February 18, 2019

Rule 1.5 of Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct Amended in Rule Change 2019(05)

On January 31, 2019, the Colorado Supreme Court adopted Rule Change 2019(05), amending Rule 1.5, “Fees,” of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 1.5 was amended by the addition of a subsection (h), which deals with flat fees:

(h) A “flat fee” is a fee for specified legal services for which the client agrees to pay a fixed amount, regardless of the time or effort involved.

(1) The terms of a flat fee shall be communicated in writing before or within a reasonable time after commencing the representation and shall include the following information:

(i) A description of the services the lawyer agrees to perform;

(ii) The amount to be paid to the lawyer and the timing of payment for the services to be performed;

(iii) If any portion of the flat fee is to be earned by the lawyer before conclusion of the representation, the amount to be earned upon the completion of specified tasks or the occurrence of specified events; and

(iv) The amount or the method of calculating the fees the lawyer earns, if any, should the representation terminate before completion of the specified tasks or the occurrence of specified events.

(2) If all or any portion of a flat fee is paid in advance of being earned and a dispute arises about whether the lawyer has earned all or part of the flat fee, the lawyer shall comply with Rule 1.15A(c) with respect to any portion of the flat fee that is in dispute.

(3) The form Flat Fee Agreement following the comment to this Rule may be used for flat fee agreements and shall be sufficient. The authorization of this form shall not prevent the use of other forms consistent with this Rule.

A new form Flat Fee Agreement was also added in the rule change.

A redline and clean version of Rule Change 2019(05) is available here. For all of the court’s adopted and proposed rule changes, click here.

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