There are many cases where a business entity, or even an individual, assumes the obligation to pay attorneys` fees on behalf of another person. Companies often commit to paying the legal fees of current or former employees. For example, a company may find that the value of a new employee is worth paying the defense costs in a complaint filed by the worker`s former employer for breach of a non-compete agreement. A parent company may agree to pay attorneys` fees to a subsidiary involved in a dispute that may adversely affect the interests of the parent company, or a company that has the purpose of investigating the state may offer to make defense costs available to its employees, which may also be objectives. A similar dynamic also occurs when friends or relatives agree to pay a loved one`s attorney`s fees, normally in criminal proceedings or divorce. The short answer is yes, you can. However, if one third party wishes to pay the lawyer`s fees of another, several ethical issues need to be addressed. NHRPC 1.8(f) describes the three criteria that must be met before they can accept payments from third parties.1 First, the customer must give informed consent. Second, there must be no interference with the lawyer`s independence from the client`s professional judgment or lawyer`s relationship.
Third, customer presentation information is protected in accordance with NHRPC 1.6. Actual or potential conflicts of interest raised by dual representation should be dealt with in the usual way when the payer is also a client, cf. MPR 1.7, but even if the payer is not a customer, you need to ask yourself if the financial agreement – that is. The fact that the payer pays the client`s attorney`s fees – itself generates a dynamic that prevents your zealous representation or the exercise of your independent professional judgment. This may be the case, for example, where the payer shows a financial interest in minimising costs. Consider indicating in your agreement with the payer that the fact that the payer agrees to pay the lawyer`s fees borne by the client does not make the payer himself a client and that the payer does not have the right to use the lawyer in cases where the lawyer represents the client. The above points are some issues that impact client identification and ensure that a cost arrangement identifies who is required to pay attorneys` fees. It is important to take the time not only to correctly identify the client, but also to ensure that any agreement clearly states where the responsibility lies with regard to the payment of attorneys` fees. You must keep the client`s case confidential unless the client has consented to your disclosure of confidential information to third parties [section 3.3 of the Lawyers` Rules and subsection 3.03 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct]. Payment does not entitle the payer to provide information about the customer`s case, including future interim invoices or final accounts. However, it is advisable to provide the third-party payer with a receipt for the payment you received.
With regard to the conflict of interest, it may be taken into account that the clients conclude an agreement in which they waive any right in the event of a conflict. Care should be taken to receive such a waiver, as this may require the parties to seek independent legal advice and raises questions about the changing nature of the conflicts that may arise during the repairer.  It should be noted that the New Hampshire Ethics Committee has already addressed the issue of third-party payers in different contexts. Z.B. New Hampshire Ethics Opinions Annotated 1985-86/3 partially replaced by NH Opinion 1990-91/5 (payment by insurer for insured representation); New Hampshire Ethics Opinions Annotated 1988-89/17 (payment through a prepaid legal services program for legal services provided to a program participant); New Hampshire Ethics Opinions Annotated 1991-92/9 (payment by a non-profit corporation for the representation of individual members of the society); and New Hampshire Ethics Opinions Annotated 1989-90/9 (with respect to the rental of lawyers). . . . .