FEES AND FEASIBILITY: Amendments To Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.5 on Fees

Constance V. Vecchione, Bar Counsel

Comprehensive amendments ordered by the Supreme Judicial Court to Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.5 on charging and collecting fees will take effect on March 15, 2011. Some of the revisions mirror amendments made to the corresponding ABA model rule in 2002; some are grammatical or stylistic and do not reflect changes in substance. But other significant amendments, especially those concerning contingent fee agreements, are intended to conform Rule 1.5 to four decisions by the SJC since 2004— Malonis v. Harrington, 442 Mass. 692 (2004), Saggese v. Kelley, 455 Mass. 434 (2005), Liss v. Studeny, 450 Mass. 473 (2008), and Matter of an Attorney, 451 Mass. 131 (2008). These changes are unique to Massachusetts.

This article discusses the new amendments and provides guidance on different forms of contingent fee agreements contemplated under the new rule.