April 13, 2020

Ethics 2000 - February 2002 Report


RULE 1.11: SUCCESSIVE SPECIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST FOR FORMER

AND CURRENT GOVERNMENT OFFICERS AND PRIVATE EMPLOYMENT EMPLOYEES

(a) Except as law may otherwise expressly permit, a lawyer who has formerly served as a public officer or employee of the government:

(1) is subject to Rule 1.9(c); and

(2) shall not otherwise represent a private client in connection with a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially as a public officer or employee, unless the appropriate government agency consents after consultation gives its informed consent, confirmed in writing, to the representation.

(b) No When a lawyer is disqualified from representation under paragraph (a), no lawyer in a firm with which that lawyer is associated may knowingly undertake or continue representation in such a matter unless:

(1) the disqualified lawyer is timely screened from any participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom; and

(2) written notice is promptly given to the appropriate government agency to enable it to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this rule.

(b) (c) Except as law may otherwise expressly permit, a lawyer having information that the lawyer knows is confidential government information about a person acquired when the lawyer was a public officer or employee, may not represent a private client whose interests are adverse to that person in a matter in which the information could be used to the material disadvantage of that person. As used in this Rule, the term "confidential government information" means information that has been obtained under governmental authority and which, at the time this Rule is applied, the government is prohibited by law from disclosing to the public or has a legal privilege not to disclose and which is not otherwise available to the public. A firm with which that lawyer is associated may undertake or continue representation in the matter only if the disqualified lawyer is timely screened from any participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom.

(c) (d) Except as law may otherwise expressly permit, a lawyer currently serving as a public officer or employee :

(1) is subject to Rules 1.7 and 1.9; and

(2) shall not:

(1) (i) participate in a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially while in private practice or nongovernmental employment, unless under applicable law no one is, or by lawful delegation may be, authorized to act in the lawyer's stead in the matter the appropriate government agency gives its informed consent, confirmed in writing; or

(2) (ii) negotiate for private employment with any person who is involved as a party or as lawyer for a party in a matter in which the lawyer is participating personally and substantially, except that a lawyer serving as a law clerk to a judge, other adjudicative officer or arbitrator may negotiate for private employment as permitted by Rule 1.12(b) and subject to the conditions stated in Rule 1.12(b).

(d) (e) As used in this Rule, the term "matter" includes:

(1) any judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, investigation, charge, accusation, arrest or other particular matter involving a specific party or parties, and

(2) any other matter covered by the conflict of interest rules of the appropriate government agency.

(e) As used in this Rule, the term "confidential government information" means information which has been obtained under governmental authority and which, at the time this rule is applied, the government is prohibited by law from disclosing to the public or has a legal privilege not to disclose, and which is not otherwise available to the public.

Comment

[1] This Rule prevents a lawyer from exploiting public office for the advantage of a private client. It is a counterpart of Rule 1.10(b), which applies to lawyers moving from one firm to another.

[2] [1] A lawyer representing a government agency, whether employed or specially retained by the government, who has served or is currently serving as a public officer or employee is personally subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct, including the prohibition against representing adverse interests concurrent conflicts of interest stated in Rule 1.7 and the protections afforded former clients in Rule 1.9. In addition, such a lawyer is may be subject to Rule 1.11 and to statutes and government regulations regarding conflict of interest. Such statutes and regulations may circumscribe the extent to which the government agency may give consent under this Rule. See Rule 1.0(e) for the definition of informed consent.

[2] Paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2) and (d)(1) restate the obligations of an individual lawyer who has served or is currently serving as an officer or employee of the government toward a former government or private client. Rule 1.10 is not applicable to the conflicts of interest addressed by this Rule. Rather, paragraph (b) sets forth a special imputation rule for former government lawyers that provides for screening and notice. Because of the special problems raised by imputation within a government agency, paragraph (d) does not impute the conflicts of a lawyer currently serving as an officer or employee of the government to other associated government officers or employees, although ordinarily it will be prudent to screen such lawyers.

[3] Paragraphs (a)(2) and (d)(2) apply regardless of whether a lawyer is adverse to a former client and are thus designed not only to protect the former client, but also to prevent a lawyer from exploiting public office for the advantage of another client. For example, a lawyer who has pursued a claim on behalf of the government may not pursue the same claim on behalf of a later private client after the lawyer has left government service, except when authorized to do so by the government agency under paragraph (a). Similarly, a lawyer who has pursued a claim on behalf of a private client may not pursue the claim on behalf of the government, except when authorized to do so by paragraph (d). As with paragraphs (a)(1) and (d)(1), Rule 1.10 is not applicable to the conflicts of interest addressed by these paragraphs.

[3] [4] Where This Rule represents a balancing of interests. On the one hand, where the successive clients are a public government agency and a private another client, public or private, the risk exists that power or discretion vested in that agency public authority might be used for the special benefit of a private the other client. A lawyer should not be in a position where benefit to a private the other client might affect performance of the lawyer's professional functions on behalf of the government public authority. Also, unfair advantage could accrue to the private other client by reason of access to confidential government information about the client's adversary obtainable only through the lawyer's government service. However On the other hand, the rules governing lawyers presently or formerly employed by a government agency should not be so restrictive as to inhibit transfer of employment to and from the government. The government has a legitimate need to attract qualified lawyers as well as to maintain high ethical standards. Thus a former government lawyer is disqualified only from particular matters in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially. The provisions for screening and waiver in paragraph (b) are necessary to prevent the disqualification rule from imposing too severe a deterrent against entering public service. The limitation of disqualification in paragraphs (a)(2) and (d)(2) to matters involving a specific party or parties, rather than extending disqualification to all substantive issues on which the lawyer worked, serves a similar function.

[4] [5] When the client is an agency of a lawyer has been employed by one government agency and then moves to a second government agency, it may be appropriate to treat that second agency should be treated as a private another client for purposes of this Rule if the lawyer thereafter represents an agency of another government, as when a lawyer represents is employed by a city and subsequently is employed by a federal agency. However, because the conflict of interest is governed by paragraph (d), the latter agency is not required to screen the lawyer as paragraph (b) requires a law firm to do. The question of whether two government agencies should be regarded as the same or different clients for conflict of interest purposes is beyond the scope of these Rules. See Rule 1.13 Comment [6].

[5] [6] Paragraphs (a)(1) and (b) and (c) contemplate a screening arrangement. See Rule 1.0(k) (requirements for screening procedures). These paragraphs do not prohibit a lawyer from receiving a salary or partnership share established by prior independent agreement . They prohibit , but that lawyer may not receive compensation directly relating the lawyer's compensation to the fee in the matter in which the lawyer is disqualified.

[7] Notice, including a description of the screened lawyer's prior representation and of the screening procedures employed, generally should be given as soon as practicable after the need for screening becomes apparent.

[6] Paragraph (a)(2) does not require that a lawyer give notice to the government agency at a time when premature disclosure would injure the client; a requirement for premature disclosure might preclude engagement of the lawyer. Such notice is, however, required to be given as soon as practicable in order that the government agency will have a reasonable opportunity to ascertain that the lawyer is complying with Rule 1.11 and to take appropriate action if it believes the lawyer is not complying.

[7] [8] Paragraph (b) (c) operates only when the lawyer in question has knowledge of the information, which means actual knowledge; it does not operate with respect to information that merely could be imputed to the lawyer.

[8] [9] Paragraphs (a) and (c) (d) do not prohibit a lawyer from jointly representing a private party and a government agency when doing so is permitted by Rule 1.7 and is not otherwise prohibited by law.

[9] Paragraph (c) does not disqualify other lawyers in the agency with which the lawyer in question has become associated.

[10] For purposes of paragraph (e) of this Rule, a "matter" may continue in another form. In determining whether two particular matters are the same, the lawyer should consider the extent to which the matters involve the same basic facts, the same or related parties, and the time elapsed.

Model Rule 1.11

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

TEXT:

1. Change caption to read "Special Conflicts of Interest for Former and Current Government Officers and Employees"

The change in caption reflects the fact that the Rule has traditionally been applied not only to lawyers moving from government service to private practice (and vice versa) but also to lawyers moving from one government agency to another.

2. Paragraph (a): Clarify that individual lawyer who formerly served as public officer or government employee is subject only to this Rule and not to Rule 1.9

There has been disagreement whether individual lawyers who have served as government officials or employees are subject to Rule 1.9 regarding their obligations to former clients or whether their obligations under Rule 1.11(a) are exclusive. The question is an important one, for the individual lawyer, for the lawyer’s firm, and for the government. The Commission decided that representation adverse to a former government client is better determined under Rule 1.11(a), which also addresses representation in connection with any other matter in which the lawyer previously participated personally and substantially as a public officer or employee. In order not to inhibit transfer of employment to and from the government, the Commission believes that disqualification resulting from representation adverse to the former government client should be limited to particular matters in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially, which is also the standard for determining disqualification regarding from prior participation as a public officer or employee. The meaning of the term "matter" is clarified in new Comment [10].

Paragraph (a)(1) further clarifies that former government lawyers are subject to Rule 1.9(c) regarding the confidentiality of information relating to the former representation of a government client.

3. Paragraph (a): Delete "private"

The text of current Rule 1.11(a) suggests that the disqualification under that paragraph applies only when the lawyer moves from government service to private practice. Current Comment [4], however, states that "[w]hen the client is an agency of one government, that agency should be treated as a private client for purposes of this Rule." To avoid any possible confusion, the Commission determined that the text should be changed to conform to the Comment.

