MSC issues MCR orders, announces appointments

The Michigan Supreme Court, in an order issued yesterday, added three new rules to the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC).

New Rule 2.4, according to the staff comment, is designed to help parties involved in alternative dispute resolution to better understand the role of a lawyer serving as a third-party neutral.

New Rule 5.7, says the staff comment, creates an underlying presumption that the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct apply whenever a lawyer performs law-related services or controls an entity that performs law-related services. The accompanying commentary explains that the presumption may be rebutted only if the lawyer carefully informs the consumer and identifies the services that are law related and clarifies that no client-lawyer relationship exists with respect to ancillary services.

New Rule 6.6 addresses concerns that a strict application of conflict-of-interest rules may deter lawyers from volunteering to provide short-term legal services through nonprofit organizations, court-related programs, and similar other endeavors such as legal-advice hotlines, according to the staff comment.

The MSC also issued amendments and revised commentary to MRPC 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 5.5, and 8.5.

The complete text of the new and amended rules is contained in ADM File No. 2009-06.

The Court also proposed amendments to MCR 8.121 and 8.126.

According to the staff comment, the proposed amendment of MCR 8.121 addresses a situation in which attorneys charge more than the one-third contingency fee that is the allowable fee limit charged in wrongful death and personal injury actions.

The proposed changes to MCR 8.126 include a requirement that the fee be charged for each request for pro hac vice admission. The proposal’s staff comment also indicates that the court that grants the motion must send a copy of the order to the AGC (instead of requiring that the Michigan attorney send the copy to the AGC). The proposed amendment would apply to an attorney’s temporary admission for arbitration proceedings and requires that the admission fee be paid before the court issues an admission order.

In other action, the MSC:

  • reappointed David L. Porteous and appointed Barbara B. Smith as attorney members of the Attorney Grievance Commission for terms ending October 1, 2013. Kent J. Vana was reappointed chairperson of the commission and Martha D. Moore was reappointed vice-chairperson of the commission for terms ending October 1, 2011. ADM File No. 2010-01.
  • appointed the Honorable Linda S. Hallmark as chief judge of the Oakland County Probate Court for a term ending December 31, 2011. ADM File No. 2010-01.

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