
special trust resulting therefrom. We conclude that if there is evidence that the client placed his
trust in the attorney because of the representation, an attorney-client relationship exists for the
purposes of [the predecessor rule) even if the representation has otherwise ended [and] It appears
that [the client] became a target of [the lawyer’s] solicitation because he knew, through his
representation of her, that she had recently received the settlement fund [and the court also found
the client to be unsophisticated].”] with Wallis v. State Bar (1942) 21 Cal.2d 322 [finding lawyer
not subject to discipline for entering into business transaction with a former client where the
former client was a sophisticated businesswoman who had actively negotiated for terms she
thought desirable, and the transaction was not connected with the matter on which the lawyer
previously represented her].)
[5] This rule does not apply to the agreement by which the lawyer is retained by the client,
unless the agreement confers on the lawyer an ownership, possessory, security, or other
pecuniary interest adverse to the client. Such an agreement is governed, in part, by rule 1.5.
This rule also does not apply to an agreement to advance to or deposit with a lawyer a sum to be
applied to fees, or costs or other expenses, to be incurred in the future. Such agreements are
governed, in part, by rules 1.5 and 1.15.
[6] This rule does not apply: (i) where a lawyer and client each make an investment on terms
offered by a third person* to the general public or a significant portion thereof; or (ii) to standard
commercial transactions for products or services that a lawyer acquires from a client on the same
terms that the client generally markets them to others, where the lawyer has no advantage in
dealing with the client.
Rule 1.8.2 Use of Current Client’s Information
A lawyer shall not use a client’s information protected by Business and Professions Code section
6068, subdivision (e)(1) to the disadvantage of the client unless the client gives informed
consent,* except as permitted by these rules or the State Bar Act.
Comment
A lawyer violates the duty of loyalty by using information protected by Business and Professions
Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) to the disadvantage of a current client.
Rule 1.8.3 Gifts from Client
(a) A lawyer shall not:
(1) solicit a client to make a substantial* gift, including a testamentary gift, to the
lawyer or a person* related to the lawyer, unless the lawyer or other recipient of
the gift is related to the client, or

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20
(2) prepare on behalf of a client an instrument giving the lawyer or a person* related
to the lawyer any substantial* gift, unless (i) the lawyer or other recipient of the
gift is related to the client, or (ii) the client has been advised by an independent
lawyer who has provided a certificate of independent review that complies with
the requirements of Probate Code section 21384.
(b) For purposes of this rule, related persons* include a person* who is “related by blood or
affinity” as that term is defined in California Probate Code section 21374, subdivision
(a).
Comment
[1] A lawyer or a person* related to a lawyer may accept a gift from the lawyer’s client,
subject to general standards of fairness and absence of undue influence. A lawyer also does not
violate this rule merely by engaging in conduct that might result in a client making a gift, such as
by sending the client a wedding announcement. Discipline is appropriate where impermissible
influence occurs. (See Magee v. State Bar (1962) 58 Cal.2d 423 [24 Cal.Rptr. 839].)
[2] This rule does not prohibit a lawyer from seeking to have the lawyer or a partner* or
associate of the lawyer named as executor of the client’s estate or to another potentially lucrative
fiduciary position. Such appointments, however, will be subject to rule 1.7(b) and (c).
Rule 1.8.4 [Reserved]
Rule 1.8.5 Payment of Personal or Business Expenses Incurred by or for a Client
(a) A lawyer shall not directly or indirectly pay or agree to pay, guarantee, or represent that
the lawyer or lawyer’s law firm* will pay the personal or business expenses of a
prospective or existing client.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a lawyer may:
(1) pay or agree to pay such expenses to third persons,* from funds collected or to be
collected for the client as a result of the representation, with the consent of the
client;
(2) after the lawyer is retained by the client, agree to lend money to the client based
on the client’s written* promise to repay the loan, provided the lawyer complies
with rules 1.7(b), 1.7(c), and 1.8.1 before making the loan or agreeing to do so;
(3) advance the costs of prosecuting or defending a claim or action, or of otherwise
protecting or promoting the client’s interests, the repayment of which may be
contingent on the outcome of the matter; and
(4) pay the costs of prosecuting or defending a claim or action, or of otherwise
protecting or promoting the interests of an indigent person* in a matter in which
the lawyer represents the client.

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(c) “Costs” within the meaning of paragraphs (b)(3) and (b)(4) are not limited to those costs
that are taxable or recoverable under any applicable statute or rule of court but may
include any reasonable* expenses of litigation, including court costs, and reasonable*
expenses in preparing for litigation or in providing other legal services to the client.
(d) Nothing in this rule shall be deemed to limit the application of rule 1.8.9.
Rule 1.8.6 Compensation from One Other than Client
A lawyer shall not enter into an agreement for, charge, or accept compensation for representing a
client from one other than the client unless:
(a) there is no interference with the lawyer’s independent professional judgment or with the
lawyer-client relationship;
(b) information is protected as required by Business and Professions Code section 6068,
subdivision (e)(1) and rule 1.6; and
(c) the lawyer obtains the client’s informed written consent* at or before the time the lawyer
has entered into the agreement for, charged, or accepted the compensation, or as soon
thereafter as reasonably* practicable, provided that no disclosure or consent is required
if:
(1) nondisclosure or the compensation is otherwise authorized by law or a court
order; or
(2) the lawyer is rendering legal services on behalf of any public agency or nonprofit
organization that provides legal services to other public agencies or the public.
Comment
[1] A lawyer’s responsibilities in a matter are owed only to the client except where the
lawyer also represents the payor in the same matter. With respect to the lawyer’s additional
duties when representing both the client and the payor in the same matter, see rule 1.7.
[2] A lawyer who is exempt from disclosure and consent requirements under paragraph (c)
nevertheless must comply with paragraphs (a) and (b).
[3] This rule is not intended to abrogate existing relationships between insurers and insureds
whereby the insurer has the contractual right to unilaterally select counsel for the insured, where
there is no conflict of interest. (See San Diego Navy Federal Credit Union v. Cumis Insurance
Society (1984) 162 Cal.App.3d 358 [208 Cal.Rptr. 494].).
[4] In some limited circumstances, a lawyer might not be able to obtain client consent before
the lawyer has entered into an agreement for, charged, or accepted compensation, as required by
this rule. This might happen, for example, when a lawyer is retained or paid by a family member
on behalf of an incarcerated client or in certain commercial settings, such as when a lawyer is

