CLIENT-LAWYER RELATIONSHIP

 

Rule 1.1.  Competence.
Rule 1.2.  Scope of representation.
Rule 1.3.  Diligence.
Rule 1.4.  Communication.
Rule 1.5.  Fees.
Rule 1.6.  Confidentiality of information.
Rule 1.7.  Conflict of interest:  General rules.
Rule 1.8.  Conflict of interest:  Prohibited transactions.
Rule 1.9.  Conflict of interest:  Former client.
Rule 1.10.  Imputed disqualification:  General rule.
Rule 1.11.  Successive government and private employment.
Rule 1.12.  Former judge or arbitrator.
Rule 1.13.  Organization as a client.
Rule 1.14.  Client under a disability.
Rule 1.15.  Safekeeping property.
Rule 1.16.  Declining or terminating representation.
Rule 1.17.  Sale of law practice.

 

 

 

Rule 1.1.  Competence.
      A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client.  Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

Rule 1.2.  Scope of Representation.
      (a) A lawyer shall abide by a client’s decisions concerning the objectives of representation, subject to paragraphs (c), (d) and (e) and shall consult with the client as to the means by which they are to be pursued.  A lawyer shall abide by a client’s decision whether to accept an offer of settlement of a matter.  In a criminal case, the lawyer shall abide by the client’s decision, after consultation with the lawyer, as to a plea to entered, whether to waive a jury trial and whether the client will testify. 
      (b) A lawyer’s representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client’s political, economic, social or moral views or activities.
      (c) A lawyer may limit the objectives of the representation if the client consents after consultation.
      (d) A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent, but a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law.
      (e) When a lawyer knows that a client expects assistance not permitted by the rules of professional conduct or other law, the lawyer shall consult with the client regarding the relevant limitations on the lawyer’s conduct.

Rule 1.3. Diligence.
       A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client

Rule 1.4.  Communication.
      (a) A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.
      (b) A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

Rule 1.5.  Fees.
      (a) A lawyer’s fee shall be reasonable. The factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee include the following:
      (1) the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;
      (2) the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer;
      (3) the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;
      (4) the amount involved and results obtained;
      (5) the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;
      (6) the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;
      (7) the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services, and;
      (8) whether the fee is fixed or contingent.
      (b) When the lawyer has not regularly represented the client, the basis or rate of the fee shall be communicated to the client, preferably in writing, before or within a reasonable time after commencing the representation.
      (c) A fee may be contingent on the outcome of the matter for which the service is rendered, except in a matter in which a contingent fee is prohibited by paragraph (d) or other law. A contingent fee agreement shall be in writing and shall state the method by which the fee is to be determined, including the percentage or percentages that shall accrue to the lawyer in the event of settlement, trial or appeal, litigation and other expenses to be deducted from the recovery, and whether such expenses are to be deducted before or after the contingent fee is calculated. Upon conclusion of a contingent fee matter, the lawyer shall provide the client with a written statement stating the outcome of the matter and, if there is a recovery, showing the remittance to the client and the method of its determination.
      (d) A lawyer shall not enter into an arrangement for, charge, or collect:
      (1) any fee in a domestic relations matter, the payment or amount of which is contingent upon the securing of a divorce or upon the amount of alimony or support, or property settlement in lieu thereof; or
      (2) a contingent fee for representing a defendant in a criminal case.
      (e) A division of a fee between lawyers who are not in the same firm may be made only if:
      (1) the division is in proportion to the services performed by each lawyer or, by written agreement with the client, each lawyer assumes joint responsibility for the representations;
      (2) the client is advised of and does not object to the participation of all the lawyer involved; and
      (3) the total fee is reasonable.
      (4) The requirements of “services performed” and “joint responsibility” shall be satisfied in contingent fee cases when: (1) a lawyer who is regularly engaged in the full time practice of law evaluates a case and forwards it to another lawyer who is more experienced in the area or field of law being referred; (2) the client is advised that the lawyer who is more experienced in the area or field of law being referred will be primarily responsible for the litigation and that there will be a division of fees; and (3) the total fee charged the client is reasonable and in keeping with what is usually charged for such matters in the community.