4. Paragraph (a)(2): Change from "consent after consultation" to "gives its informed consent to the representation"

The Commission is recommending that throughout the Rules the phrase "consent after consultation" be replaced with "gives informed consent," as defined in Rule 1.0(e). No change in substance is intended.

5. Paragraphs (a) and (d): Consent to be "confirmed in writing"

The Commission recommends requiring that the consent here be confirmed in writing, as with other conflict-of-interest Rules. "Confirmed in writing" is defined in Rule 1.0(b).

6. Paragraph (b): Clarify that conflicts under paragraph (a) – including former client conflicts – are not imputed to other associated lawyers when individual lawyer is properly screened

There is no change in the basic rule of imputation for situations governed under former Rule 1.11(a). The change is intended for situations that previously might have been governed by Rule 1.9 rather than 1.11(a). Although former client conflicts under Rule 1.9 are imputed to associated lawyers under Rule 1.10, this paragraph states clearly that when the conflict arises from the individually disqualified lawyer's service as a public officer or employee of the government, the conflict is governed by paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Rule and is not imputed if the lawyer is screened and the appropriate government agency is notified of the representation. The Commission believes that this result is necessary in order to continue to encourage lawyers to work in the public sector without fear that their service will unduly burden their future careers in the private sector. (Conflicts are not imputed under either the current or the proposed Rule when the move is from one government agency to another.)

7. Paragraph (b): Add scienter requirement

This change conforms this Rule to Rule 1.10, in which associated lawyers are not subject to discipline unless they "know" of the disqualification of their colleague.

8. Paragraphs (b)(1) and (c): Add "timely"

The Commission is recommending a definition of "screened" that includes a requirement that the lawyer be "timely" isolated from participation in the matter. Nevertheless, the Commission believes that the timeliness requirement is so important that it should appear in the text as well. This change is being recommended for all of the Rules that address screening. See Rules 1.12 and 1.18.

9. Paragraph (c): Include definition of "confidential government information" from current paragraph (e)

The material in what is now paragraph (c) is currently in paragraph (b). The Commission is recommending that current paragraph (e) be deleted and the definition of "confidential government information" be moved to paragraph (c), where the defined term is now used. This change is for purposes of clarification only, and no change in substance is intended.

10. Paragraph (d): Clarify relationship between this Rule and Rules 1.9 and 1.10

This paragraph is intended to clarify that individual lawyers may not undertake representation adverse to former clients when to do so would violate Rule 1.9, even when the representation was not in the same matter but rather was in a substantially related matter in which it is likely that the lawyer received confidential client information. These conflicts, however, are not imputed to lawyers associated in a government agency, even when formal screening mechanisms are not instituted. The lack of imputation presently applies to disqualifications under current Rule 1.11(c) but not necessarily to disqualifications of a current government lawyer under Rule 1.9, in which Rule 1.10 otherwise would apply. Screening is not required for public agencies because it may not be practical in some situations. Nevertheless, Comment [2] states the expectation that such lawyers will in fact be screened where it is practical to do so.

11. Paragraph (d)(1): Add reference to Rule 1.7

The Commission determined that it made sense to address in Rule 1.11, not only the imputation of former-client conflicts, but also the imputation of current conflicts of interest under Rule 1.7. As with former-client conflicts, the Commission decided that these conflicts should not be imputed to lawyers associated in a government agency, even when formal screening mechanisms are not instituted. Screening is not required in the disciplinary context because it may not be practical in some situations. Nevertheless, as with Rule 1.9 conflicts, Comment [2] states the expectation that such lawyers will in fact be screened where it is practicable to do so.

12. Paragraph (d)(2): Substitute "informed consent" of the client for exception where "under applicable law no one is, or by lawful delegation may be, authorized to act in the lawyer's stead in the matter"

The interests of the former client are protected under Rule 1.9, and, under that Rule, the former client may effectively consent to a subsequent adverse representation. The interests of the government agency itself are protected under paragraph (d)(2). These interests are similar to those protected under paragraph (a)(3), where the former government agency may effectively consent to the subsequent representation. If a government agency can effectively consent under paragraph (a)(3), the Commission sees no reason why it cannot similarly consent to representation otherwise prohibited by paragraph (d)(2). This would include (but not be limited to) situations where "under applicable law no one is, or by lawful delegation may be, authorized to act in the lawyer's stead in the matter."

13. Delete current paragraph (e)

As set forth above, the Commission proposes to delete current paragraph (e) and move its material unchanged to paragraph (c).

COMMENT:

[1] The Commission recommends deleting current Comment [1] and expanding upon the rationale for the Rule in Comment [4].

[1] The reference to Rule 1.9 has been deleted because the relationship between Rules 1.9 and 1.11 is now addressed in Comment [2]. The remainder of the changes are stylistic, and no change in substance is intended.

[2] This entirely new Comment explains the relationship between Rules 1.9, 1.10 and 1.11 as stated in the text of paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2) and (d)(1).

[3] This new Comment provides the rationale for the obligations of the individual lawyer under paragraphs (a)(3) and (d)(2), which are the obligations of former and present government lawyers aside from those imposed by Rule 1.9. Unlike Rule 1.9, these obligations are designed to protect against abuse of public office generally, not necessarily obligations owed to former clients of the lawyer.

[4] This Comment modifies slightly the provisions of current Comment [3]. First, it avoids using the term "private," given the applicability of the Rule to successive representation between distinct government agencies. It also makes minor stylistic changes and adds a sentence at the end to explain the rationale for limiting the disqualification in paragraphs (a)(3) and (d)(2) to a narrower range of "matter" than is typically covered by conflict-of-interest rules. (See paragraph (e).)

[5] The changes reflect the change in text to delete the reference to "private" clients. The last sentence explains how imputation works when the successive clients are both government agencies.

[6] This Comment provides a cross-reference to the screening requirements in Rule 1.0(k) and further elaborates on the prohibition on fee apportionment in language identical to that used in the Comment to the other screening Rules. See Rules 1.12 and 1.18.

[7] This entirely new Comment elaborates on the notice requirement, in language identical to that in the Comment to the other screening Rules. See Rules 1.12 and 1.18.

[6] This Comment has been deleted because its content is covered in Comment [7].

[9] The current Comment has been deleted. Its content now appears in Comment [2].

[10] This new Comment clarifies that two particular matters may constitute the same matter for purposes of paragraph (a)(2), depending on the circumstances. The language is drawn from but is not identical to the definition of "matter" as it is used in the federal conflicts of interest statute. Cf. 5 C.F.R. 2637.201(c)(4).

RULE 1.12: FORMER JUDGE OR , ARBITRATOR , MEDIATOR

OR OTHER THIRD-PARTY NEUTRAL

(a) Except as stated in paragraph (d), a lawyer shall not represent anyone in connection with a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially as a judge or other adjudicative officer , arbitrator or law clerk to such a person or as an arbitrator, mediator or other third-party neutral, unless all parties to the proceeding give informed consent after consultation , confirmed in writing.

(b) A lawyer shall not negotiate for employment with any person who is involved as a party or as lawyer for a party in a matter in which the lawyer is participating personally and substantially as a judge or other adjudicative officer or as an arbitrator , mediator or other third-party neutral. A lawyer serving as a law clerk to a judge , or other adjudicative officer or arbitrator may negotiate for employment with a party or lawyer involved in a matter in which the clerk is participating personally and substantially, but only after the lawyer has notified the judge , or other adjudicative officer or arbitrator.

(c) If a lawyer is disqualified by paragraph (a), no lawyer in a firm with which that lawyer is associated may knowingly undertake or continue representation in the matter unless:

(1) the disqualified lawyer is timely screened from any participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom; and

(2) written notice is promptly given to the parties and any appropriate tribunal to enable it them to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this rule.

(d) An arbitrator selected as a partisan of a party in a multimember arbitration panel is not prohibited from subsequently representing that party.

Comment

[1] This Rule generally parallels Rule 1.11. The term "personally and substantially" signifies that a judge who was a member of a multimember court, and thereafter left judicial office to practice law, is not prohibited from representing a client in a matter pending in the court, but in which the former judge did not participate. So also the fact that a former judge exercised administrative responsibility in a court does not prevent the former judge from acting as a lawyer in a matter where the judge had previously exercised remote or incidental administrative responsibility that did not affect the merits. Compare the Comment to Rule 1.11. The term "adjudicative officer" includes such officials as judges pro tempore, referees, special masters, hearing officers and other parajudicial officers, and also lawyers who serve as part-time judges. Compliance Canons A(2), B(2) and C of the Model Code of Judicial Conduct provide that a part-time judge, judge pro tempore or retired judge recalled to active service, may not "act as a lawyer in any proceeding in which he served as a judge or in any other proceeding related thereto." Although phrased differently from this Rule, those Rules correspond in meaning.

[2] Like former judges, lawyers who have served as arbitrators, mediators or other third-party neutrals may be asked to represent a client in a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially. This Rule forbids such representation unless all of the parties to the proceedings give their informed consent, confirmed in writing. See Rule 1.0(e) and (b). Other law or codes of ethics governing third-party neutrals may impose more stringent standards of personal or imputed disqualification. See Rule 2.4.

[3] Although lawyers who serve as third-party neutrals do not have information concerning the parties that is protected under Rule 1.6, they typically owe the parties an obligation of confidentiality under law or codes of ethics governing third-party neutrals. Thus, paragraph (c) provides that conflicts of the personally disqualified lawyer will be imputed to other lawyers in a law firm unless the conditions of this paragraph are met.

[4] Requirements for screening procedures are stated in Rule 1.0(k). Paragraph (c)(1) does not prohibit the screened lawyer from receiving a salary or partnership share established by prior independent agreement, but that lawyer may not receive compensation directly related to the matter in which the lawyer is disqualified.

