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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 06-2502




[204 PA. CODE CH. 83]

Amendment of Rule 217(j) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement; No. 57 Disciplinary Rules; Doc. No. 1

[36 Pa.B. 7801]
[Saturday, December 23, 2006]


Per Curiam:

   And Now, this 11th day of December, 2006, it is ordered, pursuant to Article V, Section 10, of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, that:

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

   2.  This Order shall be processed in accordance with Rule 103(b) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Judicial Administration and these amendments 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)  within 30 days after the effective date to persons who are formerly admitted attorneys on the date of such publication.

Annex A





Subchapter B.  MISCONDUCT

Rule 217.  Formerly admitted attorneys.

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   (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] engaged by a law firm or other organization providing legal services, whether by employment or other relationship, an attorney of the firm or organization shall be designated by the firm or organization as the supervising attorney for purposes of this subdivision.

*      *      *      *      *

   (3)  A formerly admitted attorney may have direct communication with a client or third party regarding a matter being handled by the attorney, organization 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, organization or lawyer if the formerly admitted attorney was associated with that law firm, organization 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 on a full time basis;

*      *      *      *      *

   (5)  The supervising attorney and the formerly admitted attorney shall file with the Disciplinary Board a notice of [employment] engagement, identifying the supervising attorney[,] and 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] engagement between the formerly admitted attorney and the supervising 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).

   Official Note: Subdivision (j) was adopted by the Court to limit and regulate the law-related activities performed by formerly admitted attorneys regardless of whether those formerly admitted attorneys are engaged as employees, independent contractors or in any other capacity. Subdivision (j) requires that a notice be filed with the Disciplinary Board when any law-related activities are performed by a formerly admitted attorney and when the engagement is terminated. 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. 06-2502. Filed for public inspection December 22, 2006, 9:00 a.m.]

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