Do the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct permit a lawyer to include in an agreement with a client the client’s waiver of rights under Texas statutes providing civil remedies for violations of laws against barratry?
May a lawyer settle with a client who is not represented by other legal counsel a claim under Texas statutes providing civil remedies for barratry violations?
Must a lawyer who has been sued under the Texas statutes providing civil remedies for barratry violations report such fact to the State Bar of Texas?
In 2011, the Texas Legislature amended section 82.065 of the Texas Government Code to provide that any contract for legal services is voidable by the client if the contract is procured by violating Texas law or the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct regarding barratry by lawyers or other persons. The Legislature also added section 82.0651 of the Texas Government Code, which provides civil liability for violating laws against barratry. Effective September 1, 2013, Sections 82.065 and 82.0651 of the Texas Government Code were amended in certain respects. In this opinion, sections 82.065 and 82.0651 of the Texas Government Code as currently in effect are collectively referred to as the “Barratry Remedies Provisions.”
A Texas lawyer proposes to enter into an agreement with a prospective client in which the client would waive any and all rights under the Barratry Remedies Provisions.
In the event that a client did not validly waive rights against the lawyer under the Barratry Remedies Provisions and a claim is asserted against the lawyer under these provisions, the lawyer wishes to negotiate a settlement of the claim with the client who is not represented by another lawyer.
Tex. Comm. On Professional Ethics, Op. 637 (2013)