[5] Notice, including a description of the screened lawyer's prior representation and of the screening procedures employed, generally should be given as soon as practicable after the need for screening becomes apparent.

Model Rule 1.12

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

TEXT:

1. Caption: Change to "Former Judge, Arbitrator, Mediator or Other Third-Party Neutral"

In the caption and thereafter throughout the Rule, terminology is modified to encompass a more expansive category of neutrals that participate in court-based and private dispute resolution.

2. Paragraph (a): Add other third-party neutrals

This paragraph has been modified to add mediators and other third-party neutrals. The term "arbitrator" was moved because arbitrators, like mediators and other third-party neutrals, typically do not have law clerks.

3. Paragraph (a): Change from "consent after consultation" to "give informed consent"

The Commission is recommending that throughout the Rules the phrase "consent after consultation" be replaced with "give informed consent," as defined in Rule 1.0(e). No change in substance is intended.

4. Paragraph (a): Consent "confirmed in writing"

The Commission recommends requiring that the consent here be confirmed in writing, as with other conflict-of-interest Rules. "Confirmed in writing" is defined in Rule 1.0(b).

5. Paragraph (b): Add references to other third-party neutrals

As with paragraph (a), the Commission has added references to mediators and other third-party neutrals and deleted "arbitrator" from the sentence addressing law clerks.

6. Paragraph (c): Nonconsensual screening of other third-party neutrals

Under the current Rule, the individual disqualification of a former judge or arbitrator under this Rule is not imputed to associated lawyers in a law firm if the conditions in (c)(1) and (2) are satisfied. The Commission determined that mediators and other third-party neutrals should be treated in the same manner because 1) there is typically less confidential information obtained in these proceedings than when the lawyer represents clients in a client-lawyer relationship and 2) although the third-party neutral usually owes a duty of confidentiality to the parties, it is not the same duty of confidentiality owed under Rule 1.6. The Commission also heard testimony that third-party neutrals do not share information with other lawyers in the firm in the same way that lawyers representing clients do. Finally, the Commission was concerned that failure to permit screening might inhibit the extent to which lawyers serve as third-party neutrals, particularly in voluntary, court-based alternative dispute resolution programs.

7. Paragraph (c)(1): Add "timely"

The Commission is recommending a definition of "screened" that includes a requirement that the lawyer be "timely" isolated from participation in the matter. Nevertheless, the Commission believes that the timeliness requirement is so important that it should appear in the text as well. This change is being recommended for all of the Rules that provide for screening. See Rules 1.10, 1.11 and 1.18.

COMMENT:

[2] This Comment has been added to explain the textual addition to paragraph (a) of the Rule, i.e., its applicability to arbitrators, mediators and other third-party neutrals.

[3] This entirely new Comment explains the rationale for imputing the conflicts of a personally disqualified lawyer unless the requirements of paragraph (c) are met.

[4] This entirely new Comment addresses the requirements of paragraph (c)(1) and has a cross-reference to the definition of "screened" in Rule 1.0(k).

[5] This entirely new Comment addresses the requirements of paragraph (c)(2).

RULE 1.13: ORGANIZATION AS CLIENT

(a) A lawyer employed or retained by an organization represents the organization acting through its duly authorized constituents.

(b) If a lawyer for an organization knows that an officer, employee or other person associated with the organization is engaged in action, intends to act or refuses to act in a matter related to the representation that is a violation of a legal obligation to the organization, or a violation of law which reasonably might be imputed to the organization, and is likely to result in substantial injury to the organization, the lawyer shall proceed as is reasonably necessary in the best interest of the organization. In determining how to proceed, the lawyer shall give due consideration to the seriousness of the violation and its consequences, the scope and nature of the lawyer's representation, the responsibility in the organization and the apparent motivation of the person involved, the policies of the organization concerning such matters and any other relevant considerations. Any measures taken shall be designed to minimize disruption of the organization and the risk of revealing information relating to the representation to persons outside the organization. Such measures may include among others:

(1) asking for reconsideration of the matter;

(2) advising that a separate legal opinion on the matter be sought for presentation to appropriate authority in the organization; and

(3) referring the matter to higher authority in the organization, including, if warranted by the seriousness of the matter, referral to the highest authority that can act in on behalf of the organization as determined by applicable law.

(c) If, despite the lawyer's efforts in accordance with paragraph (b), the highest authority that can act on behalf of the organization insists upon action, or a refusal to act, that is clearly a violation of law and is likely to result in substantial injury to the organization, the lawyer may resign in accordance with Rule 1.16.

(d) In dealing with an organization's directors, officers, employees, members, shareholders or other constituents, a lawyer shall explain the identity of the client when it is apparent the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the organization's interests are adverse to those of the constituents with whom the lawyer is dealing.

(e) A lawyer representing an organization may also represent any of its directors, officers, employees, members, shareholders or other constituents, subject to the provisions of Rule 1.7. If the organization's consent to the dual representation is required by Rule 1.7, the consent shall be given by an appropriate official of the organization other than the individual who is to be represented, or by the shareholders.

Comment

The Entity as the Client

[1] An organizational client is a legal entity, but it cannot act except through its officers, directors, employees, shareholders and other constituents. Officers, directors, employees and shareholders are the constituents of the corporate organizational client. The duties defined in this Comment apply equally to unincorporated associations. "Other constituents" as used in this Comment means the positions equivalent to officers, directors, employees and shareholders held by persons acting for organizational clients that are not corporations.

[2] When one of the constituents of an organizational client communicates with the organization's lawyer in that person's organizational capacity, the communication is protected by Rule 1.6. Thus, by way of example, if an organizational client requests its lawyer to investigate allegations of wrongdoing, interviews made in the course of that investigation between the lawyer and the client's employees or other constituents are covered by Rule 1.6. This does not mean, however, that constituents of an organizational client are the clients of the lawyer. The lawyer may not disclose to such constituents information relating to the representation except for disclosures explicitly or impliedly authorized by the organizational client in order to carry out the representation or as otherwise permitted by Rule 1.6.

[3] When constituents of the organization make decisions for it, the decisions ordinarily must be accepted by the lawyer even if their utility or prudence is doubtful. Decisions concerning policy and operations, including ones entailing serious risk, are not as such in the lawyer's province. However, different considerations arise when the lawyer knows that the organization may be substantially injured by action of a constituent that is in violation of law. In such a circumstance, it may be reasonably necessary for the lawyer to ask the constituent to reconsider the matter. If that fails, or if the matter is of sufficient seriousness and importance to the organization, it may be reasonably necessary for the lawyer to take steps to have the matter reviewed by a higher authority in the organization. Clear justification should exist for seeking review over the head of the constituent normally responsible for it. The stated policy of the organization may define circumstances and prescribe channels for such review, and a lawyer should encourage the formulation of such a policy. Even in the absence of organization policy, however, the lawyer may have an obligation to refer a matter to higher authority, depending on the seriousness of the matter and whether the constituent in question has apparent motives to act at variance with the organization's interest. Review by the chief executive officer or by the board of directors may be required when the matter is of importance commensurate with their authority. At some point it may be useful or essential to obtain an independent legal opinion.

[4] In an extreme case, it may be reasonably necessary for the lawyer to refer the matter to the The organization's highest authority . Ordinarily, that is to whom a matter may be referred ordinarily will be the board of directors or similar governing body. However, applicable law may prescribe that under certain conditions the highest authority reposes elsewhere, for example, in the independent directors of a corporation.

Relation to Other Rules

[5] The authority and responsibility provided in paragraph (b) this Rule are concurrent with the authority and responsibility provided in other Rules. In particular, this Rule does not limit or expand the lawyer's responsibility under Rule 1.6, 1.8, 1.16, 3.3 or 4.1. If the lawyer's services are being used by an organization to further a crime or fraud by the organization, Rule 1.2(d) can be applicable.

Government Agency

[6] The duty defined in this Rule applies to governmental organizations. However, when the client is a governmental organization, a different balance may be appropriate between maintaining confidentiality and assuring that the wrongful official act is prevented or rectified, for public business is involved. In addition, duties of lawyers employed by the government or lawyers in military service may be defined by statutes and regulation. Therefore, defining Defining precisely the identity of the client and prescribing the resulting obligations of such lawyers may be more difficult in the government context and is a matter beyond the scope of these Rules. See Scope [18]. Although in some circumstances the client may be a specific agency, it is generally may also be a branch of government, such as the executive branch, or the government as a whole. For example, if the action or failure to act involves the head of a bureau, either the department of which the bureau is a part or the relevant branch of government as a whole may be the client for purpose purposes of this Rule. Moreover, in a matter involving the conduct of government officials, a government lawyer may have authority under applicable law to question such conduct more extensively than that of a lawyer for a private organization in similar circumstances. Thus, when the client is a governmental organization, a different balance may be appropriate between maintaining confidentiality and assuring that the wrongful act is prevented or rectified, for public business is involved. In addition, duties of lawyers employed by the government or lawyers in military service may be defined by statutes and regulation. This Rule does not limit that authority. See note on Scope.

Clarifying the Lawyer's Role

[7] There are times when the organization's interest may be or become adverse to those of one or more of its constituents. In such circumstances the lawyer should advise any constituent, whose interest the lawyer finds adverse to that of the organization of the conflict or potential conflict of interest, that the lawyer cannot represent such constituent, and that such person may wish to obtain independent representation. Care must be taken to assure that the individual understands that, when there is such adversity of interest, the lawyer for the organization cannot provide legal representation for that constituent individual, and that discussions between the lawyer for the organization and the individual may not be privileged.