Rule 1.6.  Confidentiality of information.
      (a) A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to representation of a client unless the client consents after consultation, except for disclosures that are impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, and except as stated in paragraph (b).
      (b) A lawyer may reveal such information to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:
      (1) to prevent the client form committing a criminal act; or
      (2) to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the lawyer and the client, to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer based upon conduct in which the client was involved, or to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer representation of the client.

Rule 1.7.  Conflict of interest:  General rules.
      (a) A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client will be directly adverse to another client, unless:
      (1) the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not adversely affect the relationship with the other client; and
      (2) each client consents after consultation.
      (b) A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client may be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client or to a third person, or by the lawyer’s own interests, unless:
      (1) the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not be adversely affected; and
      (2) the client consents after consultation.  When representation of multiple clients in a single matter is undertaken, the consultation shall include explanation of the implications of the common representation and the advantages and risks involved.

Rule 1.8.  Conflict of interest:  Prohibited transactions.
      (a) A lawyer shall not enter into a business transaction with a client or knowingly acquire an ownership, possessory, security or other pecuniary interest adverse to a client unless:
      (1) the transaction and terms on which the lawyer acquires the interest are fair and reasonable to the client and are fully disclosed and transmitted in writing to the client in a manner which can reasonably understood by the client;
      (2) the client is given a reasonable opportunity to seek the advice of independent counsel in the transaction; and
      (3) the client consents in writing thereto.
      (b) A lawyer shall not use information relating to representation of a client to the disadvantage of the client unless the client consents after consultation, except as permitted by Rule 1.6 or Rule 3.3.
       (c) A lawyer shall not prepare an instrument giving the lawyer or a person related to the lawyer as a parent, child, sibling, or spouse any substantial gift from a client, including a testamentary gift, except where the client is related to the donee.
      (d) Prior to the conclusion of representation of a client, a lawyer shall not make or negotiate an agreement giving the lawyer literary or media rights to a portrayal or account based in substantial part on information relating to the representation.
       (e) A lawyer shall not prepare financial assistance to a client in connection with pending or contemplated litigation, except that:
       (1) a lawyer may advance court costs and expenses of litigation, the repayment of which may be contingent on the outcome of the matter; and
       (2) a lawyer representing an indigent client may pay court costs and expenses of litigation on behalf of the client.
       (f) A lawyer shall not accept compensation for representing a client from one other than the client unless:
       (1) the client consents after consultation;
      (2) there is no interference with the lawyer’s independence of professional judgment or with the client-lawyer relationship; and
       (3) information relating to representation of a client is protected as required by Rule 1.6.
      (g) A lawyer who represents two or more clients shall not participate in making an aggregate settlement of the claims of or against the clients, or in a criminal case an aggregated agreement as to guilty or nolo contendere pleas, unless each client consents after consultation, including disclosure of the existence and nature of all the claims or pleas involved and of the participation of each person in the settlement.
      (h) A lawyer shall not make an agreement prospectively limiting the lawyer’s liability to a client for malpractice unless permitted by law and the client is independently represented in making the agreement, or settle a claim for such liability with an unrepresented client or former client without first advising that person in writing that independent representation is appropriate in connection therewith.
      (I) A lawyer related to another lawyer as parent, child, sibling or spouse or a lawyer sharing living quarters with another lawyer shall not represent a client in a representation directly adverse to a person who the lawyer knows is represented by the other lawyer except upon consent by the client after consultation regarding the relationship.
      (j) A lawyer shall not acquire a proprietary interest in the cause of action or subject matter of litigation the lawyer is conducting for a client, except that the lawyer may:
      (1) acquire a lien granted by law to secure the lawyer’s fee or expenses; and
      (2) contract with a client for a reasonable contingent fee in a civil case.
       (k) A lawyer shall not pay, offer to pay, or acquiesce in the payment of compensation to a witness or anyone referring a lawyer to a witness, contingent upon the content of the witness’s testimony or the outcome of the case.  But a lawyer may advance, guarantee, or acquiesce in the payment of:
       (1) expenses reasonably incurred by a witness in attending or testifying.
      (2) reasonable compensation to a witness for his loss of time in attending or testifying.
      (3) a reasonable fee for the professional services of an expert witness.

