ISBA House of Delegates passes resolution that seeks to amend rules on non-lawyer assistants
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Posted by: Michael Sanserino
FRENCH LICK, Ind. – A resolution passed Wednesday by the Indiana State Bar Association House of Delegates seeks to amend part of the Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct to allow independent contractors to work as non-lawyer assistants.
The resolution calls for Guideline 9.1 be amended to eliminate the requirement that non-lawyer assistants must be employees of a lawyer or law firm. Proposed by the ISBA Legal Ethics committee and recommended for adoption by the ISBA Board of Governors, the resolution addresses recent decisions in which lawyers were disciplined under Guideline 9.1 for using a non-lawyer assistant’s services on an independent contractor basis.
The resolution passed during the opening day of ISBA’s Annual Meeting at the French Lick Resort.
“The Legal Ethics Committee of the Indiana State Bar Association has reviewed this topic and has issued a report recommending that Indiana Guideline 9.1 be amended to not require the use of non-lawyer assistants solely as employees so long as the non-lawyer assistant’s supervising lawyer takes reasonable measures to insure that the assistant’s conduct is consistent with the lawyer’s obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct,” the resolution read.
While the House of Delegates approved the resolution, any amendment would have to be made by the Indiana Supreme Court. By passing the proposal, the House of Delegates has “authorized and directed” ISBA officers “to propose to the Indiana Supreme Court an amendment to Guideline 9.1.”
Earlier Wednesday, the House of Delegates approved an Indiana State Bar bylaws change that will give student and affiliate members the ability to be more active in ISBA sections and committees. Specifically, the proposed bylaws would give students and affiliate members full voting privileges in sections and committees. The ISBA Board of Governors recommends passage of this resolution.
About the Indiana State Bar Association:
Founded in 1896, the Indiana State Bar Association is the single largest legal organization in the state. The ISBA serves and advocates on behalf of its members, their clients and the public interest as the independent voice of the legal profession. The ISBA’s office is located in downtown Indianapolis. For more information about the Indiana State Bar Association, visit www.inbar.org.
Communications Manager, Indiana State Bar Association