[8] Whether such a warning should be given by the lawyer for the organization to any constituent individual may turn on the facts of each case.

Dual Representation

[9] Paragraph (e) recognizes that a lawyer for an organization may also represent a principal officer or major shareholder.

Derivative Actions

[10] Under generally prevailing law, the shareholders or members of a corporation may bring suit to compel the directors to perform their legal obligations in the supervision of the organization. Members of unincorporated associations have essentially the same right. Such an action may be brought nominally by the organization, but usually is, in fact, a legal controversy over management of the organization.

[11] The question can arise whether counsel for the organization may defend such an action. The proposition that the organization is the lawyer's client does not alone resolve the issue. Most derivative actions are a normal incident of an organization's affairs, to be defended by the organization's lawyer like any other suit. However, if the claim involves serious charges of wrongdoing by those in control of the organization, a conflict may arise between the lawyer's duty to the organization and the lawyer's relationship with the board. In those circumstances, Rule 1.7 governs who should represent the directors and the organization.

Model Rule 1.13

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

TEXT:

1. Paragraph (b): Add "for" and substitute "on" for "in"

These changes are stylistic and grammatical. No change in substance is intended.

2. Paragraph (d): Change "when it is apparent" to "the lawyer knows or reasonably should know"

This change clarifies the scienter requirement in this paragraph, using defined terminology and a construction that appears elsewhere in the Rules. See, e.g., Rule 4.3.

COMMENT:

[4] These changes are stylistic. No change in substance is intended.

[5] This change is stylistic. No change in substance is intended.

[6] This modification of Comment [6] is designed to more accurately reflect prevailing law regarding the identity of a government client. Although ultimately the identity of the client is a question of law beyond these Rules, the Commission believes that the limited guidance provided in this revised Comment is helpful.

RULE 1.14: CLIENT UNDER A DISABILITY WITH DIMINISHED CAPACITY

(a) When a client's ability capacity to make adequately considered decisions in connection with the a representation is impaired diminished, whether because of minority, mental disability impairment or for some other reason, the lawyer shall, as far as reasonably possible, maintain a normal client-lawyer relationship with the client.

(b) A lawyer may seek the appointment of a guardian or take other protective action with respect to a client only when When the lawyer reasonably believes that the client has diminished capacity, is at risk of substantial physical, financial or other harm unless action is taken and cannot adequately act in the client's own interest , the lawyer may take reasonably necessary protective action, including consulting with individuals or entities that have the ability to take action to protect the client and, in appropriate cases, seeking the appointment of a guardian ad litem, conservator or guardian.

(c) Information relating to the representation of a client with diminished capacity is protected by Rule 1.6. When taking protective action pursuant to paragraph (b), the lawyer is impliedly authorized under Rule 1.6(a) to reveal information about the client, but only to the extent reasonably necessary to protect the client's interests.

Comment

[1] The normal client-lawyer relationship is based on the assumption that the client, when properly advised and assisted, is capable of making decisions about important matters. When the client is a minor or suffers from a diminished mental capacity disorder or disability, however, maintaining the ordinary client-lawyer relationship may not be possible in all respects. In particular, an a severely incapacitated person may have no power to make legally binding decisions. Nevertheless, a client lacking legal competence with diminished capacity often has the ability to understand, deliberate upon, and reach conclusions about matters affecting the client's own well-being. Furthermore, to an increasing extent the law recognizes intermediate degrees of competence. For example, children as young as five or six years of age, and certainly those of ten or twelve, are regarded as having opinions that are entitled to weight in legal proceedings concerning their custody. So also, it is recognized that some persons of advanced age can be quite capable of handling routine financial matters while needing special legal protection concerning major transactions.

[2] The fact that a client suffers a disability does not diminish the lawyer's obligation to treat the client with attention and respect. If the person has no guardian or legal representative, the lawyer often must act as de facto guardian. Even if the person does have has a legal representative, the lawyer should as far as possible accord the represented person the status of client, particularly in maintaining communication.

[3] The client may wish to have family members or other persons participate in discussions with the lawyer. When necessary to assist in the representation, the presence of such persons generally does not affect the applicability of the attorney-client evidentiary privilege. Nevertheless, the lawyer must keep the client's interests foremost and, except for protective action authorized under paragraph (b), must to look to the client, and not family members, to make decisions on the client's behalf.

[3] [4] If a legal representative has already been appointed for the client, the lawyer should ordinarily look to the representative for decisions on behalf of the client. If a legal representative has not been appointed, the lawyer should see to such an appointment where it would serve the client's best interests. Thus, if a disabled client has substantial property that should be sold for the client's benefit, effective completion of the transaction ordinarily requires appointment of a legal representative. In many circumstances, however, appointment of a legal representative may be expensive or traumatic for the client. Evaluation of these considerations is a matter of professional judgment on the lawyer's part. In matters involving a minor, whether the lawyer should look to the parents as natural guardians may depend on the type of proceeding or matter in which the lawyer is representing the minor. [4] If the lawyer represents the guardian as distinct from the ward, and is aware that the guardian is acting adversely to the ward's interest, the lawyer may have an obligation to prevent or rectify the guardian's misconduct. See Rule 1.2(d).

Taking Protective Action

[5] If a lawyer reasonably believes that a client is at risk of substantial physical, financial or other harm unless action is taken, and that a normal client-lawyer relationship cannot be maintained as provided in paragraph (a) because the client lacks sufficient capacity to communicate or to make adequately considered decisions in connection with the representation, then paragraph (b) permits the lawyer to take protective measures deemed necessary. Such measures could include: consulting with family members, using a reconsideration period to permit clarification or improvement of circumstances, using voluntary surrogate decisionmaking tools such as durable powers of attorney or consulting with support groups, professional services, adult-protective agencies or other individuals or entities that have the ability to protect the client. In taking any protective action, the lawyer should be guided by such factors as the wishes and values of the client to the extent known, the client's best interests and the goals of intruding into the client's decisionmaking autonomy to the least extent feasible, maximizing client capacities and respecting the client's family and social connections.

[6] In determining the extent of the client's diminished capacity, the lawyer should consider and balance such factors as: the client's ability to articulate reasoning leading to a decision, variability of state of mind and ability to appreciate consequences of a decision; the substantive fairness of a decision; and the consistency of a decision with the known long-term commitments and values of the client. In appropriate circumstances, the lawyer may seek guidance from an appropriate diagnostician.

[7] If a legal representative has not been appointed, the lawyer should consider whether appointment of a guardian ad litem, conservator or guardian is necessary to protect the client's interests. Thus, if a client with diminished capacity has substantial property that should be sold for the client's benefit, effective completion of the transaction may require appointment of a legal representative. In addition, rules of procedure in litigation sometimes provide that minors or persons with diminished capacity must be represented by a guardian or next friend if they do not have a general guardian. In many circumstances, however, appointment of a legal representative may be more expensive or traumatic for the client than circumstances in fact require. Evaluation of such circumstances is a matter entrusted to the professional judgment of the lawyer. In considering alternatives, however, the lawyer should be aware of any law that requires the lawyer to advocate the least restrictive action on behalf of the client.

Disclosure of the Client's Condition

[5] [8] Rules of procedure in litigation generally provide that minors or persons suffering mental disability shall be represented by a guardian or next friend if they do not have a general guardian. However, disclosure Disclosure of the client's disability can diminished capacity could adversely affect the client's interests. For example, raising the question of disability diminished capacity could, in some circumstances, lead to proceedings for involuntary commitment. Information relating to the representation is protected by Rule 1.6. Therefore, unless authorized to do so, the lawyer may not disclose such information. When taking protective action pursuant to paragraph (b), the lawyer is impliedly authorized to make the necessary disclosures, even when the client directs the lawyer to the contrary. Nevertheless, given the risks of disclosure, paragraph (c) limits what the lawyer may disclose in consulting with other individuals or entities or seeking the appointment of a legal representative. At the very least, the lawyer should determine whether it is likely that the person or entity consulted with will act adversely to the client's interests before discussing matters related to the client. The lawyer's position in such cases is an unavoidably difficult one. The lawyer may seek guidance from an appropriate diagnostician.

Emergency Legal Assistance

[6] [9] In an emergency where the health, safety or a financial interest of a person under a disability with seriously diminished capacity is threatened with imminent and irreparable harm, a lawyer may take legal action on behalf of such a person even though the person is unable to establish a client-lawyer relationship or to make or express considered judgments about the matter, when the disabled person or another acting in good faith on that person's behalf has consulted with the lawyer. Even in such an emergency, however, the lawyer should not act unless the lawyer reasonably believes that the person has no other lawyer, agent or other representative available. The lawyer should take legal action on behalf of the disabled person only to the extent reasonably necessary to maintain the status quo or otherwise avoid imminent and irreparable harm. A lawyer who undertakes to represent a person in such an exigent situation has the same duties under these Rules as the lawyer would with respect to a client.

[7] [10] A lawyer who acts on behalf of a disabled person with seriously diminished capacity in an emergency should keep the confidences of the disabled person as if dealing with a client, disclosing them only to the extent necessary to accomplish the intended protective action. The lawyer should disclose to any tribunal involved and to any other counsel involved the nature of his or her relationship with the disabled person. The lawyer should take steps to regularize the relationship or implement other protective solutions as soon as possible. Normally, a lawyer would not seek compensation for such emergency actions taken on behalf of a disabled person.

Model Rule 1.14

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

TEXT:

1. Caption: Change to "Client with Diminished Capacity"

In the caption and thereafter throughout the Rule, terminology referencing a client's capacity is changed to focus on and more accurately express the continuum of a client's capacity.