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Chapter 1. Lawyer-Client Relationship (Rules 1.1 – 1.18)
22
retained by a creditors’ committee involved in a corporate debt restructuring and agrees to be
compensated for any services to be provided to other similarly situated creditors who have not
yet been identified. In such limited situations, paragraph (c) permits the lawyer to comply with
this rule as soon thereafter as is reasonably* practicable.
[5] This rule is not intended to alter or diminish a lawyer’s obligations under rule 5.4(c).
Rule 1.8.7 Aggregate Settlements
(a) A lawyer who represents two or more clients shall not enter into an aggregate settlement
of the claims of or against the clients, or in a criminal case an aggregate agreement as to
guilty or nolo contendere pleas, unless each client gives informed written consent.* The
lawyer’s disclosure shall include the existence and nature of all the claims or pleas
involved and of the participation of each person* in the settlement.
(b) This rule does not apply to class action settlements subject to court approval.
Rule 1.8.8 Limiting Liability to Client

A lawyer shall not:
(a) Contract with a client prospectively limiting the lawyer’s liability to the client for the
lawyer’s professional malpractice; or
(b) Settle a claim or potential claim for the lawyer’s liability to a client or former client for
the lawyer’s professional malpractice, unless the client or former client is either:
(1) represented by an independent lawyer concerning the settlement; or
(2) advised in writing* by the lawyer to seek the advice of an independent lawyer of
the client’s choice regarding the settlement and given a reasonable* opportunity
to seek that advice.
Comment
[1] Paragraph (b) does not absolve the lawyer of the obligation to comply with other law.
(See, e.g., Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6090.5.)
[2] This rule does not apply to customary qualifications and limitations in legal opinions and
memoranda, nor does it prevent a lawyer from reasonably* limiting the scope of the lawyer’s
representation. (See rule 1.2(b).)
Rule 1.8.9 Purchasing Property at a Foreclosure or a Sale Subject to Judicial Review
(a) A lawyer shall not directly or indirectly purchase property at a probate, foreclosure,
receiver’s, trustee’s, or judicial sale in an action or proceeding in which such lawyer or
any lawyer affiliated by reason of personal, business, or professional relationship with

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23
that lawyer or with that lawyer’s law firm* is acting as a lawyer for a party or as
executor, receiver, trustee, administrator, guardian, or conservator.
(b) A lawyer shall not represent the seller at a probate, foreclosure, receiver, trustee, or
judicial sale in an action or proceeding in which the purchaser is a spouse or relative of
the lawyer or of another lawyer in the lawyer’s law firm* or is an employee of the lawyer
or the lawyer’s law firm.*
(c) This rule does not prohibit a lawyer’s participation in transactions that are specifically
authorized by and comply with Probate Code sections 9880 through 9885, but such
transactions remain subject to the provisions of rules 1.8.1 and 1.7.
Comment
A lawyer may lawfully participate in a transaction involving a probate proceeding which
concerns a client by following the process described in Probate Code sections 9880-9885. These
provisions, which permit what would otherwise be impermissible self-dealing by specific
submissions to and approval by the courts, must be strictly followed in order to avoid violation
of this rule.
Rule 1.8.10 Sexual Relations with Current Client
(a) A lawyer shall not engage in sexual relations with a current client who is not the lawyer’s
spouse or registered domestic partner, unless a consensual sexual relationship existed
between them when the lawyer-client relationship commenced.
(b) For purposes of this rule, “sexual relations” means sexual intercourse or the touching of
an intimate part of another person* for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or
abuse.
(c) If a person* other than the client alleges a violation of this rule, no Notice of Disciplinary
Charges may be filed by the State Bar against a lawyer under this rule until the State Bar
has attempted to obtain the client’s statement regarding, and has considered, whether the
client would be unduly burdened by further investigation or a charge.
Comment
[1] Although this rule does not apply to a consensual sexual relationship that exists when a
lawyer-client relationship commences, the lawyer nevertheless must comply with all other
applicable rules. (See, e.g., rules 1.1, 1.7, and 2.1.)
[2] When the client is an organization, this rule applies to a lawyer for the organization
(whether inside counsel or outside counsel) who has sexual relations with a constituent of the
organization who supervises, directs or regularly consults with that lawyer concerning the
organization’s legal matters. (See rule 1.13.)

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24
[3] Business and Professions Code section 6106.9, including the requirement that the
complaint be verified, applies to charges under subdivision (a) of that section. This rule and the
statute impose different obligations.
Rule 1.8.11 Imputation of Prohibitions Under Rules 1.8.1 to 1.8.9
While lawyers are associated in a law firm,* a prohibition in rules 1.8.1 through 1.8.9 that
applies to any one of them shall apply to all of them.
Comment
A prohibition on conduct by an individual lawyer in rules 1.8.1 through 1.8.9 also applies to all
lawyers associated in a law firm* with the personally prohibited lawyer. For example, one
lawyer in a law firm* may not enter into a business transaction with a client of another lawyer
associated in the law firm* without complying with rule 1.8.1, even if the first lawyer is not
personally involved in the representation of the client. This rule does not apply to rule 1.8.10
since the prohibition in that rule is personal and is not applied to associated lawyers.
Rule 1.9 Duties to Former Clients
(a) A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter represent
another person* in the same or a substantially related matter in which that person’s*
interests are materially adverse to the interests of the former client unless the former
client gives informed written consent.*
(b) A lawyer shall not knowingly* represent a person* in the same or a substantially related
matter in which a firm* with which the lawyer formerly was associated had previously
represented a client
(1) whose interests are materially adverse to that person;* and
(2) about whom the lawyer had acquired information protected by Business and
Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e) and rules 1.6 and 1.9(c) that is
material to the matter;
unless the former client gives informed written consent.*
(c) A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter or whose present or former
firm* has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter:
(1) use information protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068,
subdivision (e) and rule 1.6 acquired by virtue of the representation of the former
client to the disadvantage of the former client except as these rules or the State
Bar Act would permit with respect to a current client, or when the information has
become generally known;* or

