to Ethics 2000 Commission Report 401
ABA House of Delegates Meeting - August 2001
RULE 1.5 [Rejecting Proposed Requirement that Fee Agreements be in Writing]
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(b) The scope of the representation and the basis or rate of the fee and expenses for which the client will be responsible shall be communicated to the client, preferably in writing, before or within a reasonable time after commencing the representation, except when the lawyer will charge a regularly represented client on the same basis or rate. Any changes in the basis or rate of the fee or expenses shall also be communicated in writing to the client. This paragraph does not apply in any matter in which it is reasonably foreseeable that total cost to a client, including attorney fees, will be [$500] or less.
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 When the lawyer has regularly represented a client, they ordinarily will have evolved an understanding concerning the basis or rate of the fee and the expenses for which the client will be responsible. In a new client-lawyer relationship, however, a written an understanding as to fees and expenses must be promptly established, unless the total cost to the client is unlikely to exceed [$500]. Generally, furnishing it is desirable to furnish the client with at least a simple memorandum or copy of the lawyer's customary fee arrangements will suffice, provided that the writing states the general nature of the legal services to be provided, the basis, rate or total amount of the fee and whether and to what extent the client will be responsible for any costs, expenses or disbursements in the course of the representation. A written statement concerning the terms of the engagement reduces the possibility of misunderstanding. When the service provided is brief, providing a prompt written bill satisfies the requirements of this paragraph.