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Supreme Court Rules

Section/Rule:4- 9. 1
Subject: Rule 4 - Rules Governing the Missouri Bar and the Judiciary - Rules of Professional Conduct Publication / Adopted Date:September 28, 1993
Topic:Lawyer Referral and Information ServicesRevised / Effective Date:July 1, 2007


RULE 4-9.1: LAWYER REFERRAL AND INFORMATION SERVICES

(a) The operation of this Rule 4-9.1 and compliance with its provisions shall be supervised by the chief disciplinary counsel. The chief disciplinary counsel shall develop and promulgate regulations, procedures, and forms not inconsistent with this Rule 4-9.1, including the amount of the fee to register a qualified service, subject to approval by this Court.

(b) Lawyers eligible to practice in this state may participate in a service that refers them to prospective clients, but only if the service is a qualified service because it conforms to this Rule 4-9.1.

(c) A qualified service shall be operated in the public interest for the purpose of referring prospective clients to lawyers, pro bono and public service legal programs, and government, consumer, or other agencies that can provide the assistance the clients need in light of their financial circumstances, spoken language, any disability, geographical convenience, and the nature and complexity of their problems.

(d) Only a qualified service may call itself a lawyer referral service or operate for a direct or indirect purpose of referring potential clients to particular lawyers, whether or not the term 'referral service' is used.

(e) A qualified service must be open to all lawyers licensed to practice in this state who:

A qualified service shall establish and publish a procedure for admitting, suspending, or removing lawyers from its roll of panelists.

(f) No fee generating referral may be made to any lawyer who has an ownership interest in, or who operates or is employed by, a qualified service or who is associated with a law firm that has an ownership interest in, or operates or is employed by, a qualified service.

(g) A qualified service shall periodically survey client satisfaction with its operations and shall investigate and take appropriate action with respect to client complaints against panelists, the service, and its employees.

(h) A qualified service may establish specific subject matter panels, including moderate and no fee panels, foreign language panels, alternative dispute resolution panels, and other special panels that respond to the referral needs of the consumer public, eligibility for which shall be determined on the basis of experience and other substantial objectively determinable criteria.

(i) A qualified service shall:

(j) This Rule 4-9.1 does not apply to:

(k) A disclosure of information to a lawyer referral service for the purpose of seeking legal assistance or for purposes of complying with the survey under Rule 4-9.1(g) shall be deemed a privileged lawyer-client communication.

(l) The chief disciplinary counsel may deny, suspend, or cancel any registration upon making a finding of a material violation of any provisions of this Rule 4-9.1. Any person who is substantially and individually aggrieved by the action of the chief disciplinary counsel may, within 30 days of receiving notice of the action, petition this Court for review of the action of the chief disciplinary counsel. This Court may direct that the issues raised in the petition be briefed and argued as though a petition for an original remedial writ has been sustained. This Court may sustain, modify, or vacate the action of the chief disciplinary counsel or dismiss the petition.

(m) Any person violating the provisions of this Rule 4-9.1 shall be deemed to be engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

(Adopted Aug. 7, 1985, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended Sept. 28, 1993, eff. Jan. 1, 1994; March 1, 2007, eff. 2007)