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(2) reveal information protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068,
subdivision (e) and rule 1.6 acquired by virtue of the representation of the former
client except as these rules or the State Bar Act permit with respect to a current
client.
Comment
[1] After termination of a lawyer-client relationship, the lawyer owes two duties to a former
client. The lawyer may not (i) do anything that will injuriously affect the former client in any
matter in which the lawyer represented the former client, or (ii) at any time use against the
former client knowledge or information acquired by virtue of the previous relationship. (See
Oasis West Realty, LLC v. Goldman (2011) 51 Cal.4th 811 [124 Cal.Rptr.3d 256]; Wutchumna
Water Co. v. Bailey (1932) 216 Cal. 564 [15 P.2d 505].) For example, (i) a lawyer could not
properly seek to rescind on behalf of a new client a contract drafted on behalf of the former client
and (ii) a lawyer who has prosecuted an accused person* could not represent the accused in a
subsequent civil action against the government concerning the same matter. (See also Bus. &
Prof. Code, § 6131; 18 U.S.C. § 207(a).) These duties exist to preserve a client’s trust in the
lawyer and to encourage the client’s candor in communications with the lawyer.
[2] For what constitutes a “matter” for purposes of this rule, see rule 1.7(e).
[3] Two matters are “the same or substantially related” for purposes of this rule if they
involve a substantial* risk of a violation of one of the two duties to a former client described
above in Comment [1]. For example, this will occur: (i) if the matters involve the same
transaction or legal dispute or other work performed by the lawyer for the former client; or (ii) if
the lawyer normally would have obtained information in the prior representation that is protected
by Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e) and rule 1.6, and the lawyer
would be expected to use or disclose that information in the subsequent representation because it
is material to the subsequent representation.
[4] Paragraph (b) addresses a lawyer’s duties to a client who has become a former client
because the lawyer no longer is associated with the law firm* that represents or represented the
client. In that situation, the lawyer has a conflict of interest only when the lawyer involved has
actual knowledge of information protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068,
subdivision (e) and rules 1.6 and 1.9(c). Thus, if a lawyer while with one firm* acquired no
knowledge or information relating to a particular client of the firm,* and that lawyer later joined
another firm,* neither the lawyer individually nor lawyers in the second firm* would violate this
rule by representing another client in the same or a related matter even though the interests of the
two clients conflict. See rule 1.10(b) for the restrictions on lawyers in a firm* once a lawyer has
terminated association with the firm.*
[5] The fact that information can be discovered in a public record does not, by itself, render
that information generally known* under paragraph (c). (See, e.g., In the Matter of Johnson
(Review Dept. 2000) 4 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 179.)

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[6] With regard to the effectiveness of an advance consent, see rule 1.7, Comment [9]. With
regard to imputation of conflicts to lawyers in a firm* with which a lawyer is or was formerly
associated, see rule 1.10. Current and former government lawyers must comply with this rule to
the extent required by rule 1.11.
Rule 1.10 Imputation of Conflicts of Interest: General Rule
(a) While lawyers are associated in a firm,* none of them shall knowingly* represent a client
when any one of them practicing alone would be prohibited from doing so by rules 1.7 or
1.9, unless
(1) the prohibition is based on a personal interest of the prohibited lawyer and does
not present a significant risk of materially limiting the representation of the client
by the remaining lawyers in the firm;* or
(2) the prohibition is based upon rule 1.9(a) or (b) and arises out of the prohibited
lawyer’s association with a prior firm,* and
(i) the prohibited lawyer did not substantially participate in the same or a
substantially related matter;
(ii) the prohibited lawyer is timely screened* from any participation in the
matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom; and
(iii) written* notice is promptly given to any affected former client to enable
the former client to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this rule,
which shall include a description of the screening* procedures employed;
and an agreement by the firm* to respond promptly to any written*
inquiries or objections by the former client about the screening*
procedures.
(b) When a lawyer has terminated an association with a firm,* the firm* is not prohibited
from thereafter representing a person* with interests materially adverse to those of a
client represented by the formerly associated lawyer and not currently represented by the
firm,* unless:
(1) the matter is the same or substantially related to that in which the formerly
associated lawyer represented the client; and
(2) any lawyer remaining in the firm* has information protected by Business and
Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e) and rules 1.6 and 1.9(c) that is
material to the matter.
(c) A prohibition under this rule may be waived by each affected client under the conditions
stated in rule 1.7.

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(d) The imputation of a conflict of interest to lawyers associated in a firm* with former or
current government lawyers is governed by rule 1.11.
Comment
[1] In determining whether a prohibited lawyer’s previously participation was substantial,* a
number of factors should be considered, such as the lawyer’s level of responsibility in the prior
matter, the duration of the lawyer’s participation, the extent to which the lawyer advised or had
personal contact with the former client, and the extent to which the lawyer was exposed to
confidential information of the former client likely to be material in the current matter.
[2] Paragraph (a) does not prohibit representation by others in the law firm* where the
person* prohibited from involvement in a matter is a nonlawyer, such as a paralegal or legal
secretary. Nor does paragraph (a) prohibit representation if the lawyer is prohibited from acting
because of events before the person* became a lawyer, for example, work that the person* did as
a law student. Such persons,* however, ordinarily must be screened* from any personal
participation in the matter. (See rules 1.0.1(k) and 5.3.)
[3] Paragraph (a)(2)(ii) does not prohibit the screened* lawyer from receiving a salary or
partnership share established by prior independent agreement, but that lawyer may not receive
compensation directly related to the matter in which the lawyer is prohibited.
[4] Where a lawyer is prohibited from engaging in certain transactions under rules 1.8.1
through 1.8.9, rule 1.8.11, and not this rule, determines whether that prohibition also applies to
other lawyers associated in a firm* with the personally prohibited lawyer.
[5] The responsibilities of managerial and supervisory lawyers prescribed by rules 5.1 and
5.3 apply to screening* arrangements implemented under this rule.
[6] Standards for disqualification, and whether in a particular matter (1) a lawyer’s conflict
will be imputed to other lawyers in the same firm,* or (2) the use of a timely screen* is effective
to avoid that imputation, are also the subject of statutes and case law. (See, e.g., Code Civ.
Proc., § 128, subd. (a)(5); Pen. Code, § 1424; In re Charlisse C. (2008) 45 Cal.4th 145 [84
Cal.Rptr.3d 597]; Rhaburn v. Superior Court (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1566 [45 Cal.Rptr.3d 464];
Kirk v. First American Title Ins. Co. (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 776 [108 Cal.Rptr.3d 620].)
Rule 1.11 Special Conflicts of Interest for Former and Current Government Officials and
Employees
(a) Except as law may otherwise expressly permit, a lawyer who has formerly served as a
public official or employee of the government:
(1) is subject to rule 1.9(c); and
(2) shall not otherwise represent a client in connection with a matter in which the
lawyer participated personally and substantially as a public official or employee,
unless the appropriate government agency gives its informed written consent* to

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the representation. This paragraph shall not apply to matters governed by rule
1.12(a).
(b) When a lawyer is prohibited from representation under paragraph (a), no lawyer in a
firm* with which that lawyer is associated may knowingly* undertake or continue
representation in such a matter unless:
(1) the personally prohibited lawyer is timely screened* from any participation in the
matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom; and
(2) written* notice is promptly given to the appropriate government agency to enable
it to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this rule
(c) Except as law may otherwise expressly permit, a lawyer who was a public official or
employee and, during that employment, acquired information that the lawyer knows* is
confidential government information about a person,* may not represent a private client
whose interests are adverse to that person* in a matter in which the information could be
used to the material disadvantage of that person.* As used in this rule, the term
“confidential government information” means information that has been obtained under
governmental authority, that, at the time this rule is applied, the government is prohibited
by law from disclosing to the public, or has a legal privilege not to disclose, and that is
not otherwise available to the public. A firm* with which that lawyer is associated may
undertake or continue representation in the matter only if the personally prohibited
lawyer is timely screened* from any participation in the matter and is apportioned no part
of the fee therefrom.
(d) Except as law may otherwise expressly permit, a lawyer currently serving as a public
official or employee:
(1) is subject to rules 1.7 and 1.9; and
(2) shall not:
(i) participate in a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and
substantially while in private practice or nongovernmental employment,
unless the appropriate government agency gives its informed written
consent;* or
(ii) negotiate for private employment with any person* who is involved as a
party, or as a lawyer for a party, or with a law firm* for a party, in a matter
in which the lawyer is participating personally and substantially, except that
a lawyer serving as a law clerk to a judge, other adjudicative officer or
arbitrator may negotiate for private employment as permitted by rule 1.12(b)
and subject to the conditions stated in rule 1.12(b).