Rule 1.9.  Conflict of interest:  Former client.
       A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter;
      (a) represent another person in the same or substantially related matter in which the person’s interests are materially adverse to the interests of the former client unless the former client consents after consultation; or
      (b) use information relating to the representation to the disadvantage of the former client except as Rule 1.6 or Rule 3.3 would permit or require with respect to a client or when the information has become generally known.

Rule 1.10.  Imputed disqualification:  General rule.
      (a) While lawyer are associated in a firm, none of them shall knowingly represent a client when any one of them practicing alone would be prohibited from doing so by Rules 1.7, 1.8(c), 1.9 or 2.2.
      (b) When a lawyer becomes associated with a firm, the firm may not knowingly represent a person in the same or substantially related matter in which that lawyer, or a firm with which the lawyer was associated, had previously represented a client whose interests are materially adverse to that person and about whom the lawyer had acquired information protected by Rules 1.6 and 1.9(b) that is material to the matter.
      (c) When a lawyer has terminated an association with a firm, the firm is not prohibited from thereafter representing a person with interests materially adverse to those of a client represented by the formerly associated lawyer unless:
      (1) the matter is the same or substantially related to that in which the formerly associated lawyer represented the client; and
      (2) any lawyer remaining in the firm has information protected by Rules 1.6 and 1.9(b) that is material to the matter.
      (d) A disqualification prescribed by this rule may be waived by the affected client under the conditions stated in Rule 1.7.

Rule 1.11.  Successive government and private employment.

      (a) Except as law may otherwise expressly permit, a lawyer shall not represent a private client in connection with a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially as a public officer or employee, unless the appropriate government agency consents after consultation.  No lawyer in a firm with which that lawyer is associated may knowingly undertake or continue representation in such a matter unless:
      (1) the disqualified lawyer is screened from any participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom; and
      (2) written notice is promptly given to the appropriate government agency to enable it to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this rule.
      (b) Except as law may otherwise expressly permit, a lawyer having information that the lawyer knows is confidential government information about a person acquired when the lawyer was a public officer or employee, may not represent a private client whose interests are adverse to that person in a matter in which the information could be used to the material disadvantage of that person.  A firm with which that lawyer is associated may undertake or continue representation in the matter only if the disqualified lawyer is screened from any participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom.
      (c) Except as law may otherwise expressly permit, a lawyer serving as a public officer or employee shall not:
      (1) participate in a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially while in private practice or nongovernmental employment, unless under applicable law no one is, or by lawful delegation may be authorized to act in the lawyer’s stead in the matter; or
      (2) negotiate for private employment with any person who is involved as a party or as attorney for a party in a matter in which the lawyer is participating personally and substantially, except that a lawyer serving as law clerk to a judge, other adjudicative officer or arbitrator may negotiate for private employment as permitted by Rule 1.12(b) and subject to the conditions stated in Rule 1.12(b).
      (d) As used in this Rule, the term “matter” includes:
      (1) any judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, investigation, charge, accusation, arrest or other particular matter involving a specific party or parties; and
      (2) any other matter covered by the conflict of interest rules of the appropriate government agency.
      (e) As used in this Rule, the term “confidential government information” means information which has been obtained under governmental authority and which, at the time this rule is applied, the government is prohibited by law from disclosing to the public or has a legal privilege not to disclose, and which is not otherwise available to the public.

