PLEASE NOTE:  Publication for public comment is not, and shall not, be construed as a recommendation or approval by the Board of Trustees of the materials published.

SUBJECT:

Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 11-0001 (Third Party Payors).

BACKGROUND:

The State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) is charged with the task of issuing advisory opinions on the ethical propriety of hypothetical attorney conduct.  In accordance with Tab 19, Article 2, Section 6(g) (as modified by Tab 12, Title 1, Division 2, Rule 1.10) of the State Bar Board Book, the Committee shall publish proposed formal opinions for public comment.

DISCUSSION/PROPOSAL:

Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 11-0001 considers: Who is entitled to the refund of remaining advance fees at the end of a case where fees were paid by non-client?

The opinion interprets rules 3-310(F), 3-700 and 4-100 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California.

The opinion digest states: Where a third party pays the attorneys fees for a client and there are funds remaining after the representation is concluded, the attorney must return the balance to the payor, rather than to the client, unless the agreement with the client and the payor specifies otherwise.
   
At its June 29, 2012 meeting and in accordance with its Rules of Procedure, the State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct tentatively approved Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 11-0001 for a 90-day public comment distribution.

ANY KNOWN FISCAL/PERSONNEL IMPACT:

None

ATTACHMENT:

Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 11-0001

SOURCE:

State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct

DEADLINE:

5 p.m., Oct. 3, 2012

DIRECT COMMENTS TO:

Angela Marlaud
Office of Professional Competence, Planning and Development
State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
Ph. (415) 538-2116
Fax (415) 538-2171
E-mail: angela.marlaud@calbar.ca.gov