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Comment
[1] Rule 1.10 is not applicable to the conflicts of interest addressed by this rule.
[2] For what constitutes a “matter” for purposes of this rule, see rule 1.7(e).
[3] Paragraphs (a)(2) and (d)(2) apply regardless of whether a lawyer is adverse to a former
client. Both provisions apply when the former public official or employee of the government has
personally and substantially participated in the matter. Personal participation includes both
direct participation and the supervision of a subordinate’s participation. Substantial*
participation requires that the lawyer’s involvement be of significance to the matter.
Participation may be substantial* even though it is not determinative of the outcome of a
particular matter. However, it requires more than official responsibility, knowledge, perfunctory
involvement, or involvement on an administrative or peripheral issue. A finding of substantiality
should be based not only on the effort devoted to the matter, but also on the importance of the
effort. Personal and substantial* participation may occur when, for example, a lawyer
participates through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, investigation or the
rendering of advice in a particular matter.
[4] By requiring a former government lawyer to comply with rule 1.9(c), paragraph (a)(1)
protects information obtained while working for the government to the same extent as
information learned while representing a private client. This provision applies regardless of
whether the lawyer was working in a “legal” capacity. Thus, information learned by the lawyer
while in public service in an administrative, policy, or advisory position also is covered by
paragraph (a)(1).
[5] Paragraph (c) operates only when the lawyer in question has actual knowledge of the
information; it does not operate with respect to information that merely could be imputed to the
lawyer.
[6] When a lawyer has been employed by one government agency and then moves to a
second government agency, it may be appropriate to treat that second agency as another client
for purposes of this rule, as when a lawyer is employed by a city and subsequently is employed
by a federal agency. Because conflicts of interest are governed by paragraphs (a) and (b), the
latter agency is required to screen* the lawyer. Whether two government agencies should be
regarded as the same or different clients for conflict of interest purposes is beyond the scope of
these rules. (See rule 1.13, Comment [6]; see also Civil Service Commission v. Superior Court
(1984) 163 Cal.App.3d 70, 76-78 [209 Cal.Rptr. 159].)
[7] Paragraphs (b) and (c) do not prohibit a lawyer from receiving a salary or partnership
share established by prior independent agreement, but that lawyer may not receive compensation
directly relating the lawyer’s compensation to the fee in the matter in which the lawyer is
personally prohibited from participating.

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30
[8] Paragraphs (a) and (d) do not prohibit a lawyer from jointly representing a private party
and a government agency when doing so is permitted by rule 1.7 and is not otherwise prohibited
by law.
[9] A lawyer serving as a public official or employee of the government may participate in a
matter in which the lawyer participated substantially while in private practice or nongovernmental employment only if: (i) the government agency gives its informed written
consent* as required by paragraph (d)(2)(i); and (ii) the former client gives its informed written
consent* as required by rule 1.9, to which the lawyer is subject by paragraph (d)(1).
[10] This rule is not intended to address whether in a particular matter: (i) a lawyer’s conflict
under paragraph (d) will be imputed to other lawyers serving in the same governmental agency;
or (ii) the use of a timely screen* will avoid that imputation. The imputation and screening*
rules for lawyers moving from private practice into government service under paragraph (d) are
left to be addressed by case law and its development. (See City & County of San Francisco v.
Cobra Solutions, Inc. (2006) 38 Cal.4th 839, 847, 851-54 [43 Cal.Rptr.3d 776]; City of Santa
Barbara v. Superior Court (2004) 122 Cal.App.4th 17, 26-27 [18 Cal.Rptr.3d 403].) Regarding
the standards for recusals of prosecutors in criminal matters, see Penal Code section 1424;
Haraguchi v. Superior Court (2008) 43 Cal. 4th 706, 711-20 [76 Cal.Rptr.3d 250]; and
Hollywood v. Superior Court (2008) 43 Cal.4th 721, 727-35 [76 Cal.Rptr.3d 264]. Concerning
prohibitions against former prosecutors participating in matters in which they served or
participated in as prosecutor, see, e.g., Business and Professions Code section 6131 and 18
United States Code section 207(a).
Rule 1.12 Former Judge, Arbitrator, Mediator, or Other Third-Party Neutral
(a) Except as stated in paragraph (d), a lawyer shall not represent anyone in connection with
a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially as a judge or other
adjudicative officer, judicial staff attorney or law clerk to such a person* or as an
arbitrator, mediator, or other third-party neutral, unless all parties to the proceeding give
informed written consent.*
(b) A lawyer shall not seek employment from any person* who is involved as a party or as
lawyer for a party, or with a law firm* for a party, in a matter in which the lawyer is
participating personally and substantially as a judge or other adjudicative officer or as an
arbitrator, mediator, or other third party neutral. A lawyer serving as a judicial staff
attorney or law clerk to a judge or other adjudicative officer may seek employment from
a party, or with a lawyer or a law firm* for a party, in a matter in which the staff attorney
or clerk is participating personally and substantially, but only with the approval of the
court.
(c) If a lawyer is prohibited from representation by paragraph (a), other lawyers in a firm*
with which that lawyer is associated may knowingly* undertake or continue
representation in the matter only if:

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31
(1) the prohibition does not arise from the lawyer’s service as a mediator or
settlement judge;
(2) the prohibited lawyer is timely screened* from any participation in the matter and
is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom; and
(3) written* notice is promptly given to the parties and any appropriate tribunal* to
enable them to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this rule.
(d) An arbitrator selected as a partisan of a party in a multimember arbitration panel is not
prohibited from subsequently representing that party.
Comment
[1] Paragraphs (a) and (b) apply when a former judge or other adjudicative officer, or a
judicial staff attorney or law clerk to such a person,* or an arbitrator, mediator, or other thirdparty neutral, has personally and substantially participated in the matter. Personal participation
includes both direct participation and the supervision of a subordinate’s participation, as may
occur in a chambers with several staff attorneys or law clerks. Substantial* participation requires
that the lawyer’s involvement was of significance to the matter. Participation may be substantial*
even though it was not determinative of the outcome of a particular case or matter. A finding of
substantiality should be based not only on the effort devoted to the matter, but also on the
importance of the effort. Personal and substantial* participation may occur when, for example,
the lawyer participated through decision, recommendation, or the rendering of advice on a
particular case or matter. However, a judge who was a member of a multi-member court, and
thereafter left judicial office to practice law, is not prohibited from representing a client in a
matter pending in the court, but in which the former judge did not participate, or acquire material
confidential information. The fact that a former judge exercised administrative responsibility in
a court also does not prevent the former judge from acting as a lawyer in a matter where the
judge had previously exercised remote or incidental administrative responsibility that did not
affect the merits, such as uncontested procedural duties typically performed by a presiding or
supervising judge or justice. The term “adjudicative officer” includes such officials as judges
pro tempore, referees, and special masters.
[2] Other law or codes of ethics governing third-party neutrals may impose more stringent
standards of personal or imputed disqualification. (See rule 2.4.)
[3] Paragraph (c)(2) does not prohibit the screened* lawyer from receiving a salary or
partnership share established by prior independent agreement, but that lawyer may not receive
compensation directly related to the matter in which the lawyer is personally prohibited from
participating.
Rule 1.13 Organization as Client
(a) A lawyer employed or retained by an organization shall conform his or her representation
to the concept that the client is the organization itself, acting through its duly authorized

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32
directors, officers, employees, members, shareholders, or other constituents overseeing
the particular engagement.
(b) If a lawyer representing an organization knows* that a constituent is acting, intends to act
or refuses to act in a matter related to the representation in a manner that the lawyer
knows* or reasonably should know* is (i) a violation of a legal obligation to the
organization or a violation of law reasonably* imputable to the organization, and (ii)
likely to result in substantial* injury to the organization, the lawyer shall proceed as is
reasonably* necessary in the best lawful interest of the organization. Unless the lawyer
reasonably believes* that it is not necessary in the best lawful interest of the organization
to do so, the lawyer shall refer the matter to higher authority in the organization,
including, if warranted by the circumstances, to the highest authority that can act on
behalf of the organization as determined by applicable law.
(c) In taking any action pursuant to paragraph (b), the lawyer shall not reveal information
protected by Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e).
(d) If, despite the lawyer’s actions in accordance with paragraph (b), the highest authority
that can act on behalf of the organization insists upon action, or fails to act, in a manner
that is a violation of a legal obligation to the organization or a violation of law
reasonably* imputable to the organization, and is likely to result in substantial* injury to
the organization, the lawyer shall continue to proceed as is reasonably* necessary in the
best lawful interests of the organization. The lawyer’s response may include the lawyer’s
right and, where appropriate, duty to resign or withdraw in accordance with rule 1.16.
(e) A lawyer who reasonably believes* that he or she has been discharged because of the
lawyer’s actions taken pursuant to paragraph (b), or who resigns or withdraws under
circumstances described in paragraph (d), shall proceed as the lawyer reasonably
believes* necessary to assure that the organization’s highest authority is informed of the
lawyer’s discharge, resignation, or withdrawal.
(f) In dealing with an organization’s constituents, a lawyer representing the organization
shall explain the identity of the lawyer’s client whenever the lawyer knows* or
reasonably should know* that the organization’s interests are adverse to those of the
constituent(s) with whom the lawyer is dealing.
(g) A lawyer representing an organization may also represent any of its constituents, subject
to the provisions of rules 1.7, 1.8.2, 1.8.6, and 1.8.7. If the organization’s consent to the
dual representation is required by any of these rules, the consent shall be given by an
appropriate official, constituent, or body of the organization other than the individual who
is to be represented, or by the shareholders.

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33
Comment
The Entity as the Client
[1] This rule applies to all forms of private, public and governmental organizations. (See
Comment [6].) An organizational client can only act through individuals who are authorized to
conduct its affairs. The identity of an organization’s constituents will depend on its form,
structure, and chosen terminology. For example, in the case of a corporation, constituents
include officers, directors, employees and shareholders. In the case of other organizational
forms, constituents include the equivalents of officers, directors, employees, and shareholders.
For purposes of this rule, any agent or fiduciary authorized to act on behalf of an organization is
a constituent of the organization.
[2] A lawyer ordinarily must accept decisions an organization’s constituents make on behalf
of the organization, even if the lawyer questions their utility or prudence. It is not within the
lawyer’s province to make decisions on behalf of the organization concerning policy and
operations, including ones entailing serious risk. A lawyer, however, has a duty to inform the
client of significant developments related to the representation under Business and Professions
Code section 6068, subdivision (m) and rule 1.4. Even when a lawyer is not obligated to proceed
in accordance with paragraph (b), the lawyer may refer to higher authority, including the
organization’s highest authority, matters that the lawyer reasonably believes* are sufficiently
important to refer in the best interest of the organization subject to Business and Professions
Code section 6068, subdivision (e) and rule 1.6.
[3] Paragraph (b) distinguishes between knowledge of the conduct and knowledge of the
consequences of that conduct. When a lawyer knows* of the conduct, the lawyer’s obligations
under paragraph (b) are triggered when the lawyer knows* or reasonably should know* that the
conduct is (i) a violation of a legal obligation to the organization, or a violation of law
reasonably* imputable to the organization, and (ii) likely to result in substantial* injury to the
organization.
[4] In determining how to proceed under paragraph (b), the lawyer should consider the
seriousness of the violation and its potential consequences, the responsibility in the organization
and the apparent motivation of the person* involved, the policies of the organization concerning
such matters, and any other relevant considerations. Ordinarily, referral to a higher authority
would be necessary. In some circumstances, however, the lawyer may ask the constituent to
reconsider the matter. For example, if the circumstances involve a constituent’s innocent
misunderstanding of law and subsequent acceptance of the lawyer’s advice, the lawyer may
reasonably* conclude that the best interest of the organization does not require that the matter be
referred to higher authority. If a constituent persists in conduct contrary to the lawyer’s advice, it
will be necessary for the lawyer to take steps to have the matter reviewed by a higher authority in
the organization. If the matter is of sufficient seriousness and importance or urgency to the
organization, referral to higher authority in the organization may be necessary even if the lawyer
has not communicated with the constituent. For the responsibility of a subordinate lawyer in
representing an organization, see rule 5.2.