Rule 1.12.  Former judge or arbitrator.
      (a) Except as stated in paragraph (d), a lawyer shall not represent anyone in connection with a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially as a judge or other adjudicative officer, arbitrator or law clerk to such a person, unless all parties to the proceeding consent after consultation
      (b) A lawyer shall not negotiate for employment with any person who is involved as a party or as attorney for a party in a matter in which the lawyer is participating personally and substantially as a judge or other adjudicative officer, or arbitrator.  A lawyer serving as a law clerk to a judge, other adjudicative officer or arbitrator may negotiate for employment with a party or attorney involved in a matter in which the clerk is participating personally and substantially, but only after the lawyer has notified the judge, other adjudicative officer or arbitrator.
      (c) If a lawyer is disqualified by paragraph (a), no lawyer in a firm with which that lawyer is associated may knowingly undertake or continue representation in the matter unless:
      (1) the disqualified lawyer is screened from any participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom; and
      (2) written notice is promptly given to the appropriate tribunal to enable it to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this rule.
      (d) An arbitrator selected as a partisan of a party in a multimember arbitration panel is not prohibited from subsequently representing that party.

Rule 1.13.  Organization as a client.
      (a) A lawyer employed or retained by an organization represents the organization acting through its duly authorized constituents.
       (b) If a lawyer for an organization knows that an officer, employee or other person associated with the organization is engaged in action, intends to act or refuses to act in a matter related to the representation that is a violation of a legal obligation to the organization, or a violation of law which reasonably might be imputed to the organization, and is likely to result in substantial injury to the organization, the lawyer shall proceed as is reasonably necessary in the best interest of the organization.  In determining how to proceed, the lawyer shall give due consideration to the seriousness of the violation and its consequences, the scope and nature of the lawyer’s representation, the responsibility in the organization and the apparent motivation of the person involved, the policies of the organization concerning such matters and any other relevant considerations.  Any measures taken shall be designed to minimize disruption of the organization and the risk of revealing information relating to the representation to persons outside the organization.  Such measures may include among others:
      (1) asking reconsideration of the matter;
      (2) advising that a separate legal opinion on the matter be sought for presentation to appropriate authority in the organization; and
       (3) referring the matter to higher authority in the organization, including, if warranted by the seriousness of the matter, referral to the highest authority that can act in behalf of the organization as determined by applicable law.
      (c) If, despite the lawyer’s efforts in accordance with paragraph (b), the highest authority that can act on behalf of the organization insists upon action, or a refusal to act, that is clearly a violation of law and is likely to result in substantial injury to the organization, the lawyer may resign in accordance with Rule 1.16.
      (d) In dealing with an organizations directors, officers, employees, members, shareholders or other constituents, a lawyer shall explain the identity of the client when it is apparent that the organization’s interests are adverse to those of the constituents with whom the lawyer is dealing.
       (e) A lawyer representing an organization may also represent any of its directors, officers, employees, members, shareholders or other constituents, subject to the provisions of Rule 1.7.  If the organization’s consent to the dual representation is required by Rule 1.7, the consent shall be given by an appropriate official of the organization other than the individual who is to be represented, or by the shareholders.

Rule 1.14.  Client under a disability.
      (a) When a client’s ability to make adequately considered decisions in connection with the representation is impaired, whether because of minority, mental disability or for some other reason, the lawyer shall, as far as reasonably possible, maintain a normal client-lawyer relationship with the client.
      (b) A lawyer may seek the appointment of a guardian or take other protective action with respect to a client, only when the lawyer reasonably believes the client cannot adequately act in the client’s own interest.