2. Paragraph (a): Terminology change

The change in terminology in this paragraph is grammatical and reflective of the change of focus of the Rule to the continuum of a client's capacity.

3. Paragraph (b): Add protective measures lawyer may take short of request for guardian and requiring risk of substantial harm unless action is taken

The Commission recommends adding guidance for lawyers regarding "protective action" the lawyer may take short of seeking a guardian, which is generally deemed appropriate only in extreme circumstances. The revision permits the lawyer to "take reasonably necessary protective action, including consulting with individuals or entities that have the ability to take action to protect the client, and, in appropriate cases, seeking the appointment of a guardian ad litem, conservator or guardian." The Commission believes the recommended change offers the lawyer flexibility when a client faces substantial risk of harm or when emergency legal assistance is required as described in Comments [9] and [10].

4. Paragraph (c): Add limitation on "protective action"

The Commission recommends addition of a new paragraph (c) to specify the means by which "protective action" should be limited to avoid client harm. The proposal explicitly recognizes the relationship of Rule 1.14(b) to Rule 1.6. Specifically, it states that Rule 1.6 allows disclosure of information under Rule 1.14(b) only as "reasonably necessary to protect the client's interests."

COMMENT:

[1] This Comment has been revised with collateral language changes to reflect the Rule's focus on degrees of a client's capacity.

[2] This Comment has been revised to delete the sentence, "If the person has no guardian or legal representative, the lawyer often must act as de facto guardian." The Commission views as unclear, not only what it means to act as a "de facto guardian," but also when it is appropriate for a lawyer to take such action and what limits exist on the lawyer's ability to act for an incapacitated client. The other revision to the Comment is a grammatical and stylistic change.

[3] This new Comment includes additional discussion of the potential risk in the common practice of having family members or other persons participate in the lawyer's representation of a client with diminished capacity. The change is recommended to encourage lawyers to seek such involvement since this practice may be of assistance to the representation. The Comment also points out potential risk to the extent that family members may be guided, consciously or unconsciously, by their own interests instead of the interests of the client.

 

[4] This revision of current Comment [3] includes additional discussion indicating that parents as natural guardians may have the same rights as legal guardians to make decisions regarding their children, depending on the nature of the matter or proceeding. (Whether and when parents have rights to make decisions on their children's behalf is a matter of substantive law that is not addressed here.)

 

The discussion in current Comment [3] on the issue of whether the lawyer should seek appointment of a guardian has been moved, with modification, to new Comment [7]. Finally, current Comment [4] is now the last sentence of proposed Comment [4] in order to provide a single Comment on the lawyer's role when the client of diminished capacity already has a legal representative.

 

Caption "Taking Protective Action" has been added to highlight and focus on action the lawyer may take during representation of a client with diminished capacity.

 

[5] This new Comment sets forth the rationale for paragraph (b) and gives additional detail on the circumstances that might trigger the lawyer's permission to consult with family members, adult-protective agencies or other individuals or entities that have the authority to protect the client.

 

[6] This new Comment provides guidance on determining the extent of a client's diminished capacity.

 

[7] This new Comment addresses the issue of whether a lawyer should seek appointment of a guardian. Discussion of this issue in current Comment [3], with modification, is relocated here. The modification clarifies that, while it "may" be necessary to have a legal representative appointed to complete a transaction, it is not "ordinarily" required to the extent that a client with some degree of capacity may be able to execute a power of attorney. In addition, the discussion in current Comment [5] regarding rules of procedure requiring a guardian or next friend has been moved to this Comment. A new final sentence serves as a useful reference to other law that may impose a requirement that the lawyer take the least restrictive action under the circumstances.

[8] This is a revision of current Comment [5]. The first sentence has been moved to Comment [7]. The majority of the language is essentially new and refers to the limitations in paragraph (c) on the disclosure of information relating to the representation and clarifies the relationship between Rules 1.14 and 1.6. The last sentence of the current Comment has been deleted because the issue of whether a lawyer may seek guidance from a diagnostician is addressed in Comment [6].

[9] and [10] The changes reflect the Rule's new focus on degrees of a client's capacity.

RULE 1.15: SAFEKEEPING PROPERTY

(a) A lawyer shall hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property. Funds shall be kept in a separate account maintained in the state where the lawyer's office is situated, or elsewhere with the consent of the client or third person. Other property shall be identified as such and appropriately safeguarded. Complete records of such account funds and other property shall be kept by the lawyer and shall be preserved for a period of [five years] after termination of the representation.

(b) A lawyer may deposit the lawyer's own funds in a client trust account for the sole purpose of paying bank service charges on that account, but only in an amount necessary for that purpose.

(c) A lawyer shall deposit into a client trust account legal fees and expenses that have been paid in advance, to be withdrawn by the lawyer only as fees are earned or expenses incurred.

(b) (d) Upon receiving funds or other property in which a client or third person has an interest, a lawyer shall promptly notify the client or third person. Except as stated in this rule or otherwise permitted by law or by agreement with the client, a lawyer shall promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive and, upon request by the client or third person, shall promptly render a full accounting regarding such property.

(c) (e) When in the course of representation a lawyer is in possession of property in which both two or more persons (one of whom may be the lawyer and another person ) claim interests, the property shall be kept separate by the lawyer until there is an accounting and severance of their interests. If a dispute arises concerning their respective interests, the portion in dispute shall be kept separate by the lawyer until the dispute is resolved. The lawyer shall promptly distribute all portions of the property as to which the interests are not in dispute.

Comment

[1] A lawyer should hold property of others with the care required of a professional fiduciary. Securities should be kept in a safe deposit box, except when some other form of safekeeping is warranted by special circumstances. All property that is the property of clients or third persons should , including prospective clients, must be kept separate from the lawyer's business and personal property and, if monies, in one or more trust accounts. Separate trust accounts may be warranted when administering estate monies or acting in similar fiduciary capacities. A lawyer should maintain on a current basis books and records in accordance with generally accepted accounting practice and comply with any recordkeeping rules established by law or court order. See, e.g., ABA Model Financial Recordkeeping Rule.

[2] While normally it is impermissible to commingle the lawyer's own funds with client funds, paragraph (b) provides that it is permissible when necessary to pay bank service charges on that account. Accurate records must be kept regarding which part of the funds are the lawyer's.

[2] [3] Lawyers often receive funds from third parties from which the lawyer's fee will be paid. If there is risk that the client may divert the funds without paying the fee, the The lawyer is not required to remit the portion from which the fee is to be paid to the client funds that the lawyer reasonably believes represent fees owed. However, a lawyer may not hold funds to coerce a client into accepting the lawyer's contention. The disputed portion of the funds should must be kept in a trust account and the lawyer should suggest means for prompt resolution of the dispute, such as arbitration. The undisputed portion of the funds shall be promptly distributed.

[3] [4] Third Paragraph (e) also recognizes that third parties , such as a client's creditors, may have just lawful claims against specific funds or other property in a lawyer's custody , such as a client's creditor who has a lien on funds recovered in a personal injury action. A lawyer may have a duty under applicable law to protect such third-party claims against wrongful interference by the client , and accordingly may . In such cases, when the third-party claim is not frivolous under applicable law, the lawyer must refuse to surrender the property to the client until the claims are resolved. However, a A lawyer should not unilaterally assume to arbitrate a dispute between the client and the third party , but, when there are substantial grounds for dispute as to the person entitled to the funds, the lawyer may file an action to have a court resolve the dispute.

[4] [5] The obligations of a lawyer under this Rule are independent of those arising from activity other than rendering legal services. For example, a lawyer who serves only as an escrow agent is governed by the applicable law relating to fiduciaries even though the lawyer does not render legal services in the transaction and is not governed by this Rule.

[5] [6] A "clients' security lawyers' fund " for client protection provides a means through the collective efforts of the bar to reimburse persons who have lost money or property as a result of dishonest conduct of a lawyer. Where such a fund has been established, a lawyer must participate where it is mandatory, and, even when it is voluntary, the lawyer should participate.

Model Rule 1.15

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

TEXT:

1. Paragraph (b): Deposits to minimize bank charges

The Commission heard testimony that in some jurisdictions lawyers are unable to avoid bank charges unless they are permitted to deposit money in a client trust account to cover such charges. The addition of this new paragraph is designed to address that problem.

2. Paragraph (c): Advance payment of fees and expenses

This new paragraph provides needed practical guidance to lawyers on how to handle advance deposits of fees and expenses. The Commission is responding to reports that the single largest class of claims made to client protection funds is for the taking of unearned fees.

3. Paragraph (e): Expand to cover all instances of disputed funds

Current Rule 1.15(c) is presently written to cover disputes between the lawyer and "another person," usually the client. The change proposed recognizes that at least three kinds of disputes are in fact possible: client-lawyer, client-creditor and lawyer-client's creditor. The proposed change thus uses more general language, tightens the first two sentences into one and reiterates the lawyer's duty to pay over undisputed sums. The final additional sentence clarifies the lawyer's duty to promptly distribute all portions of the property that are not subject to dispute.

COMMENT:

[1] Consistent with the Commission's action with respect to Rule 1.18, a phrase has been added to make clear that prospective clients are included among the third parties to whom the lawyer owes a duty to protect property pursuant to this Rule.

While the black letter of this Rule is written in mandatory terms, the Comments are often permissive. Sometimes that may be appropriate, as where a safe deposit box is suggested unless something else is warranted by the circumstances. When the issue is close, permissive language has been retained. However, Rule 1.15(a) clearly requires that client property, including money, be kept separate from the lawyer's own, and the Comment has been changed to make that clear. A sentence has been added to provide guidance to lawyers regarding the proper maintenance of trust accounts.

[2] This new Comment addresses new paragraph (b).

