Revised Rules

Print rule

Back to revised rule search

<< Previous Rule
Next Rule >>


Law Firms and Associations

Rule 5.6 Restrictions on Right to Practice

A lawyer shall not participate in offering or making:

(a) a partnership, shareholders, operating, employment, or other similar type of 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 between private parties.

Comment

[1] An agreement restricting the right of lawyers 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.

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

History Note:  Statutory Authority G. 84-23

Adopted July 24, 1997; Amended March 1, 2003.

ETHICS OPINION NOTES

RPC 13. A retirement agreement may require a lawyer to accept inactive status as a member of the State Bar as a condition of payment of retirement benefits.

RPC 179. A lawyer may not offer or enter into a settlement agreement that contains a provision barring the lawyer who represents the settling party from representing other claimants against the opposing party.

2001 Formal Ethics Opinion 10. Opinion prohibits a lawyer from entering into an employment agreement with a law firm that includes a provision reducing the amount of deferred compensation the lawyer will receive if the lawyer leaves the firm before retirement to engage in the private practice of law within a 50-mile radius of the firm's offices.

Back to revised rule search

THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE BAR
217 E. Edenton Street • PO Box 25908 • Raleigh, NC 27611-5908 • 919.828.4620
Copyrightę North Carolina State Bar. All rights reserved.