The Bar News

Illinois ARDC Accepting Comments for “Intermediary Connecting Services Proposal”

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) is accepting comments for its “Intermediary Connecting Services Proposal,” which it has submitted to the Illinois Supreme Court.

The proposed Rules are available online. Comments may be emailed to information@iardc.org.

The proposed regulations would address for-profit matching services, market inefficiencies, and the uncertainty in the Rules of Professional Conduct that may discourage lawyers from expanding their advertising capabilities.

“The ARDC’s proposal seeks to:

Amend Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2. Proposed amendments to Rule 7.2 would guide Illinois lawyers in their participation and payments to intermediary connecting services. Lawyers would be permitted to participate only in those services that maintain an active registration with the ARDC, provided that certain conditions are met, including that the fees of the service and the lawyer are not contingent on the outcome of matter, the lawyer makes certain disclosures to the client, and the lawyer does not permit the intermediary connecting service to interfere with the lawyer-client relationship or with the lawyer’s professional judgment.

Amend Supreme Court Rule 730. Proposed amendments to Rule 730 would create a registration and regulatory framework to protect the legal profession and the public. Intermediary connecting services would have to satisfy certain eligibility requirements in registering with the ARDC. In light of the longstanding concern of for-profit nonlawyer interference with or control over lawyers, registered intermediary connecting services would have to adhere to certain minimum ethical and business standards. These would include not interfering with or controlling a lawyer’s representation or judgment, not charging or collecting a fee that is calculated or expressed as a percentage of the lawyer’s anticipated or actual legal fees, and not holding or placing restrictions on a lawyer’s legal fee.

Add Supreme Court Rule 220. This new rule would extend the attorney-client privilege and Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6(a) protection to communications between potential clients and a broad swath of lawyer-client connecting services for the purposes of seeking legal representation or legal services.”

A detailed look at the ARDC’s proposal will be featured in the March issue of the Illinois Bar Journal.

Posted on February 5, 2020 by Rhys Saunders
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