[3] This Comment deals with handling client funds that may be set aside for payment of fees. The current language refers only to funds received from third parties, whereas the usual payer will be the client. Further, the lawyer should not have to show that the client is in fact likely to leave town if, pursuant to agreement, the lawyer is entitled to have the security of funds paid over before the fee is actually earned.

In addition, as in Comment [1], the clear Rule 1.15(a) and (e) requirements that disputed client funds be kept in a separate account is made mandatory rather than permissive.

[4] This Comment deals with a practical problem in which a client's creditor tries to get at funds in the hands of the lawyer. There is no doubt that, as a matter of substantive law, in some cases the lawyer would be required to make the creditor whole if the lawyer remitted property to the client to which the creditor was found entitled. In those, but only those, cases, paragraph (e) mandates a lawyer's refusal to remit the funds to the client until the dispute is resolved, while this Comment reinforces and tries to explain this sometimes controversial point. The Comment further explains that the lawyer's duty to protect client creditors only exists when the creditor has a claim against specific funds being held by the lawyer and that the lawyer's duty to protect the third party exists only when there is a nonfrivolous claim under applicable law. When there are substantial grounds for dispute as to the person entitled to the funds, the lawyer may file an action to have a court resolve the dispute.

[5] These changes clarify that when a lawyer holds funds in a capacity other than as a lawyer representing a client, this Rule does not apply.

[6] The change to "lawyers' fund for client protection" reflects the current nomenclature for these funds. The new language in the second sentence indicates a lawyer has an obligation to contribute to these funds in jurisdictions where they are mandatory.

RULE 1.16: DECLINING OR TERMINATING REPRESENTATION

(a) Except as stated in paragraph (c), a lawyer shall not represent a client or, where representation has commenced, shall withdraw from the representation of a client if:

(1) the representation will result in violation of the rules of professional conduct or other law;

(2) the lawyer's physical or mental condition materially impairs the lawyer's ability to represent the client; or

(3) the lawyer is discharged.

(b) Except as stated in paragraph (c), a lawyer may withdraw from representing a client if :

(1) withdrawal can be accomplished without material adverse effect on the interests of the client , or if: ;

(1) (2) the client persists in a course of action involving the lawyer's services that the lawyer reasonably believes is criminal or fraudulent;

(2) (3) the client has used the lawyer's services to perpetrate a crime or fraud;

(3) (4) a the client insists upon pursuing an objective taking action that the lawyer considers repugnant or imprudent with which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement;

(4) (5) the client fails substantially to fulfill an obligation to the lawyer regarding the lawyer's services and has been given reasonable warning that the lawyer will withdraw unless the obligation is fulfilled;

(5) (6) the representation will result in an unreasonable financial burden on the lawyer or has been rendered unreasonably difficult by the client; or

(6) (7) other good cause for withdrawal exists.

(c) A lawyer must comply with applicable law requiring notice to or permission of a tribunal when terminating a representation. When ordered to do so by a tribunal, a lawyer shall continue representation notwithstanding good cause for terminating the representation.

(d) Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client's interests, such as giving reasonable notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled and refunding any advance payment of fee or expense that has not been earned or incurred. The lawyer may retain papers relating to the client to the extent permitted by other law.

Comment

[1] A lawyer should not accept representation in a matter unless it can be performed competently, promptly, without improper conflict of interest and to completion. Ordinarily, a representation in a matter is completed when the agreed-upon assistance has been concluded. See Rules 1.2(c) and 6.5. See also Rule 1.3, Comment [4].

Mandatory Withdrawal

[2] A lawyer ordinarily must decline or withdraw from representation if the client demands that the lawyer engage in conduct that is illegal or violates the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law. The lawyer is not obliged to decline or withdraw simply because the client suggests such a course of conduct; a client may make such a suggestion in the hope that a lawyer will not be constrained by a professional obligation.

[3] When a lawyer has been appointed to represent a client, withdrawal ordinarily requires approval of the appointing authority. See also Rule 6.2. Similarly, court approval or notice to the court is often required by applicable law before a lawyer withdraws from pending litigation. Difficulty may be encountered if withdrawal is based on the client's demand that the lawyer engage in unprofessional conduct. The court may wish request an explanation for the withdrawal, while the lawyer may be bound to keep confidential the facts that would constitute such an explanation. The lawyer's statement that professional considerations require termination of the representation ordinarily should be accepted as sufficient. Lawyers should be mindful of their obligations to both clients and the court under Rules 1.6 and 3.3.

Discharge

[4] A client has a right to discharge a lawyer at any time, with or without cause, subject to liability for payment for the lawyer's services. Where future dispute about the withdrawal may be anticipated, it may be advisable to prepare a written statement reciting the circumstances.

[5] Whether a client can discharge appointed counsel may depend on applicable law. A client seeking to do so should be given a full explanation of the consequences. These consequences may include a decision by the appointing authority that appointment of successor counsel is unjustified, thus requiring self-representation by the client.

[6] If the client is mentally incompetent has severely diminished capacity, the client may lack the legal capacity to discharge the lawyer, and in any event the discharge may be seriously adverse to the client's interests. The lawyer should make special effort to help the client consider the consequences and , in an extreme case, may initiate proceedings for a conservatorship or similar protection of the client. See take reasonably necessary protective action as provided in Rule 1.14.

Optional Withdrawal

[7] A lawyer may withdraw from representation in some circumstances. The lawyer has the option to withdraw if it can be accomplished without material adverse effect on the client's interests. Withdrawal is also justified if the client persists in a course of action that the lawyer reasonably believes is criminal or fraudulent, for a lawyer is not required to be associated with such conduct even if the lawyer does not further it. Withdrawal is also permitted if the lawyer's services were misused in the past even if that would materially prejudice the client. The lawyer may also withdraw where the client insists on a taking action that the lawyer considers repugnant or imprudent objective with which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement.

 

[8] A lawyer may withdraw if the client refuses to abide by the terms of an agreement relating to the representation, such as an agreement concerning fees or court costs or an agreement limiting the objectives of the representation.

 

 

Assisting the Client upon Withdrawal

 

[9] Even if the lawyer has been unfairly discharged by the client, a lawyer must take all reasonable steps to mitigate the consequences to the client. The lawyer may retain papers as security for a fee only to the extent permitted by law. Whether or not a lawyer for an organization may under certain unusual circumstances have a legal obligation to the organization after withdrawing or being discharged by the organization's highest authority is beyond the scope of these Rules. See Rule 1.15.

 

Model Rule 1.16

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Paragraph (b): Clarify significance of permission to withdraw "without material adverse effect on the interests of the client"

 

No change in substance is intended. This proposal is intended to clarify that the lawyer may withdraw for any reason if "withdrawal can be accomplished without material adverse effect on the interests of the client," or, even if there will be such material adverse effect, if the lawyer has good cause, as set forth in paragraphs (b)(2) through (6).

 

2. Paragraph (b)(4): Alter requirement for permissive withdrawal when client and lawyer disagree over course of representation

 

a. Substitute "taking action" for "pursuing an objective"

The Commission recommends that a lawyer be permitted to withdraw from representation whenever a client is insisting that the lawyer take action that the lawyer finds repugnant or, in some instances, when the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement with the action proposed by the client, regardless of whether the action concerns the client's objectives or the means of achieving those objectives.

b. Substitute "with which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement" for "imprudent"

Allowing a lawyer to withdraw merely because the lawyer believes that the client's objectives or intended action is "imprudent" permits the lawyer to threaten to withdraw in order to prevail in almost any dispute with a client, thus detracting from the client's ability to direct the course of the representation. Nevertheless, the Commission believes that a lawyer ought to be permitted to withdraw when the disagreement over objectives or means is so fundamental that the lawyer's autonomy is seriously threatened.

c. Change first word from "a" to "the"

This is a stylistic change to conform with the other subparagraphs of (b).

3. Paragraph (c): Remind lawyers of court requirements of notice or permission to withdraw from pending litigation

Some courts require only that the lawyer notify the court of withdrawal, for example, where a substitution of counsel is being made with the consent of the client. The Commission recommends following the practice of several states that have added the proposed first sentence in order to remind lawyers of their obligations under court rules.

 

4. Paragraph (d): Add reference to return of unearned fees and unexpended advanced expenses

This change corresponds to the change in Rule 1.15, which requires lawyers to segregate advanced fees and expenses in a client trust account.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] The additional material addresses the question of when a representation is completed and cross-references other Rules, including those in which the services are limited in scope or intended to be short-term in nature. No change in substance is intended.

 

[3] Three changes are proposed. None of them is substantive. The first proposal is to add a sentence regarding the possibility that a court may require either approval or notice before a lawyer withdraws from pending litigation. The second is to substitute "request" for "wish" for reasons of style. The third is to add a cross-reference to Rules 1.6 and 3.3 regarding any colloquy with a court requesting an explanation for the lawyer's request to withdraw.

 

[6] These changes are proposed in light of the changes made in Rule 1.14.

 

[7] The proposed change tracks the proposed change to paragraph (b)(4).

 

[9] The Commission recommends adding a cross-reference to Rule 1.15 on client property. It also recommends that the last sentence be deleted because its meaning is unclear.

 

 

RULE 1.17: SALE OF LAW PRACTICE

 

A lawyer or a law firm may sell or purchase a law practice, including good will, if the following conditions are satisfied:

 

(a) The seller ceases to engage in the private practice of law [in the geographic area] [in the jurisdiction] (a jurisdiction may elect either version) in which the practice has been conducted;

 

(b) The entire practice is sold as an entirety to another lawyer one or more lawyers or law firm firms;

 

(c) Actual written notice is given to each of the seller's clients regarding:

 

(1) the proposed sale;

(2) the terms of any proposed change in the fee arrangement authorized by paragraph (d);

(3) (2) the client's right to retain other counsel or to take possession of the file; and

(4) (3) the fact that the client's consent to the sale will be presumed if the client does not take any action or does not otherwise object within ninety (90) days of receipt of the notice.