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[5] In determining how to proceed in the best lawful interests of the organization, a lawyer
should consider the extent to which the organization should be informed of the circumstances,
the actions taken by the organization with respect to the matter and the direction the lawyer has
received from the organizational client.
Governmental Organizations
[6] It is beyond the scope of this rule to define precisely the identity of the client and the
lawyer’s obligations when representing a governmental agency. Although in some
circumstances the client may be a specific agency, it may also be a branch of government or the
government as a whole. In a matter involving the conduct of government officials, a government
lawyer may have authority under applicable law to question such conduct more extensively than
that of a lawyer for a private organization in similar circumstances. Duties of lawyers employed
by the government or lawyers in military service may be defined by statutes and regulations. In
addition, a governmental organization may establish internal organizational rules and procedures
that identify an official, agency, organization, or other person* to serve as the designated
recipient of whistle-blower reports from the organization’s lawyers, consistent with Business and
Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e) and rule 1.6. This rule is not intended to limit
that authority.
Rule 1.14 [Reserved]
Rule 1.15 Safekeeping Funds and Property of Clients and Other Persons*
(a) All funds received or held by a lawyer or law firm* for the benefit of a client, or other
person* to whom the lawyer owes a contractual, statutory, or other legal duty, including
advances for fees, costs and expenses, shall be deposited in one or more identifiable bank
accounts labeled “Trust Account” or words of similar import, maintained in the State of
California, or, with written* consent of the client, in any other jurisdiction where there is
a substantial* relationship between the client or the client’s business and the other
jurisdiction.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a flat fee paid in advance for legal services may be
deposited in a lawyer’s or law firm’s operating account, provided:
(1) the lawyer or law firm* discloses to the client in writing* (i) that the client has a
right under paragraph (a) to require that the flat fee be deposited in an identified
trust account until the fee is earned, and (ii) that the client is entitled to a refund of
any amount of the fee that has not been earned in the event the representation is
terminated or the services for which the fee has been paid are not completed; and
(2) if the flat fee exceeds $1,000.00, the client’s agreement to deposit the flat fee in
the lawyer’s operating account and the disclosures required by paragraph (b)(1)
are set forth in a writing* signed by the client.
(c) Funds belonging to the lawyer or the law firm* shall not be deposited or otherwise
commingled with funds held in a trust account except:

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(1) funds reasonably* sufficient to pay bank charges; and
(2) funds belonging in part to a client or other person* and in part presently or
potentially to the lawyer or the law firm,* in which case the portion belonging to
the lawyer or law firm* must be withdrawn at the earliest reasonable* time after
the lawyer or law firm’s interest in that portion becomes fixed. However, if a
client or other person* disputes the lawyer or law firm’s right to receive a portion
of trust funds, the disputed portion shall not be withdrawn until the dispute is
finally resolved.
(d) A lawyer shall:
(1) promptly notify a client or other person* of the receipt of funds, securities, or
other property in which the lawyer knows* or reasonably should know* the client
or other person* has an interest;
(2) identify and label securities and properties of a client or other person* promptly
upon receipt and place them in a safe deposit box or other place of safekeeping as
soon as practicable;
(3) maintain complete records of all funds, securities, and other property of a client or
other person* coming into the possession of the lawyer or law firm;*
(4) promptly account in writing* to the client or other person* for whom the lawyer
holds funds or property;
(5) preserve records of all funds and property held by a lawyer or law firm* under
this rule for a period of no less than five years after final appropriate distribution
of such funds or property;
(6) comply with any order for an audit of such records issued pursuant to the Rules of
Procedure of the State Bar; and
(7) promptly distribute, as requested by the client or other person,* any undisputed
funds or property in the possession of the lawyer or law firm* that the client or
other person* is entitled to receive.
(e) The Board of Trustees of the State Bar shall have the authority to formulate and adopt
standards as to what “records” shall be maintained by lawyers and law firms* in
accordance with paragraph (d)(3). The standards formulated and adopted by the Board,
as from time to time amended, shall be effective and binding on all lawyers.
Standards:
Pursuant to this rule, the Board of Trustees of the State Bar adopted the following standards,
effective November 1, 2018, as to what “records” shall be maintained by lawyers and law firms*
in accordance with paragraph (d)(3).

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(1) A lawyer shall, from the date of receipt of funds of the client or other person* through the
period ending five years from the date of appropriate disbursement of such funds,
maintain:
(a) a written* ledger for each client or other person* on whose behalf funds are held
that sets forth:
(i) the name of such client or other person;*
(ii) the date, amount and source of all funds received on behalf of such client
or other person;*
(iii) the date, amount, payee and purpose of each disbursement made on behalf
of such client or other person;* and
(iv) the current balance for such client or other person;*
(b) a written* journal for each bank account that sets forth:
(i) the name of such account;
(ii) the date, amount and client or other person* affected by each debit and
credit; and
(iii) the current balance in such account;
(c) all bank statements and cancelled checks for each bank account; and
(d) each monthly reconciliation (balancing) of (a), (b), and (c).
(2) A lawyer shall, from the date of receipt of all securities and other properties held for the
benefit of client or other person* through the period ending five years from the date of
appropriate disbursement of such securities and other properties, maintain a written*
journal that specifies:
(a) each item of security and property held;
(b) the person* on whose behalf the security or property is held;
(c) the date of receipt of the security or property;
(d) the date of distribution of the security or property; and
(e) person* to whom the security or property was distributed.

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Comment
[1] Whether a lawyer owes a contractual, statutory or other legal duty under paragraph (a) to
hold funds on behalf of a person* other than a client in situations where client funds are subject
to a third-party lien will depend on the relationship between the lawyer and the third-party,
whether the lawyer has assumed a contractual obligation to the third person* and whether the
lawyer has an independent obligation to honor the lien under a statute or other law. In certain
circumstances, a lawyer may be civilly liable when the lawyer has notice of a lien and disburses
funds in contravention of the lien. (See Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. v. Aguiluz (1996) 47
Cal.App.4th 302 [54 Cal.Rptr.2d 665].) However, civil liability by itself does not establish a
violation of this rule. (Compare Johnstone v. State Bar of California (1966) 64 Cal.2d 153, 155-
156 [49 Cal.Rptr. 97] [“‘When an attorney assumes a fiduciary relationship and violates his duty
in a manner that would justify disciplinary action if the relationship had been that of attorney and
client, he may properly be disciplined for his misconduct.’”] with Crooks v. State Bar (1970) 3
Cal.3d 346, 358 [90 Cal.Rptr. 600] [lawyer who agrees to act as escrow or stakeholder for a
client and a third-party owes a duty to the nonclient with regard to held funds].)
[2] As used in this rule, “advances for fees” means a payment intended by the client as an
advance payment for some or all of the services that the lawyer is expected to perform on the
client’s behalf. With respect to the difference between a true retainer and a flat fee, which is one
type of advance fee, see rule 1.5(d) and (e). Subject to rule 1.5, a lawyer or law firm* may enter
into an agreement that defines when or how an advance fee is earned and may be withdrawn
from the client trust account.
[3] Absent written* disclosure and the client’s agreement in a writing* signed by the client as
provided in paragraph (b), a lawyer must deposit a flat fee paid in advance of legal services in
the lawyer’s trust account. Paragraph (b) does not apply to advance payment for costs and
expenses. Paragraph (b) does not alter the lawyer’s obligations under paragraph (d) or the
lawyer’s burden to establish that the fee has been earned.
Rule 1.16 Declining or Terminating Representation
(a) Except as stated in paragraph (c), a lawyer shall not represent a client or, where
representation has commenced, shall withdraw from the representation of a client if:
(1) the lawyer knows* or reasonably should know* that the client is bringing an
action, conducting a defense, asserting a position in litigation, or taking an appeal,
without probable cause and for the purpose of harassing or maliciously injuring
any person;*
(2) the lawyer knows* or reasonably should know* that the representation will result
in violation of these rules or of the State Bar Act;
(3) the lawyer’s mental or physical condition renders it unreasonably difficult to carry
out the representation effectively; or
(4) the client discharges the lawyer.

