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Public Comment

Duty of Confidentiality and Seeking Legal Advice

Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 09-0001B considers: May an attorney disclose client confidences to her own attorney to evaluate a wrongful discharge action against her former firm and, in pursuing her claim, may she or her attorney publicly disclose those client confidences?

Proposed Modification to Rule 30.0 (“Subpoenas”), State Bar of California Model Rules of Procedure for Fee Arbitrations

Pursuant to Article 13, Arbitration of Attorney’s Fees (Business and Professions Code section 6200, et seq.), the Board of Trustees is charged with establishing, maintaining and administering a system and procedure for the arbitration of disputes concerning fees, costs, or both, charged by attorneys for their professional services. The statutory scheme for Mandatory Fee Arbitration provides for fee arbitration services sponsored by local bar associations. (Bus. & Prof. Code, §6200, subd (d).) The Board of Governors adopts and reviews the local bars’ rules of procedure “ insure that they provide for a fair impartial, and speedy hearing and award.” (Ibid.) Today, mandatory fee arbitration is available through 40 local bar association programs in addition to the State Bar’s MFA program.

Proposed modification to the Rule 31 of the State Bar Rules of Procedure for Fee Arbitrations re: subpoenas

The Mandatory Fee Arbitration process is designed to be a quicker, cheaper and less formal venue for resolving fee disputes between attorneys and clients. It is a consumer protection program that benefits the citizens of California and members of the State Bar. The less formal nature of Mandatory Fee Arbitration is designed to help clients feel more comfortable with the process. Discovery is not allowed and no rules of evidence are applicable. Clients aren’t required to be well-versed in legal procedure in order to have their matter heard in a fair and impartial manner.