Rule 1.15.  Safekeeping property.
      (a) A lawyer shall hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer’s possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer’s own property. Funds shall be kept in a separate account designated as a “client’s trust account” in an institution whose accounts are federally insured and maintained in the state where the lawyer’s office is situated, or in a separate account elsewhere with the consent of the client or third person. Other property shall be identified as such and appropriately safeguarded. Complete records of such account funds and other property shall be kept by the lawyer and shall be preserved for a period of five years after termination of the representation.
       (b) Upon receiving funds or other property in which a client or third person has an interest, a lawyer shall promptly notify the client or third person. Except as stated in this rule or otherwise permitted by law or by agreement with the client, a lawyer shall promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive and, upon request by the client or third person, shall promptly render a full accounting regarding such property.
      (c) When in the course of representation a lawyer is in possession of property in which both the lawyer and another person claim interests, the property shall be kept separate by the lawyer until there is an accounting and severance of their interests. If a dispute arises concerning their respective interests, the portion in dispute shall be kept separate by the lawyer until the dispute is resolved.
       (d) IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts). A lawyer who receives client funds that are nominal in amount or are expected to be held for a brief period shall establish and maintain a pooled, interest or dividend-bearing account for the deposit of such funds, at an eligible financial institution which carries federal deposition insurance, in compliance with the following provisions:
      (1) The account shall include only such client funds that are so nominal in amount or are expected to be held for such a brief period of time such that the funds cannot earn income for the client in excess of the costs of securing that income. In determining whether a client’s funds can earn income in excess of costs, the lawyer or law firm shall consider the following factors:
      (i) The amount of the funds to be deposited;
      (ii) The expected duration of the deposit, including the likelihood of delay in the matter for which the funds are held;
      (iii) The rates of interest or yield at financial institutions where the funds are to be deposited;
      (iv) The cost of establishing and administering non-IOLTA accounts for the client’s benefit, including service charges, the costs of the lawyer’s services, and the costs of preparing any tax reports required for income accruing to the client’s benefit;
      (v) The capability of financial institutions, lawyers or law firms to calculate and pay income to individual clients;
      (vi) Any other circumstances that affect the ability of the client’s funds to earn a net return for the client.
      (2) The lawyer shall review the account at reasonable intervals to determine whether circumstances warrant further action with respect to the funds of any client.
      (3) Lawyers may only establish and maintain an IOLTA Trust Account at an eligible financial institution. To qualify as eligible, the financial institution must:
      (i) be certified by the West Virginia State Bar to be in compliance with the Rule; and
      (ii) be a federally-insured and state or federally-regulated financial institution authorized by federal or state law to do business in West Virginia, or an open-end investment company registered with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission and authorized by federal or state law to do business in West Virginia.
      (4) Participation by banks, savings and loan associations, and investment companies in the IOLTA program is voluntary. An eligible financial institution that elects to offer and maintain IOLTA accounts shall meet the following requirements:
      (i) The eligible financial institution shall pay no less on its IOLTA accounts than the highest interest rate or dividend generally available from the institution to its non-IOLTA customers when the IOLTA account meets or exceeds the same minimum balance or other eligibility qualifications on its non-IOLTA accounts. Interest and dividends shall be calculated in accordance with the eligible institution’s standard practices for non-IOLTA customers. In determining the highest interest rate or dividend generally available from the institution to its non-IOLTA customers, an eligible institution may consider, in addition to the balance in the IOLTA account, factors customarily considered by the institution when setting interest rates or dividends for its non-IOLTA customers, provided that such factors do not discriminate between IOLTA accounts and non-IOLTA accounts and that these factors do not include the fact that the account is an IOLTA account. Nothing in this rule shall preclude an eligible institution from paying a higher interest rate or dividend than described above or electing to waive any fees and services charges on an IOLTA account.
       (ii) An eligible institution may choose to pay the highest interest or dividend rate in (d)(4)(I), less allowable reasonable fees as set forth in (d)(4)(iv), if any, on an IOLTA account in lieu of establishing it as a higher rate product.
      (iii) The IOLTA Trust Account shall be an interest or dividend-bearing account. Interest- or dividend-bearing account means: (a) an interest-bearing checking account; (b) a check account paying preferred interest rates, such as money market or indexed rates; (c) a government interest-bearing checking account such as accounts used for municipal deposits; (d) a business checking account with an automated investment sweep feature which is a daily (overnight) financial institution repurchase agreement or an open-end money market fund; or (e) any other suitable interest or dividend-bearing account offered by the institution to its non-IOLTA customers. A daily financial institution repurchase agreement must be fully collateralized by or invested in Securities and may be established only with an eligible institution that is well-capitalized or adequately capitalized as those terms are defined by applicable federal statutes and regulations. An open-end moneymarket fund must be invested in U.S. Government Securities and must hold itself out as a money-market fund as that term is defined by federal statutes and regulations under the Investment Company Act of 1940, and, at the time of the investment, must have total assets of at least $250,000,000. United States Government Securities are defined to include debt securities of Government Sponsored Enterprises, such as, but not limited to, debt securities of, or backed by, the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Government National Mortgage Association, and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.