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(b) Except as stated in paragraph (c), a lawyer may withdraw from representing a client if:
(1) the client insists upon presenting a claim or defense in litigation, or asserting a
position or making a demand in a non-litigation matter, that is not warranted
under existing law and cannot be supported by good faith argument for an
extension, modification, or reversal of existing law;
(2) the client either seeks to pursue a criminal or fraudulent* course of conduct or has
used the lawyer’s services to advance a course of conduct that the lawyer
reasonably believes* was a crime or fraud;*
(3) the client insists that the lawyer pursue a course of conduct that is criminal or
fraudulent;*
(4) the client by other conduct renders it unreasonably difficult for the lawyer to carry
out the representation effectively;
(5) the client breaches a material term of an agreement with, or obligation, to the
lawyer relating to the representation, and the lawyer has given the client a
reasonable* warning after the breach that the lawyer will withdraw unless the
client fulfills the agreement or performs the obligation;
(6) the client knowingly* and freely assents to termination of the representation;
(7) the inability to work with co-counsel indicates that the best interests of the client
likely will be served by withdrawal;
(8) the lawyer’s mental or physical condition renders it difficult for the lawyer to
carry out the representation effectively;
(9) a continuation of the representation is likely to result in a violation of these rules
or the State Bar Act; or
(10) the lawyer believes* in good faith, in a proceeding pending before a tribunal,*
that the tribunal* will find the existence of other good cause for withdrawal.
(c) If permission for termination of a representation is required by the rules of a tribunal,* a
lawyer shall not terminate a representation before that tribunal* without its permission.
(d) A lawyer shall not terminate a representation until the lawyer has taken reasonable* steps
to avoid reasonably* foreseeable prejudice to the rights of the client, such as giving the
client sufficient notice to permit the client to retain other counsel, and complying with
paragraph (e).

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Chapter 1. Lawyer-Client Relationship (Rules 1.1 – 1.18)
39
(e) Upon the termination of a representation for any reason:
(1) subject to any applicable protective order, non-disclosure agreement, statute or
regulation, the lawyer promptly shall release to the client, at the request of the
client, all client materials and property. “Client materials and property” includes
correspondence, pleadings, deposition transcripts, experts’ reports and other
writings,* exhibits, and physical evidence, whether in tangible, electronic or other
form, and other items reasonably* necessary to the client’s representation,
whether the client has paid for them or not; and
(2) the lawyer promptly shall refund any part of a fee or expense paid in advance that
the lawyer has not earned or incurred. This provision is not applicable to a true
retainer fee paid solely for the purpose of ensuring the availability of the lawyer
for the matter.
Comment
[1] This rule applies, without limitation, to a sale of a law practice under rule 1.17. A lawyer
can be subject to discipline for improperly threatening to terminate a representation. (See In the
Matter of Shalant (Review Dept. 2005) 4 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 829, 837.)
[2] When a lawyer withdraws from the representation of a client in a particular matter under
paragraph (a) or (b), the lawyer might not be obligated to withdraw from the representation of
the same client in other matters. For example, a lawyer might be obligated under paragraph
(a)(1) to withdraw from representing a client because the lawyer has a conflict of interest under
rule 1.7, but that conflict might not arise in other representations of the client.
[3] Withdrawal under paragraph (a)(1) is not mandated where a lawyer for the defendant in a
criminal proceeding, or the respondent in a proceeding that could result in incarceration, or
involuntary commitment or confinement, defends the proceeding by requiring that every element
of the case be established. (See rule 3.1(b).)
[4] Lawyers must comply with their obligations to their clients under Business and
Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e) and rule 1.6, and to the courts under rule 3.3
when seeking permission to withdraw under paragraph (c). If a tribunal* denies a lawyer
permission to withdraw, the lawyer is obligated to comply with the tribunal’s* order. (See Bus.
& Prof. Code, §§ 6068, subd. (b) and 6103.) This duty applies even if the lawyer sought
permission to withdraw because of a conflict of interest. Regarding withdrawal from limited
scope representations that involve court appearances, compliance with applicable California
Rules of Court concerning limited scope representation satisfies paragraph (c).
[5] Statutes may prohibit a lawyer from releasing information in the client materials and
property under certain circumstances. (See, e.g., Pen. Code, §§ 1054.2 and 1054.10.)
[6] Paragraph (e)(1) does not prohibit a lawyer from making, at the lawyer’s own expense,
and retaining copies of papers released to the client, or to prohibit a claim for the recovery of the
lawyer’s expense in any subsequent legal proceeding.

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Chapter 1. Lawyer-Client Relationship (Rules 1.1 – 1.18)
40
Rule 1.17 Sale of a Law Practice
All or substantially* all of the law practice of a lawyer, living or deceased, including goodwill,
may be sold to another lawyer or law firm* subject to all the following conditions:
(a) Fees charged to clients shall not be increased solely by reason of the sale.
(b) If the sale contemplates the transfer of responsibility for work not yet completed or
responsibility for client files or information protected by Business and Professions Code
section 6068, subdivision (e)(1), then;
(1) if the seller is deceased, or has a conservator or other person* acting in a
representative capacity, and no lawyer has been appointed to act for the seller
pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 6180.5, then prior to the
transfer;
(i) the purchaser shall cause a written* notice to be given to each client
whose matter is included in the sale, stating that the interest in the law
practice is being transferred to the purchaser; that the client has the right to
retain other counsel; that the client may take possession of any client
materials and property, as required by rule 1.16(e)(1); and that if no
response is received to the notice within 90 days after it is sent, or if the
client’s rights would be prejudiced by a failure of the purchaser to act
during that time, the purchaser may act on behalf of the client until
otherwise notified by the client, and
(ii) the purchaser shall obtain the written* consent of the client. If
reasonable* efforts have been made to locate the client and no response to
the paragraph (b)(1)(i) notice is received within 90 days, consent shall be
presumed until otherwise notified by the client.
(2) in all other circumstances, not less than 90 days prior to the transfer;
(i) the seller, or the lawyer appointed to act for the seller pursuant to Business
and Professions Code section 6180.5, shall cause a written* notice to be
given to each client whose matter is included in the sale, stating that the
interest in the law practice is being transferred to the purchaser; that the
client has the right to retain other counsel; that the client may take
possession of any client materials and property, as required by rule
1.16(e)(1); and that if no response is received to the notice within 90 days
after it is sent, or if the client’s rights would be prejudiced by a failure of
the purchaser to act during that time, the purchaser may act on behalf of
the client until otherwise notified by the client, and
(ii) the seller, or the lawyer appointed to act for the seller pursuant to Business
and Professions Code section 6180.5, shall obtain the written* consent of
the client prior to the transfer. If reasonable* efforts have been made to