If a client cannot be given notice, the representation of that client may be transferred to the purchaser only upon entry of an order so authorizing by a court having jurisdiction. The seller may disclose to the court in camera information relating to the representation only to the extent necessary to obtain an order authorizing the transfer of a file.

 

(d) The fees charged clients shall not be increased by reason of the sale. The purchaser may, however, refuse to undertake the representation unless the client consents to pay the purchaser fees at a rate not exceeding the fees charged by the purchaser for rendering substantially similar services prior to the initiation of the purchase negotiations.

 

Comment

 

[1] The practice of law is a profession, not merely a business. Clients are not commodities that can be purchased and sold at will. Pursuant to this Rule, when a lawyer or an entire firm ceases to practice and another lawyer other lawyers or firm takes firms take over the representation, the selling lawyer or firm may obtain compensation for the reasonable value of the practice as may withdrawing partners of law firms. See Rules 5.4 and 5.6.

 

 

Termination of Practice by the Seller

 

[2] The requirement that all of the private practice be sold is satisfied if the seller in good faith makes the entire practice available for sale to the purchaser purchasers. The fact that a number of the seller's clients decide not to be represented by the purchaser purchasers but take their matters elsewhere, therefore, does not result in a violation. Neither does a return Return to private practice as a result of an unanticipated change in circumstances does not necessarily result in a violation. For example, a lawyer who has sold the practice to accept an appointment to judicial office does not violate the requirement that the sale be attendant to cessation of practice if the lawyer later resumes private practice upon being defeated in a contested or a retention election for the office.

 

[3] The requirement that the seller cease to engage in the private practice of law does not prohibit employment as a lawyer on the staff of a public agency or a legal services entity that provides legal services to the poor, or as in-house counsel to a business.

 

[4] The Rule permits a sale attendant upon retirement from the private practice of law within the jurisdiction. Its provisions, therefore, accommodate the lawyer who sells the practice upon the occasion of moving to another state. Some states are so large that a move from one locale therein to another is tantamount to leaving the jurisdiction in which the lawyer has engaged in the practice of law. To also accommodate lawyers so situated, states may permit the sale of the practice when the lawyer leaves the geographic area rather than the jurisdiction. The alternative desired should be indicated by selecting one of the two provided for in Rule 1.17(a).

 

 

Single Purchaser Sale of Entire Practice

 

[5] The Rule requires a single purchaser that the seller’s entire practice be sold. The prohibition against piecemeal sale of a less than the entire practice protects those clients whose matters are less lucrative and who might find it difficult to secure other counsel if a sale could be limited to substantial fee-generating matters. The purchaser is purchasers are required to undertake all client matters in the practice, subject to client consent. If This requirement is satisfied, however, the even if a purchaser is unable to undertake all a particular client matters matter because of a conflict of interest in a specific matter respecting which the purchaser is not permitted by Rule 1.7 or another rule to represent the client, the requirement that there be a single purchaser is nevertheless satisfied.

 

 

Client Confidences, Consent and Notice

 

[6] Negotiations between seller and prospective purchaser prior to disclosure of information relating to a specific representation of an identifiable client no more violate the confidentiality provisions of Model Rule 1.6 than do preliminary discussions concerning the possible association of another lawyer or mergers between firms, with respect to which client consent is not required. Providing the purchaser access to client-specific information relating to the representation and to the file, however, requires client consent. The Rule provides that before such information can be disclosed by the seller to the purchaser the client must be given actual written notice of the contemplated sale, including the identity of the purchaser and any proposed change in the terms of future representation, and must be told that the decision to consent or make other arrangements must be made within 90 days. If nothing is heard from the client within that time, consent to the sale is presumed.

 

[7] A lawyer or law firm ceasing to practice cannot be required to remain in practice because some clients cannot be given actual notice of the proposed purchase. Since these clients cannot themselves consent to the purchase or direct any other disposition of their files, the Rule requires an order from a court having jurisdiction authorizing their transfer or other disposition. The Court can be expected to determine whether reasonable efforts to locate the client have been exhausted, and whether the absent client's legitimate interests will be served by authorizing the transfer of the file so that the purchaser may continue the representation. Preservation of client confidences requires that the petition for a court order be considered in camera. (A procedure by which such an order can be obtained needs to be established in jurisdictions in which it presently does not exist.)

 

[8] All the elements of client autonomy, including the client's absolute right to discharge a lawyer and transfer the representation to another, survive the sale of the practice.

 

 

Fee Arrangements Between Client and Purchaser

 

[9] The sale may not be financed by increases in fees charged the clients of the practice. Existing agreements between the seller and the client as to fees and the scope of the work must be honored by the purchaser , unless the client consents after consultation. The purchaser may, however, advise the client that the purchaser will not undertake the representation unless the client consents to pay the higher fees the purchaser usually charges. To prevent client financing of the sale, the higher fee the purchaser may charge must not exceed the fees charged by the purchaser for substantially similar service rendered prior to the initiation of the purchase negotiations.

 

 

[10] The purchaser may not intentionally fragment the practice which is the subject of the sale by charging significantly different fees in substantially similar matters. Doing so would make it possible for the purchaser to avoid the obligation to take over the entire practice by charging arbitrarily higher fees for less lucrative matters, thereby increasing the likelihood that those clients would not consent to the new representation.

 

Other Applicable Ethical Standards

 

[11] [10] Lawyers participating in the sale of a law practice are subject to the ethical standards applicable to involving another lawyer in the representation of a client. These include, for example, the seller's obligation to exercise competence in identifying a purchaser qualified to assume the practice and the purchaser's obligation to undertake the representation competently (see Rule 1.1); the obligation to avoid disqualifying conflicts, and to secure client the client’s informed consent after consultation for those conflicts that can be agreed to (see Rule 1.7 regarding conflicts and Rule 1.0(e) for the definition of informed consent); and the obligation to protect information relating to the representation (see Rules 1.6 and 1.9).

 

 

[12] [11] If approval of the substitution of the purchasing lawyer for the selling lawyer is required by the rules of any tribunal in which a matter is pending, such approval must be obtained before the matter can be included in the sale (see Rule 1.16).

 

 

Applicability of the Rule

 

[13] [12] This Rule applies to the sale of a law practice by representatives of a deceased, disabled or disappeared lawyer. Thus, the seller may be represented by a non-lawyer representative not subject to these Rules. Since, however, no lawyer may participate in a sale of a law practice which does not conform to the requirements of this Rule, the representatives of the seller as well as the purchasing lawyer can be expected to see to it that they are met.

 

 

[14] [13] Admission to or retirement from a law partnership or professional association, retirement plans and similar arrangements, and a sale of tangible assets of a law practice, do not constitute a sale or purchase governed by this Rule.

 

 

[15] [14] This Rule does not apply to the transfers of legal representation between lawyers when such transfers are unrelated to the sale of a practice.

 

 

Model Rule 1.17

Reporter’s Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Paragraph (b): Eliminate requirement that sale be to single buyer

 

Paragraph (b) of the current Rule requires that the practice be sold "as an entirety" to a single lawyer or firm. The justification offered is that purchasers would otherwise take only a seller’s profitable cases and leave some clients unrepresented.

 

The Commission believes that the present requirement is unduly restrictive and potentially disserves clients. While it remains important to ensure the disposition of the entire caseload, it is not necessary to require that all cases must be sold to a single buyer. For example, it may make better sense to allow the sale of family-law cases to a family lawyer and bankruptcy cases to a bankruptcy lawyer. Common sense would suggest the lawyer should sell the cases to the most competent practitioner and not be limited by such a "single buyer" rule, and paragraph (b) has been redrafted accordingly.

 

2. Paragraphs (c)(2) and (d): Eliminate buyer’s right to refuse representation unless seller’s clients agree to pay increased fee

 

Paragraph (d) of the current Rule states that the fees charged clients shall not be increased by reason of the sale. However, it also allows the buyer of a practice to tell the seller’s clients that the buyer will not work on their cases unless they agree to pay a greater fee than they had agreed to pay the seller. The only limit is that the buyer may not charge the seller’s clients more than the buyer charges the buyer’s other clients for "substantially similar services." This is problematical because the seller could not unilaterally abrogate the fee agreement as a matter of contract law. The seller could have withdrawn as permitted under Rule 1.16, but the seller certainly could not have refused to continue the representation unless the client agreed to a modification of the fee contract. In this regard, the Commission thinks the buyer should stand in the shoes of the seller and has modified paragraph (d) accordingly. This proposal is in accord with the rules of California, Colorado (written contracts only), Florida, Iowa, Minnesota (must honor for one year), New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee (proposed rule), Virginia and Wisconsin.

The Commission proposes to delete paragraph (c)(2) in light of the modification in paragraph (d). Its only purpose was to require that notice be given to the seller’s clients of the buyer’s right to require increased fees under paragraph (d), which right has now been eliminated.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] Minor wording changes have been made as part of the proposed change permitting sale of a practice to more than one lawyer or firm.

 

[2] Minor changes have been made as part of the proposed change permitting sale of a practice to more than one lawyer or firm and to clarify the third sentence.

 

[5] This Comment has been changed to explain the rationale for requiring that an entire practice be sold, albeit not to a single purchaser.

