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Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 5.6: Restrictions on Right to Practice

[Disclaimer]

A lawyer shall not participate in offering or making:

(a) a partnership or employment agreement that restricts the right of a lawyer to practice after termination of the relationship, except an agreement concerning benefits upon retirement; or

(b) an agreement in which a restriction on the lawyer's right to practice is part of the settlement of a controversy.

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

Comment:

[1] An agreement restricting the right of partners or associates to practice after leaving a firm not only limits their professional autonomy but also limits the freedom of clients to choose a lawyer. Paragraph (a) prohibits such agreements except for restrictions incident to provisions concerning retirement benefits for service with the firm.

[2] Paragraph (b) prohibits a lawyer from agreeing not to represent other persons in connection with settling a claim on behalf of a client. The prohibition applies to matters in which the government is a party as well as to purely private disputes.

[3] This Rule does not apply to prohibit restrictions that may be included in the terms of the sale of a law practice pursuant to Rule 1.17.

Corresponding ABA Model Rule. Identical to Model Rule 5.6, except reference to private parties deleted at the end of paragraph (b).

Corresponding Former Massachusetts Rule. DR 2-108.