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September 29th, 2022
ABA Issues Communication Rules For Pro Se Attys
Ethics and Professional Responsibly Partner Ronald C. Minkoff is quoted in the article, “ABA Issues Communication Rules For Pro Se Attys” published by Law360. The article discusses the American Bar Association's ethics committee statement that lawyers representing themselves cannot communicate with another represented person in the matter but must instead go through the individual's lawyer because of issues that have arose in situations when attorneys are acting pro se in the matter. Ron is quoted saying, “Unfortunately, this is a very common problem, as many lawyers who are pro se believe that the 'no contact' rule doesn't apply to them because they are not 'representing a client.’ And of course, a pro se lawyer, in pursuing their own interests, is likely to put more pressure, and be less restrained, than when representing a client. So this is an issue that has long needed resolution on a national level.”
Ron said he agrees with the majority that pro se representation is self-representation. He said that in New York, where he practices, the rules of professional conduct allow pro se lawyers to communicate with a represented party if they provide the party's lawyer with reasonable advance notice. "The 'reasonable advance notice' requirement, which N.Y. has used for decades, has generally proven workable while allowing direct communications that can occasionally speed the resolution of cases," he said. Adding, "Requiring lawyer consent seems unnecessary, but it certainly better protects clients against particularly abusive lawyers, those whose version of 'reasonable notice' may not be what most would think it should be. In other words, it better protects clients when they need it most."
Read the full article here. (Behind paywall)