MAY 2020

OARC Update

A bimonthly newsletter of the
Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel is currently open with most of its staff working remotely. We have a number of changes to our business operations to avoid the need for attorneys, applicants or members of the public to visit our Office and to reduce the need for staff to be in our Office. Please click here to learn more. This webpage will be updated as needed, and will include any changes to our internal procedures, deadlines, or ways of getting in touch with us. Please check back frequently to ensure you have up-to-date information.


In this month’s What You Need to Know, we profile recent rule amendments, proposed rule amendments and three recent ethics opinions.

Amendments to Colo. RPC 1.6 and Colo. RPC 1.15A

In 2019, the Colorado General Assembly passed the Colorado Electronic Preservation of Abandoned Estate Planning Documents Act. On May 14, 2020, the Colorado Supreme Court adopted amendments to Colo. RPC 1.6 and Colo. RPC 1.15A, effective January 1, 2021, to address lawyers’ professional obligations in relation to the Act. 

Proposed rule changes
The Colorado Supreme Court has proposed amendments to Colo. RPCs 7.1-7.5 regarding advertising, and has requested public comments regarding the amendments. Written comments should be submitted to Cheryl Stevens, Clerk of the Supreme Court. Comments may be mailed or delivered to 2 East 14th Avenue, Denver, CO 80203 or emailed to and received no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 9, 2020. For more information, click here and scroll past the year categories:
The Colorado Supreme Court has proposed amendments to the contingent fee rule, which would move the substance of C.R.C.P. 23.3 Rules Governing Contingent Fees into Colo. RPC 1.5 Fees, among other changes. The Colorado Supreme Court will hold a public hearing regarding the amendments on September 23, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. in the Colorado Supreme Court Courtroom, 2 East 14th Avenue, Denver, Colorado. The deadline for written comments is September 3, 2020.  For more information regarding the hearing and the submission of written comments, click here and scroll past the year categories:

ABA Formal Opinion 491

In April 2020, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Opinion 491 Obligations Under Rule 1.2(d) to Avoid Counseling or Assisting in a Crime or Fraud in Non-Litigation Settings. The Opinion discusses a lawyer’s duty pursuant to Model Rule 1.2(d) not to advise or assist a client in conduct the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent.  Because knowledge can be inferred from the circumstances, the Opinion explains that when facts are known to the lawyer to establish a high probability the client seeks to use the lawyer’s services for criminal or fraudulent activity, the lawyer has a duty to inquire further to avoid advising or assisting that activity. The Opinion also explains the duty to inquire further may be required by a lawyer’s obligations pursuant to other Rules of Professional Conduct, including 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.13, 1.16 and 8.4. ABA Formal Opinion 491 .

CBA Ethics Opinion 140

In March 2020, the Ethics Committee of the Colorado Bar Association issued Formal Opinion 140 Ethical Issues When a Lawyer Serves as an Escrow Agent. The Opinion discusses the ethics of acting as an escrow agent for two or more parties when the lawyer represents one of the parties. The Opinion concludes a lawyer may act in both capacities provided the lawyer is able to fulfill the lawyer’s duties to all parties under the escrow agreement without creating a conflict in the fulfillment of the lawyer’s ethical obligations to the lawyer’s client. CBA Formal Opinion 140 .

Pennsylvania Bar Association Ethics Opinion 2020-300

Looking for guidance about remote working during a pandemic?  In April 2020, the Pennsylvania Bar Association Committee on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Formal Opinion 2020-300 Ethical Obligations for Lawyers Working Remotely. The Opinion discusses various ethical issues that arise for lawyers working remotely, specifically issues regarding security and confidentiality of client data. Formal Opinion 2020-300 .



Could you use a free, confidential, and “virtual” helping hand?  COLAP’s got you covered.

While the initial shock and stress of world events and shelter-in-place has passed, we continue to face new and difficult stressors.  You might feel isolated, overwhelmed with urgent demands on your time and attention, or be juggling multiple personal and professional issues that include physical illness and financial concerns.  Heightened stress can also exacerbate behavioral health issues such as anxiety, depression, substance use, and addiction.  Your Colorado Lawyer Assistance Program (COLAP) is open and providing free and confidential assistance for the legal community.  Click here for quick tips on teleworking and staying calm during changing times.  For a confidential consultation and discussion about your stressors, helpful resources, or to schedule a free ethics CLE well-being webinar for your firm or organization, contact your Colorado Lawyer Assistance Program:  303-986-3345 or  * All calls and emails are confidential. * Click here for information on virtual support group meetings exclusively for the legal community through CLHL.



Looking to start your own solo practice?  Gaining new responsibilities for trust account management at your firm?  Just needing a refresher on how to manage the money side of your practice?  OARC’s Trust Account School—which covers a variety of financial management topics—can help you and your accountant understand your professional obligations and gain practical tips too.   The next course is July 17 and will be held on-line to make it easier to access that education. Lawyers may claim five general and five ethics continuing legal education credits for completing Trust Account School. Click here to register.



To make it easier for individuals to access our services, we now offer an on-line complaint option.  The on-line option is available if you wish to file a request for investigation regarding a lawyer, or a non-lawyer whom you believe is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.  We still offer our telephone intake system as well. Click here for more information.


May 1 Late application deadline for the July 2020 Bar Exam

May 4-28 Remote Swearing In Ceremonies with Justices

May 31 CLE reminder: Make-up plan CLE programs to be completed no later than May 31st.

June 15 CLE reminder: Full completion of the make-up plan shall be reported no later than June 15th.

July 17 On-line Trust Account School, hosted by OARC

July 28-29 July 2020 Bar Exam
Copyright © 2020 Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, Colorado Supreme Court, All rights reserved.

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