Rule 1.08 Conflict of Interest: Prohibited Transactions

(a) A lawyer shall not enter into a business transaction with a client unless:

(1) the transaction and terms on which the lawyer acquires the interest are fair and reasonable to the client and are fully disclosed in a manner which can be reasonably understood by the client;

(2) the client is given a reasonable opportunity to seek the advice of independent counsel in the transaction; and

(3) the client consents in writing thereto.

(b) A lawyer shall not prepare an instrument giving the lawyer or a person related to the lawyer as a parent, child, sibling, or spouse any substantial gift from a client, including a testamentary gift, except where the client is related to the donee.

(c) Prior to the conclusion of all aspects of the matter giving rise to the lawyer's employment, a lawyer shall not make or negotiate an agreement with a client, prospective client, or former client giving the lawyer literary or media rights to a portrayal or account based in substantial part on information relating to the representation.

(d) A lawyer shall not provide financial assistance to a client in connection with pending or contemplated litigation or administrative proceedings, except that:

(1) a lawyer may advance or guarantee court costs, expenses of litigation or administrative proceedings, and reasonably necessary medical and living expenses, the repayment of which may be contingent on the outcome of the matter; and

(2) a lawyer representing an indigent client may pay court costs and expenses of litigation on behalf of the client.

(e) A lawyer shall not accept compensation for representing a client from one other than the client unless:

(1) the client consents;

(2) there is no interference with the lawyer's independence of professional judgement or with the client-lawyer relationship; and

(3) information relating to representation of a client is protected as required by Rule 1.05

(f) A lawyer who represents two or more clients shall not participate in making an aggregate settlement of the claims of or against the clients, or in a criminal case an aggregated agreement as to guilty or nolo contendere pleas, unless each client has consented after consultation , including disclosure of the existence and nature of all the claims or pleas involved and of the nature and extent of the participation of each person in the settlement.

(g) A lawyer shall not make an agreement prospectively limiting the lawyer's liability to a client for malpractice unless permitted by law and the client is independently represented in making the agreement, or settle a claim for such liability with an unrepresented client or former client without first advising that person in writing that independent representation is appropriate in connection therewith.

(h) A lawyer shall not acquire a proprietary interest in the cause of action or subject matter of litigation the lawyer is conducting for a client, except that the lawyer may:

(1) acquire a lien granted by law to secure the lawyer's fee or expenses; and

(2) contract in a civil case with a client for a contingent fee that is permissible under Rule 1.04.

(i) If a lawyer would be prohibited by this Rule from engaging in particular conduct, no other lawyer while a member of or associated with that lawyer's firm may engage in that conduct.

(j) As used in this Rule, "business transactions" does not include standard commercial transactions between the lawyer and the client for products or services that the client generally markets to others.


Comment - Rule 1.08

Transactions Between Client and Lawyer

1. This rule deals with certain transactions that per se involve unacceptable conflicts of interests.

2. As a general principle, all transactions between client and lawyer should be fair and reasonable to the client. In such transactions a review by independent counsel on behalf of the client is often advisable. Paragraph (a) does not, however, apply to standard commercial transactions between the lawyer and the client for products or services that the client generally markets to others, such as banking or brokerage services, medical services, products manufactured or distributed by the client, and utilities services. In such transactions, the lawyer has no advantage in dealing, with the client, and the restrictions in paragraph (a) are unnecessary and impracticable.

3. A lawyer may accept a gift from a client, if the transaction meets general standards of fairness. For example, a simple gift such as a present given at a holiday or as a token of appreciation is permitted. If effectuation of a substantial gift requires preparing a legal instrument such as a will or conveyance, however, the client should have the detached advice that another lawyer can provide. Paragraph (b) recognizes an exception where the client is a relative of the donee or the gift is not substantial.

Literary Rights

4. An agreement by which a lawyer acquires literary or media rights concerning the conduct of representation creates a conflict between the interests of the client and the personal interests of the lawyer. Measures suitable in the representation of the client may detract from the publication value of an account of the representation. Paragraph (c) does not prohibit a lawyer representing a client in a transaction concerning literary property from agreeing that the lawyer's fee shall consist of a share in ownership in the property, if the agreement conforms to Rule 1.04 and paragraph (h) of this rule.

Person Paying for Lawyer's Services

5. Paragraph (e) requires disclosure to the client of the fact that the lawyer's services are being paid for by a third party. Such an arrangement must also conform to the requirements of Rule 1.05 concerning confidentiality and Rule 1.06 concerning conflict of interest. Where the client is a class, consent may be obtained on behalf of the class by court-supervised procedure. Where an insurance company pays the lawyer's fee for representing an insured, normally the insured has consented to the arrangement by the terms of the insurance contract.

Prospectively Limiting Liability

6. Paragraph (g) is not intended to apply to customary qualifications and limitations in legal options and memoranda.

Acquisition of Interest in Litigation

7. This Rule embodies the traditional general precept that lawyers are prohibited from acquiring a proprietary interest in the subject matter of litigation. This general precept, which has its basis in common law champerty and maintenance, is subject to specific exceptions developed in decisional law and continued in these Rules, such as the exception for contingent fees set forth in Rule 1.04 and the exception for certain advances of the costs of litigation set forth in paragraph (d). A special instance arises when a lawyer proposes to incur litigation or other expenses with an entity in which the lawyer has a pecuniary interest. A lawyer should not incur such expenses unless the client has entered into a written agreement complying with paragraph (a) that contains a full disclosure of the nature and amount of the possible expenses and the relationship between the lawyer and the other entity involved.

Imputed Disqualifications

8. The prohibitions imposed on an individual lawyer by this Rule are imposed by paragraph (i) upon all other lawyers while practicing with that lawyer's firm.