RULE 31. Notice to Clients, Adverse Parties, and other Counsel

(a)      Recipients of Notice; Contents. Unless otherwise ordered by a Single Justice, within 30 days after the date of the order imposing discipline, a respondent who has been disbarred, placed on interim suspension, or suspended shall so notify in writing all clients represented in pending matters; any co-counsel in pending matters; and any opposing counsel in pending matters, or in the absence of opposing counsel, the adverse parties, of the order of the Single Justice and that the lawyer is therefore disqualified to act as lawyer after the effective date of the order. The notice to be given to the lawyer(s) for an adverse party, or, in the absence of opposing counsel, the adverse parties, shall state the place of residence of the client of the respondent.

(b)      Special Notice. The Court may direct the issuance of notice to such financial institutions or others as may be necessary to protect the interests of clients or other members of the public.

(c)      Duty to Maintain Records. The respondent shall keep and maintain records of the steps taken to accomplish the requirements of Rule 31(a) and 31(b), and shall make those records available to Bar Counsel on request.

(d)      Return of Client Property. The respondent shall deliver to all clients being represented in pending matters any papers or other property to which they are entitled and shall notify them and any counsel representing them of a suitable time and place where the papers and other property may be obtained, calling attention to any urgency for obtaining the papers or other property.

(e)      Refund of Fees. Within 10 days after entry of the order imposing disbarment or suspension, the respondent shall refund any part of any fees paid in advance that has not been earned.

(f)      Withdrawal from Representation. Unless otherwise ordered, in the event the client does not obtain another lawyer before the effective date of the disbarment or suspension, it shall be the responsibility of the respondent to move in the court or agency in which the proceeding is pending for leave to withdraw. The respondent shall in that event file with the court, agency or tribunal before which the litigation is pending a copy of the notice to opposing counsel or adverse parties.

(g)      New Representation Prohibited. Prior to the effective date of the order, if not immediately in effect, the respondent shall not undertake any new legal matters between service of the order and the effective date of the discipline. The respondent shall take such action as is necessary to cause the removal of any indicia of lawyer, counselor at law, or similar title.

(h)      Affidavit Filed with Bar Counsel. Within 10 days after the effective date of the disbarment or suspension order, the respondent shall file with Bar Counsel an affidavit showing

(1)    compliance with the provisions of the order and with this rule;

(2)    all other state, federal and administrative jurisdictions to which the lawyer is admitted to practice; and

(3)    residence or other addresses where communications may thereafter be directed.


Reporter’s Notes – June 2015

Rule 31(a) is similar to Model Rule 27(A) but the committee felt that such notice was appropriate and normal to occur within 30 days, not 10 days as provided in Model Rule 27(A). Former Maine Bar Rule 7.3(i) contains similar notice requirements.

Rule 31(b) is identical to Model Rule 27(B) and has no equivalent former Maine Bar Rule.

Rule 31(c) is identical to Model Rule 27(C). It has no equivalent former Maine Bar Rule, but similar duties are required under Maine Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(f) and 1.16(d).

Rule 31(d) is identical to Model Rule 27(D). It has no equivalent former Maine Bar Rule, but Maine Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(f) and 1.16(d) have similar requirements.

Rule 31(e) is identical to Model Rule 27(E) with no direct equivalent former Maine Bar Rule. However, Maine Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(f) and 1.16(d) also require the return of unearned fees.

Rule 31(f) is identical to Model Rule 27(F). It has no direct former Maine Bar Rule equivalent but similar duties are required by Maine Rules of Professional Conduct 1.16(d).

Rule 31(g) is very similar to Model Rule 27(G) and has similar requirements as contained in Maine Bar Rule 7.3(i)(1)(A).

Rule 31(h) is similar to Model Rule 27(H), but provides for the recipient of the lawyer’s affidavit to be the Bar Counsel, not the Court. It has no exact equivalent in the former Maine Bar Rules.