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Legal Service Plan

Legal service plans are governed by Rule of Professional Conduct 7.3(e)(4). That Rule permits a “bona fide organization” to “recommend[], furnish[,] or pay[]” for legal services to its “members or beneficiaries” under certain conditions. If the organization is for profit, the legal services cannot be rendered by lawyers “employed, directed, supervised or selected by it . . . .” RPC 7.3(e)(4)(i). The participating lawyers must be separate and apart from the bona fide organization and cannot be affiliated or associated with it. RPC 7.3(e)(4)(ii) and (iii). The member or beneficiary must be recognized as the client of the lawyer, not of the organization. RPC 7.3(e)(4)(iv). The member or beneficiary must be entitled to select counsel other than that furnished, selected, or approved by the organization for the matter (though the switch in counsel may be at the member’s or beneficiary’s own expense). RPC 7.3(e)(4)(v). Participating lawyers must not have any cause to know that the organization is in violation of applicable laws, rules, or legal requirements. RPC 7.4(e)(4)(vi). Lastly, the organization must register its plan with the Supreme Court (Administrative Office of the Courts, Professional Services), and renew its registration on an annual basis. RPC 7.4(e)(4)(vii).

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