Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis and the Illinois Supreme Court announced amendments to Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct 1.5 and 1.15. The amendments to the Rules are intended to address existing issues between the legal needs of the public and the lawyers who could serve them.
“These amendments provide additional guidance for attorneys in a clear, straightforward way,” Chief Justice Theis said. “They also highlight the importance of providing affordable representation for clients and minimize the potential for fee disputes.”
The amendments were approved by the Court after being proposed by a work group of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) and Lawyers Trust Fund (LTF), and were reviewed by the Supreme Court’s Committee on Professional Responsibility. The changes make the language of the Rules clearer and modernized in order to keep up with technology.
Rule 1.5 is titled “Fees” and addresses agreements for compensation between clients and lawyers. Rule 1.15 is titled “General Duties Regarding Safekeeping Property,” and addresses how a lawyer must handle funds or property of clients or third persons.
In addition to the changes in language, a new Comment 8A was recently added to Rule 1.15 which specifically provides for fees that are not based on an hourly rate and stresses the importance of attorneys providing their clients with affordable representation and minimizing the potential for fee disputes.
The amendments are effective July 1, 2023.
The Illinois Supreme Court Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here: https://www.illinoiscourts.gov/rules/supreme-court-rules?a=viii