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Chapter 1. Lawyer-Client Relationship (Rules 1.1 – 1.18)
41
locate the client and no response to the paragraph (b)(2)(i) notice is
received within 90 days, consent shall be presumed until otherwise
notified by the client.
(c) If substitution is required by the rules of a tribunal* in which a matter is pending, all steps
necessary to substitute a lawyer shall be taken.
(d) The purchaser shall comply with the applicable requirements of rules 1.7 and 1.9.
(e) Confidential information shall not be disclosed to a nonlawyer in connection with a sale
under this rule.
(f) This rule does not apply to the admission to or retirement from a law firm,* retirement
plans and similar arrangements, or sale of tangible assets of a law practice.
Comment
[1] The requirement that the sale be of “all or substantially* all of the law practice of a
lawyer” prohibits the sale of only a field or area of practice or the seller’s practice in a
geographical area or in a particular jurisdiction. The prohibition against the sale of less than all
or substantially* all of a practice protects those clients whose matters are less lucrative and who
might find it difficult to secure other counsel if a sale could be limited to substantial* feegenerating matters. The purchasers are required to undertake all client matters sold in the
transaction, subject to client consent. This requirement is satisfied, however, even if a purchaser
is unable to undertake a particular client matter because of a conflict of interest.
[2] Under paragraph (a), the purchaser must honor existing arrangements between the seller
and the client as to fees and scope of work and the sale may not be financed by increasing fees
charged for client matters transferred through the sale. However, fee increases or other changes
to the fee arrangements might be justified by other factors, such as modifications of the
purchaser’s responsibilities, the passage of time, or reasonable* costs that were not addressed in
the original agreement. Any such modifications must comply with rules 1.4 and 1.5 and other
relevant provisions of these rules and the State Bar Act.
[3] Transfer of individual client matters, where permitted, is governed by rule 1.5.1.
Payment of a fee to a nonlawyer broker for arranging the sale or purchase of a law practice is
governed by rule 5.4(a).
Rule 1.18 Duties to Prospective Client
(a) A person* who, directly or through an authorized representative, consults a lawyer for the
purpose of retaining the lawyer or securing legal service or advice from the lawyer in the
lawyer’s professional capacity, is a prospective client.
(b) Even when no lawyer-client relationship ensues, a lawyer who has communicated with a
prospective client shall not use or reveal information protected by Business and
Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e) and rule 1.6 that the lawyer learned as a

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Chapter 1. Lawyer-Client Relationship (Rules 1.1 – 1.18)
42
result of the consultation, except as rule 1.9 would permit with respect to information of a
former client.
(c) A lawyer subject to paragraph (b) shall not represent a client with interests materially
adverse to those of a prospective client in the same or a substantially related matter if the
lawyer received from the prospective client information protected by Business and
Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e) and rule 1.6 that is material to the matter,
except as provided in paragraph (d). If a lawyer is prohibited from representation under
this paragraph, no lawyer in a firm* with which that lawyer is associated may
knowingly* undertake or continue representation in such a matter, except as provided in
paragraph (d).
(d) When the lawyer has received information that prohibits representation as provided in
paragraph (c), representation of the affected client is permissible if:
(1) both the affected client and the prospective client have given informed written
consent,* or
(2) the lawyer who received the information took reasonable* measures to avoid
exposure to more information than was reasonably* necessary to determine
whether to represent the prospective client; and
(i) the prohibited lawyer is timely screened* from any participation in the
matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom; and
(ii) written* notice is promptly given to the prospective client to enable the
prospective client to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this rule.
Comment
[1] As used in this rule, a prospective client includes a person’s* authorized representative.
A lawyer’s discussions with a prospective client can be limited in time and depth and leave both
the prospective client and the lawyer free, and sometimes required, to proceed no further.
Although a prospective client’s information is protected by Business and Professions Code
section 6068, subdivision (e) and rule 1.6 the same as that of a client, in limited circumstances
provided under paragraph (d), a law firm* is permitted to accept or continue representation of a
client with interests adverse to the prospective client. This rule is not intended to limit the
application of Evidence Code section 951 (defining “client” within the meaning of the Evidence
Code).
[2] Not all persons* who communicate information to a lawyer are entitled to protection
under this rule. A person* who by any means communicates information unilaterally to a
lawyer, without reasonable* expectation that the lawyer is willing to discuss the possibility of
forming a lawyer-client relationship or provide legal advice is not a “prospective client” within
the meaning of paragraph (a). In addition, a person* who discloses information to a lawyer after
the lawyer has stated his or her unwillingness or inability to consult with the person* (People v.
Gionis (1995) 9 Cal.4th 1196 [40 Cal.Rptr.2d 456]), or who communicates information to a

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Chapter 1. Lawyer-Client Relationship (Rules 1.1 – 1.18)
43
lawyer without a good faith intention to seek legal advice or representation, is not a prospective
client within the meaning of paragraph (a).
[3] In order to avoid acquiring information from a prospective client that would prohibit
representation as provided in paragraph (c), a lawyer considering whether or not to undertake a
new matter must limit the initial interview to only such information as reasonably* appears
necessary for that purpose.
[4] Under paragraph (c), the prohibition in this rule is imputed to other lawyers in a law
firm* as provided in rule 1.10. However, under paragraph (d)(1), the consequences of
imputation may be avoided if the informed written consent* of both the prospective and affected
clients is obtained. (See rule 1.0.1(e-1) [informed written consent].) In the alternative,
imputation may be avoided if the conditions of paragraph (d)(2) are met and all prohibited
lawyers are timely screened* and written* notice is promptly given to the prospective client.
Paragraph (d)(2)(i) does not prohibit the screened* lawyer from receiving a salary or partnership
share established by prior independent agreement, but that lawyer may not receive compensation
directly related to the matter in which the lawyer is prohibited.
[5] Notice under paragraph (d)(2)(ii) must include a general description of the subject matter
about which the lawyer was consulted, and the screening* procedures employed.


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Last Updated on 09/06/2021 by Fly

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