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Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 4.3: Dealing with Unrepresented Person

[Disclaimer]

(a) In dealing on behalf of a client with a person who is not represented by counsel, a lawyer shall not state or imply that the lawyer is disinterested. When the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the unrepresented person misunderstands the lawyer's role in the matter, the lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to correct the misunderstanding.

(b) During the course of representation of a client, a lawyer shall not give advice to a person who is not represented by a lawyer, other than the advice to secure counsel, if the interests of such person are or have a reasonable possibility of being in conflict with the interests of the client.

Adopted June 9, 1997, effective January 1, 1998.

Comment:

[1] An unrepresented person, particularly one not experienced in dealing with legal matters, might assume that a lawyer is disinterested in loyalties or is a disinterested authority on the law even when the lawyer represents a client. Therefore Rule 4.3 continues the prohibition contained in former DR 1-104(A)(2) against giving advice to an unrepresented person, other than the advice to obtain counsel, when that person's interests are, or reasonably might be, in conflict with the interests of the lawyer's client. Nothing in this Rule, however, should be understood as precluding the lawyer from functioning in the normal representational role of advancing the client's position. Explaining the lawyer's own view of the meaning of a contract, for example, does not involve the giving of "advice" to an unrepresented person. Lawyers should be careful, however, to explain their roles to unrepresented persons to avoid the possibility of misunderstanding.

Corresponding ABA Model Rule. Paragraph (a) identical to Model Rule 4.3.

Corresponding Former Massachusetts Rule. No counterpart except (b) is taken from DR 7-104 (A)(2).