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Supreme Judicial Court Rules

Rules of Professional Conduct

Supreme Judicial Court Rules Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 5.6: Restrictions on right to practice

Effective Date: 07/01/2015
Updates: Adopted March 26, 2015, effective July 1, 2015


Trial Court Law Libraries

Rule 5.6

A lawyer shall not participate in offering or making: 

(a) a partnership, shareholders, operating, employment, or other similar type of agreement that restricts the right of a lawyer to practice after termination of the relationship, except an agreement concerning benefits upon retirement; or 

(b) an agreement in which a restriction on the lawyer’s right to practice is part of the settlement of a client controversy.


[1] An agreement restricting the right of lawyers to practice after leaving a firm not only limits their professional autonomy but also limits the freedom of clients to choose a lawyer. Paragraph (a) prohibits such agreements except for restrictions incident to provisions concerning retirement benefits for service with the firm. 

[2] Paragraph (b) prohibits a lawyer from agreeing not to represent other persons in connection with settling a claim on behalf of a client. 

[3] This Rule does not apply to prohibit restrictions that may be included in the terms of the sale of a law practice pursuant to Rule 1.17.



Updates: Adopted March 26, 2015, effective July 1, 2015


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