Colorado Supreme Court permits some attorneys to give gifts to clients in limited circumstances

The Colorado Supreme Court recently amended Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 1.8 to authorize a lawyer representing an indigent client without payment of a fee, a lawyer representing an indigent client without payment of a fee through a nonprofit legal services or public interest organization, a lawyer representing an indigent client without payment of a fee through a law school clinical or pro bono program, and a lawyer representing an indigent client or the interests of a child and youth through employment or contracts with a state agency to give a client modest gifts. Modest gifts include contributions for food, rent, transportation, medicine, or similar necessities. Limitations on such gift-giving indicate that lawyers “shall not promise, assure or imply the availability of such gifts prior to retention or as an inducement to continue the client-lawyer relationship after retention; seek or accept reimbursement from the client, a relative of the client or anyone affiliated with the client; or publicize or advertise to prospective clients a willingness to provide such gifts.”

The amended rule and helpful commentary are available at this link.