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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 00-2202




[204 PA. CODE CH. 83]

Amendment of Rule 217 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement; No. 10 Disciplinary Rules Doc. No. 1

[30 Pa.B. 6540]


Per Curiam:

   And Now, this 7th day of December, 2000, it is ordered, pursuant to Article V, Section 10, of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, that:

   1.  Rule 217 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement is amended as set forth in Annex A.

   2.  This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. 103(b). New Pa.R.D.E. 217(j) shall take effect upon publication of this Order in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and shall apply:

   (i)  immediately to persons becoming formerly admitted attorneys on or after the date of such publication; and

   (ii)  commencing January 1, 2001 to persons who are formerly admitted attorneys on the date of such publication.

Annex A





Subchapter B.  MISCONDUCT

Rule 217.  Formerly admitted attorneys.

*      *      *      *      *

   (j)  A formerly admitted attorney may not engage in any form of law-related activities in this Commonwealth except in accordance with the following requirements:

   (1)  All law-related activities of the formerly admitted attorney shall be conducted under the direct supervision of a member in good standing of the Bar of this Commonwealth who shall be responsible for ensuring that the formerly admitted attorney complies with the requirements of this subdivision (j). If the formerly admitted attorney is employed by a law firm, an attorney of the firm shall be designated by the firm as the supervising attorney for purposes of this subdivision.

   (2)  For purposes of this subdivision (j), the only law-related activities that may be conducted by a formerly admitted attorney are the following:

   (i)  legal work of a preparatory nature, such as legal research, assembly of data and other necessary information, and drafting of transactional documents, pleadings, briefs, and other similar documents;

   (ii)  direct communication with the client or third parties to the extent permitted by paragraph (3); and

   (iii)  accompanying a member in good standing of the Bar of this Commonwealth to a deposition or other discovery matter or to a meeting regarding a matter that is not currently in litigation, for the limited purpose of providing clerical assistance to the member in good standing who appears as the representative of the client.

   (3)  A formerly admitted attorney may have direct communication with a client or third party regarding a matter being handled by the attorney or firm for which the formerly admitted attorney works only if the communication is limited to ministerial matters such as scheduling, billing, updates, confirmation of receipt or sending of correspondence and messages. The formerly admitted attorney shall clearly indicate in any such communication that he or she is a legal assistant and identify the supervising attorney.

   (4)  Without limiting the other restrictions in this subdivision (j), a formerly admitted attorney is specifically prohibited from engaging in any of the following activities:

   (i)  performing any law-related activity for a law firm or lawyer if the formerly admitted attorney was associated with that law firm or lawyer on or after the date on which the acts which resulted in the disbarment or suspension occurred, through and including the effective date of disbarment or suspension;

   (ii)  performing any law-related services from an office that is not staffed, on a full time basis, by a supervising attorney;

   (iii)  performing any law-related services for any client who in the past was represented by the formerly admitted attorney;

   (iv)  representing himself or herself as a lawyer or person of similar status;

   (v)  having any contact with clients either in person, by telephone, or in writing, except as provided in paragraph (3);

   (vi)  rendering legal consultation or advice to a client;

   (vii)  appearing on behalf of a client in any hearing or proceeding or before any judicial officer, arbitrator, mediator, court, public agency, referee, magistrate, hearing officer or any other adjudicative person or body;

   (viii)  appearing as a representative of the client at a deposition or other discovery matter;

   (ix)  negotiating or transacting any matter for or on behalf of a client with third parties or having any contact with third parties regarding such a negotiation or transaction;

   (x)  receiving, disbursing or otherwise handling client funds.

   (5)  The supervising attorney and the formerly admitted attorney shall file with the Disciplinary Board a notice of employment, identifying the supervising attorney, certifying that the formerly admitted attorney has been employed and that the formerly admitted attorney's activities will be monitored for compliance with this subdivision (j). The supervising attorney and the formerly admitted attorney shall file a notice with the Disciplinary Board immediately upon the termination of the employment of the formerly admitted attorney.

   (6)  The supervising attorney shall be subject to disciplinary action for any failure by either the formerly admitted attorney or the supervising attorney to comply with the provisions of this subdivision (j).

   Note:  Subdivision (j) is addressed only to the special circumstance of formerly admitted attorneys engaging in law-related activities and should not be read more broadly to define the permissible activities that may be conducted by a paralegal, law clerk, investigator, etc. who is not a formerly admitted attorney. Subdivision (j) is also not intended to establish a standard for what constitutes the unauthorized practice of law. Finally, subdivision (j) is not intended to prohibit a formerly admitted attorney from performing services that are not unique to law offices, such as physical plant or equipment maintenance, courier or delivery services, catering, typing or transcription or other similar general office support activities.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 00-2202. Filed for public inspection December 22, 2000, 9:00 a.m.]

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