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RULE 19-305.3. RESPONSIBILITIES REGARDING NON-ATTORNEY ASSISTANTS (5.3)

West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland Rules

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 19. Attorneys
Chapter 300. Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct
Law Firms and Associations [Rules 19-305.1 to 19-305.7]
MD Rules Attorneys, Rule 19-305.3
RULE 19-305.3. RESPONSIBILITIES REGARDING NON-ATTORNEY ASSISTANTS (5.3)
With respect to a non-attorney employed or retained by or associated with an attorney:
(a) a partner, and an attorney who individually or together with other attorneys possesses comparable managerial authority in a law firm shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that the person's conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the attorney;
(b) an attorney having direct supervisory authority over the non-attorney shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the person's conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the attorney;
(c) an attorney shall be responsible for conduct of such a person that would be a violation of the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct if engaged in by an attorney if:
(1) the attorney orders or, with the knowledge of the specific conduct, ratifies the conduct involved; or
(2) the attorney is a partner or has comparable managerial authority in the law firm in which the person is employed, or has direct supervisory authority over the person, and knows of the conduct at a time when its consequences can be avoided or mitigated but fails to take reasonable remedial action; and
(d) an attorney who employs or retains the services of a non-attorney who (1) was formerly admitted to the practice of law in any jurisdiction and (2) has been and remains disbarred, suspended, or placed on inactive status because of incapacity shall comply with the following requirements:
(A) all law-related activities of the formerly admitted attorney shall be (i) performed from an office that is staffed on a full-time basis by a supervising attorney and (ii) conducted under the direct supervision of the supervising attorney, who shall be responsible for ensuring that the formerly admitted attorney complies with the requirements of this Rule.
(B) the attorney shall take reasonable steps to ensure that the formerly admitted attorney does not:
(i) represent himself or herself to be an attorney;
(ii) render legal consultation or advice to a client or prospective client;
(iii) appear on behalf of or represent a client in any judicial, administrative, legislative, or alternative dispute resolution proceeding;
(iv) appear on behalf of or represent a client at a deposition or in any other discovery matter;
(v) negotiate or transact any matter on behalf of a client with third parties;
(vi) receive funds from or on behalf of a client or disburse funds to or on behalf of a client; or
(vii) perform any law-related activity for (a) a law firm or attorney with whom the formerly admitted attorney was associated when the acts that resulted in the disbarment or suspension occurred or (b) any client who was previously represented by the formerly admitted attorney.
(C) the attorney, the supervising attorney, and the formerly admitted attorney shall file jointly with Bar Counsel (i) a notice of employment identifying the supervising attorney and the formerly admitted attorney and listing each jurisdiction in which the formerly admitted attorney has been disbarred, suspended, or placed on inactive status because of incapacity; and (ii) a copy of an executed written agreement between the attorney, the supervising attorney, and the formerly admitted attorney that sets forth the duties of the formerly admitted attorney and includes an undertaking to comply with requests by Bar Counsel for proof of compliance with the terms of the agreement and this Rule. As to a formerly admitted attorney employed as of July 1, 2006, the notice and agreement shall be filed no later than September 1, 2006. As to a formerly admitted attorney hired after July 1, 2006, the notice and agreement shall be filed within 30 days after commencement of the employment. Immediately upon the termination of the employment of the formerly admitted attorney, the attorney and the supervising attorney shall file with Bar Counsel a notice of the termination.
COMMENT
[1] Attorneys generally employ assistants in their practice, including secretaries, investigators, law student interns, and paraprofessionals. Such assistants, whether employees or independent contractors, act for the attorney in rendition of the attorney's professional services. An attorney must give such assistants appropriate instruction and supervision concerning the ethical aspects of their employment, particularly regarding the obligation not to disclose information relating to representation of the client, and should be responsible for their work product. The measures employed in supervising non-attorneys should take account of the fact that they do not have legal training and are not subject to professional discipline.
[2] Section (a) of this Rule requires attorneys with managerial authority within a law firm to make reasonable efforts to establish internal policies and procedures designed to provide reasonable assurance that non-attorneys in the firm will act in a way compatible with the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct. See Comment [1] to Rule 19-305.1 (5.1). Section (b) of this Rule applies to attorneys who have supervisory authority over the work of a non-attorney. Section (c) of this Rule specifies the circumstances in which an attorney is responsible for conduct of a non-attorney that would be a violation of the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct if engaged in by an attorney.
[3] Section (d) of this Rule addresses formerly admitted attorneys engaging in law-related activities and does not establish a standard for what constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.
Model Rules Comparison: The language of Rule 19-305.3 (a) through (c) (5.3) is substantially similar to the language of the Ethics 2000 Amendments to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Section (d) of this Rule and Comment [3] are in part derived from Rule 217 (j) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement and in part new.

Credits

[Adopted June 6, 2016, eff. July 1, 2016.]
MD R Attorneys, Rule 19-305.3, MD R ATTORNEYS Rule 19-305.3
Current with amendments received through December 15, 2019.
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