N.M. R. Prof'l. Cond. 16-602

As amended through September 28, 2021
Rule 16-602 - Accepting appointments

A lawyer shall not seek to avoid appointment by a tribunal to represent a person except for good cause, such as:

A. representing the client is likely to result in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law;
B. representing the client is likely to result in an unreasonable financial burden on the lawyer; or
C. the client or the cause is so repugnant to the lawyer as to be likely to impair the client-lawyer relationship or the lawyer's ability to represent the client.

N.M. R. Prof'l. Cond. 16-602

Committee commentary. -

[1] A lawyer ordinarily is not obliged to accept a client whose character or cause the lawyer regards as repugnant. The lawyer's freedom to select clients is, however, qualified. All lawyers have a responsibility to assist in providing pro bono publico service. See Rule 16-601 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct. An individual lawyer fulfills this responsibility by accepting a fair share of unpopular matters or indigent or unpopular clients. A lawyer may also be subject to appointment by a court to serve unpopular clients or persons unable to afford legal services.

Appointed Counsel

[2] For good cause a lawyer may seek to decline an appointment to represent a person who cannot afford to retain counsel or whose cause is unpopular. Good cause exists if the lawyer could not handle the matter competently, see Rule 16-101 NMRA of the Rules of Professional Conduct, or if undertaking the representation would result in an improper conflict of interest, for example, when the client or the cause is so repugnant to the lawyer as to be likely to impair the client-lawyer relationship or the lawyer's ability to represent the client. A lawyer may also seek to decline an appointment if acceptance would be unreasonably burdensome, for example when it would impose a financial sacrifice so great as to be unjust.

[3] An appointed lawyer has the same obligations to the client as retained counsel, including the obligations of loyalty and confidentiality, and is subject to the same limitations on the client-lawyer relationship, such as the obligation to refrain from assisting the client in violation of the rules.

[Adopted by Supreme Court Order No. 08-8300-29, effective November 3, 2008.]

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ANNOTATIONS Compiler's notes. - The old ABA Comment was replaced by the 2008 committee commentary.