The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has issued new rules for those representing children, or anyone “under a disability”. The changes make sense. I am posting the entire new rule, part above “the line” and part below.
Deb Sirotkin Butler
THE NEW RULE
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
At the Supreme Judicial Court holden at Boston within and for said Commonwealth on the twenty-second day of July, in the year two thousand and eight:
HON. MARGARET H. MARSHALL )
HON. JOHN M. GREANEY )
HON. RODERICK L. IRELAND )
HON. FRANCIS X. SPINA )
HON. JUDITH A. COWIN )
HON. ROBERT J. CORDY )
HON. MARGOT BOTSFORD )
ORDERED: That Chapter Three of the Rules of the Supreme Judicial Court is hereby amended as follows:
Rule 3:07 By striking out Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.14 and inserting in lieu thereof the new Rule 1.14 attached hereto.
The amendments accomplished by this order shall take effect on September 1, 2008.Rule 1.14 Client With Diminished Capacity
(a) When a client’s capacity to make adequately considered decisions in connection with a representation is diminished, whether because of minority, mental impairment or for some other reason, the lawyer shall, as far as reasonably possible, maintain a normal client-lawyer relationship with the client.
(b) When the lawyer reasonably believes that the client has diminished capacity that prevents the client from making an adequately considered decision regarding a specific issue that is part of the representation, is at risk of substantial physical, financial or other harm unless action is taken, and cannot adequately act in the client’s own interest, the lawyer may take reasonably necessary protective action in connection with the representation, including consulting with individuals or entities that have the ability to take action to protect the client and, in appropriate cases, seeking the appointment of a guardian ad litem, conservator or guardian.
(c) Information relating to the representation of a client with diminished capacity is protected by Rule 1.6. When taking protective action pursuant to paragraph (b), the lawyer is impliedly authorized under Rule 1.6(a) to reveal information about the client, but only to the extent reasonably necessary to protect the client’s interests.