      (iv) Allowable reasonable fees are the only fees and service charges that may be deducted by an eligible institution from interest or dividends earned on an IOLTA account. Allowable reasonable fees are defined as per check charges, per deposit charges, a fee in lieu of minimum balances, sweep fees, FDIC insurance fees, and a reasonable IOLTA account administrative fee. Allowable reasonable fees may be deducted from interest or dividends on an IOLTA account only at the rates and in accordance with the customary practices of the eligible institution for non-IOLTA customers. No fees or service charges shall be collected from the principal balance deposited in an IOLTA account. Any fees and service charges other than allowable reasonable fees shall be the sole responsibility of, and may only be charged to, the lawyer or law firm maintaining the IOLTA account, including bank overdraft fees and fees for check returns for insufficient funds. Fees and service charges in excess of the interest or dividends earned on one IOLTA account for any period shall not be taken from interest or dividends earned on any other IOLTA account or accounts or from the principal of any IOLTA account.
      (v) As an alternative to the rates required under (d)(4)(I), an eligible institution may choose to pay on IOLTA accounts an amount equal to 65% of the Federal Funds Target Rate as reported in the Wall Street Journal on the first calendar day of the month. The amount is net of all allowable reasonable fees under (d)(4)(iv). This initial benchmark rate of 65% of the Federal Funds Target Rate may be adjusted once a year by the West Virginia State Bar, upon 90 days’ written notice to financial institutions participating in the IOLTA program at which time financial institutions may elect to pay the new benchmark amount or may choose among the other options at (d)(4)(i).
      (5) The lawyer shall direct the depository institution:
      (i) To remit interest or dividends, on at least a quarterly basis, net of allowable reasonable service charges or fees, if any, to the West Virginia State Bar; and
      (ii) To transmit with each remittance to the West Virginia State Bar, a statement in any form and through any manner of transmission approved by the State Bar showing the name of the lawyer or law firm on whose account the remittance is sent and the amount of the remittance attributable to each, the account number for each account, the rate and type of interest or dividend, the amount and type of allowable reasonable service charges or fees; and the average account balance for the reporting period; and
      (iii) To transmit to the depositing lawyer or law firm a report in accordance with the institution’s normal procedures for reporting to depositors.
      (6) An attorney or the law firm with which the attorney is associated may be exempt from the requirements of this Rule if:
      (i) the nature of the attorney’s or law firm’s practice is such that the attorney or law firm never receives client funds that would require a Trust Account;
      (ii) the attorney is a full-time judge, government attorney, military attorney, or inactive attorney; or
      (iii) The West Virginia State Bar’s Board of Governors, having received a petition requesting an exemption, may exempt the attorney or law firm from participation in the program for a period of no more than 2 years when service charges on the attorney’s or law firm’s Trust Account equal or exceed any interest generated or when compliance with the Rule would create an undue hardship on the lawyer and would be extremely impractical.
      (e) A lawyer may not be charged with any breach of the Rules of Professional Conduct or other ethical violation with regard to either the good faith determination of whether client funds are nominal in the amount or are expected to be held for a brief period or the failure to establish and maintain a pooled, interest or dividend-bearing, federally-insured depository account for the deposit of such funds in accordance with Rule 1.15(d).
      (f) All interest transmitted to the West Virginia State Bar, shall be distributed by that entity as follows: (1) an annual fee not to exceed thirty thousand dollars shall be retained by the West Virginia State Bar, for administration of the fund, with a detailed annual accounting of services performed in consideration for such fee to be filed for public inspection with the Supreme Court of Appeals; (2) special grants not to exceed fifteen percent of the fund’s annual receipts to WV CASA Network, coordinating agency for court-appointed special advocate programs, in the amount of 43.5 percent of special grant funds available; to the West Virginia Fund for Law in the Public Interest, Inc., in the amount of 19.3 percent of special grant funds available; to the Appalachian Center for Law and Public Service, in the amount of 7.72 percent of special grant funds available; to the Elder Law Program of the North Central West Virginia Legal Aid Society, Inc., in the amount of 24.125 percent of special grant funds available; and to the ChildLaw Services of Mercer County 5.355 percent of special grant funds available; and (3) Seventy-five percent (75%) of the remaining funds to Legal Aid of West Virginia and twenty-five percent (25%) of the remaining funds to Mountain State Justice or such other method of distribution as may hereinafter be adopted by order of the Supreme Court of Appeals. Any funds distributed by the West Virginia State Bar, pursuant to this subdivision shall not be used by the recipient organization to support any lobbying activities.

