Illinois Supreme Court Amends Comment To Rule 1.1 Competence

The Illinois Supreme Court has amended a comment to Rule 1.1, Competence.  The purpose of the amendment is to require lawyers to give the client notice when they are going to retain another lawyer to render services to a client. For those of us who practice in small firms and frequently retain other lawyers to help on cases, this requirement is really another way of saying that you must keep the client informed about the progress of his matter.

The amended comment read as follows:

Retaining Or Contracting With Other Lawyers
      [6] Before a lawyer retains or contracts with other lawyers outside the lawyer’s own firm to provide or assist in the provision of legal services to a client, the lawyer should ordinarily obtain informed consent from the client and must reasonably believe that the other lawyers’ services will contribute to the competent and ethical representation of the client. See also Rules 1.2(e) and Comment [15], 1.4, 1.5(e), 1.6, and 5.5(a). The reasonableness of the decision to retain or contract with other lawyers outside the lawyer’s own firm will depend upon the circumstances, including the education, experience and reputation of the nonfirm lawyers; the nature of the services assigned to the nonfirm lawyers; and the legal protections, professional conduct rules, and ethical environments of the jurisdictions in which the services will be performed, particularly relating to confidential information.
      [7] When lawyers from more than one law firm are providing legal services to the client on a particular matter, the lawyers ordinarily should consult with each other and the client about the scope of their respective representations and the allocation of responsibility among them. See Rule 1.2. When making allocations of responsibility in a matter pending before a tribunal, lawyers and parties may have additional obligations that are a matter of law beyond the scope of these Rules.

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