Rule 1.16.  Declining or terminating representation.
      (a) Except as stated in paragraph (c), a lawyer shall not represent a client or, where representation has commenced, shall withdraw from the representation of a client if:
       (1) the representation will result in violation of the rules of professional conduct or other law;
      (2) the lawyer’s physical or mental condition materially impairs the lawyer’s ability to represent the client; or
      (3) the lawyer is discharged.
      (b) Except as stated in paragraph (c), a lawyer may withdraw from representing a client if withdrawal can be accomplished without material adverse effect on the interests of the client, or if:
       (1) the client persists in a course of action involving the lawyer’s services that the lawyer reasonably believes is criminal or fraudulent;
      (2) the client has used the lawyer’s services to perpetrate a crime or fraud;
      (3) the client insists upon pursuing an objective that the lawyer considers repugnant or imprudent;
      (4) the client fails substantially to fulfill an obligation to the lawyer regarding the lawyer’s services and has been given reasonable warning that the lawyer will withdraw unless the obligation is fulfilled;
      (5) the representation will result in an unreasonable financial burden on the lawyer or has been rendered unreasonably difficult by the client; or
      (6) other good cause for withdrawal exists.
      (c)When ordered to do so by a tribunal, a lawyer shall continue representation notwithstanding good cause for terminating the representation.
      (d) Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client’s interests, such as giving reasonable notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled and refunding any advance payment of fee that has not been earned.  The lawyer may retain papers relating to the client to the extent permitted by other law.

Rule 1.17.  Sale of law practice.
       A lawyer or law firm may sell or purchase a law practice, including good will, if the following conditions are satisfied:
       (a) The seller ceases to engage in the private practice of law in West Virginia;
       (b) The practice is sold as an entirety to another lawyer or law firm;
      (c) Actual written notice is given to each of the seller’s clients regarding:
      (1) the proposed sale;
       (2) the terms of any proposed change in the fee arrangement authorized by paragraph (d);
      (3) the client’s right to retain other counsel or take possession of the file; and
(4) the fact that the client’s consent to the sale will be presumed if the client does not take any action or does not otherwise object within ninety (90) days of receipt of the notice.  If a client cannot be given notice, the representation of that client may be transferred to the purchaser only upon entry of an order so authorizing by a court having jurisdiction.  The seller may disclose to the court in camera information relating to the representation only to the extent necessary to obtain an order authorizing the transfer of a file.
      (d) The fees charged clients shall not be increased by reason of the sale.  The purchaser may, however, refuse to undertake representation unless the client consents to pay the purchaser fees at a rate not exceeding the fees charged by the purchaser for rendering substantially similar services prior to the initiation of the purchase negotiations.