 

[6] Material has been deleted from the Comment because of the Commission's decision to prohibit purchasers from stating they will not continue the representation except at their usual fee.

 

[9] In accord with the change in the Rule text, the language explaining the right to a unilateral fee increase has been deleted. See discussion of paragraphs (c)(2) and (d).

 

 

[10] Given the change in the Rule text, current Comment [10] is no longer necessary and has been deleted.

 

[10] The Commission is recommending that throughout the Rules the phrase "consent after consultation" be replaced with "gives informed consent," as defined in Rule 1.0(e). No change in substance is intended.

 

 

RULE 1.18: DUTIES TO PROSPECTIVE CLIENT

 

(a) A person who discusses with a lawyer the possibility of forming a client-lawyer relationship with respect to a matter is a prospective client.

 

(b) Even when no client-lawyer relationship ensues, a lawyer who has had discussions with a prospective client shall not use or reveal information learned in the consultation, except as Rule 1.9 would permit with respect to information of a former client.

 

(c) A lawyer subject to paragraph (b) shall not represent a client with interests materially adverse to those of a prospective client in the same or a substantially related matter if the lawyer received information from the prospective client that could be significantly harmful to that person in the matter, except as provided in paragraph (d). If a lawyer is disqualified from representation under this paragraph, no lawyer in a firm with which that lawyer is associated may knowingly undertake or continue representation in such a matter, except as provided in paragraph (d).

 

(d) When the lawyer has received disqualifying information as defined in paragraph (c), representation is permissible if:

 

(1) both the affected client and the prospective client have given informed consent, confirmed in writing, or:

(2) the lawyer who received the information took reasonable measures to avoid exposure to more disqualifying information than was reasonably necessary to determine whether to represent the prospective client; and

(i) the disqualified lawyer is timely screened from any participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom; and

(ii) written notice is promptly given to the prospective client.

Comment

 

[1] Prospective clients, like clients, may disclose information to a lawyer, place documents or other property in the lawyer's custody, or rely on the lawyer's advice. A lawyer's discussions with a prospective client usually are limited in time and depth and leave both the prospective client and the lawyer free (and sometimes required) to proceed no further. Hence, prospective clients should receive some but not all of the protection afforded clients.

 

[2] Not all persons who communicate information to a lawyer are entitled to protection under this Rule. A person who communicates information unilaterally to a lawyer, without any reasonable expectation that the lawyer is willing to discuss the possibility of forming a client-lawyer relationship, is not a "prospective client" within the meaning of paragraph (a).

 

[3] It is often necessary for a prospective client to reveal information to the lawyer during an initial consultation prior to the decision about formation of a client-lawyer relationship. The lawyer often must learn such information to determine whether there is a conflict of interest with an existing client and whether the matter is one that the lawyer is willing to undertake. Paragraph (b) prohibits the lawyer from using or revealing that information, except as permitted by Rule 1.9, even if the client or lawyer decides not to proceed with the representation. The duty exists regardless of how brief the initial conference may be.

 

[4] In order to avoid acquiring disqualifying information from a prospective client, a lawyer considering whether or not to undertake a new matter should limit the initial interview to only such information as reasonably appears necessary for that purpose. Where the information indicates that a conflict of interest or other reason for non-representation exists, the lawyer should so inform the prospective client or decline the representation. If the prospective client wishes to retain the lawyer, and if consent is possible under Rule 1.7, then consent from all affected present or former clients must be obtained before accepting the representation.

 

 

[5] A lawyer may condition conversations with a prospective client on the person's informed consent that no information disclosed during the consultation will prohibit the lawyer from representing a different client in the matter. See Rule 1.0(e) for the definition of informed consent. If the agreement expressly so provides, the prospective client may also consent to the lawyer's subsequent use of information received from the prospective client.

 

[6] Even in the absence of an agreement, under paragraph (c), the lawyer is not prohibited from representing a client with interests adverse to those of the prospective client in the same or a substantially related matter unless the lawyer has received from the prospective client information that could be significantly harmful if used in the matter.

 

[7] Under paragraph (c), the prohibition in this Rule is imputed to other lawyers as provided in Rule 1.10, but, under paragraph (d)(1), imputation may be avoided if the lawyer obtains the informed consent, confirmed in writing, of both the prospective and affected clients. In the alternative, imputation may be avoided if the conditions of paragraph (d)(2) are met and all disqualified lawyers are timely screened and written notice is promptly given to the prospective client. See Rule 1.0(k) (requirements for screening procedures). Paragraph (d)(2)(i) does not prohibit the screened lawyer from receiving a salary or partnership share established by prior independent agreement, but that lawyer may not receive compensation directly related to the matter in which the lawyer is disqualified.

 

[8] Notice, including a description of the screened lawyer's prior representation and of the screening procedures employed, generally should be given as soon as practicable after the need for screening becomes apparent.

 

[9] For the duty of competence of a lawyer who gives assistance on the merits of a matter to a prospective client, see Rule 1.1. For a lawyer's duties when a prospective client entrusts valuables or papers to the lawyer's care, see Rule 1.15.

 

Model Rule 1.18

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

Rule 1.18 is a proposed new Rule in response to the Commission's concern that important events occur in the period during which a lawyer and prospective client are considering whether to form a client-lawyer relationship. For the most part, the current Model Rules do not address that pre-retention period.

 

TEXT:

 

1. Paragraph (a): Define prospective client

 

Paragraph (a) defines the limited circumstances to which this Rule applies by defining who qualifies as a "prospective client."

 

2. Paragraph (b): Duty of confidentiality owed prospective client

 

Paragraph (b) identifies the duty to treat all communications with a prospective client as confidential. This obligation is a well-settled matter under the law of attorney-client privilege, and the fact that Model Rule 1.9 does not now technically cover these communications is an omission that this proposal corrects.

 

3. Paragraph (c): Prohibit later representation adverse to prospective client

 

Paragraph (c) extends the application of Rule 1.9 to prohibit representation adverse to the prospective client in the same or a substantially related matter. Unlike Rule 1.9, however, this Rule does so only if the lawyer received information from the prospective client that could be "significantly harmful" to that person in the later representation.

The prospective client situation justifies that different treatment because, prior to the representation decision, there is an inevitable period in which it is in the interest of the prospective client to share enough information with the lawyer to determine whether there is a conflict of interest or simple incompatibility. The lawyer may learn very early in the consultation, for example, that the party adverse to the prospective client is a client of the lawyer's firm. If the discussion stops before "significantly harmful" information is shared, it seems that the law firm's regular client should not be denied counsel of its choice if a substantially related matter arises.

Paragraph (c) also extends the prohibition of this Rule to associated lawyers, except as provided in paragraph (d).

 

4. Paragraph (d)(1): Representation permitted with client consent

 

Paragraph (d)(1) makes clear that the prohibition imposed by this Rule can be waived with the informed consent, confirmed in writing, of both the former prospective client and the client on whose behalf the lawyer later plans to take action adverse to the former prospective client. The expression of this requirement is parallel to that in Rules 1.7 and 1.9.

 

5. Paragraph (d)(2): Screening lawyer who conferred with prospective client

 

In the event that "significantly harmful" information is revealed, paragraph (d)(2) provides that the lawyer who received the information may be screened from any involvement in the subsequent matter, and others in the law firm may represent the adverse party, but only if the personally disqualified lawyer acted reasonably in attempting to limit that lawyer’s exposure to potentially harmful information.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] This Comment highlights three ways in which lawyers may assume obligations to prospective clients: disclosure of information, taking possession of documents or property and giving legal advice. It also explains the inevitably tentative quality of the initial consultation and suggests the reason for giving prospective clients somewhat less than the protection offered former clients by Rule 1.9.

 

[2] This Comment explains that lawyers are not disqualified when a person unilaterally communicates information to the lawyer without any reasonable expectation that the lawyer will agree to discuss the possibility of forming a client-lawyer relationship.

 

[3] This Comment explains the lawyer's obligation to preserve confidences of the prospective client, no matter what right the lawyer or law firm may have to undertake later adverse representation.

 

[4] This Comment first explains that a lawyer should obtain only the information required to determine whether to undertake the representation. If a conflict of interest is found to exist, the lawyer should decline the representation or obtain the required consent from all affected clients.

 

[5] This Comment identifies consent in advance of the consultation as one way to avoid later concerns about adverse use of the information obtained. Such an option was expressly approved in ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility Formal Opinion 90-358.

 

[6] This Comment reiterates the right of a lawyer to undertake representation adverse to a prospective client from whom no "significantly harmful" information was obtained.

 

[7] This Comment describes how the imputation otherwise required by paragraph (c) may be avoided by either obtaining the informed consent of the prospective and affected clients under paragraph (d)(1) or by screening under the conditions stated in paragraph (d)(2).

 

[8] This Comment addresses the requirements of paragraph (d)(2)(i) and (ii).

 

[9] This Comment is a cross-reference to existing Rules that deal with two of the three issues identified in Comment [1]. Any advice a lawyer gives must be competent under Rule 1.1, and Rule 1.15 requires a lawyer to care for property of "third persons," which would include prospective clients.

 

 

RULE 2.1: ADVISOR

 

In representing a client, a lawyer shall exercise independent professional judgment and render candid advice. In rendering advice, a lawyer may refer not only to law but to other considerations such as moral, economic, social and political factors, that may be relevant to the client's situation.

 

 

Comment

 

Scope of Advice

 

[1] A client is entitled to straightforward advice expressing the lawyer's honest assessment. Legal advice often involves unpleasant facts and alternatives that a client may be disinclined to confront. In presenting advice, a lawyer endeavors to sustain the client's morale and may put advice in as acceptable a form as honesty permits. However, a lawyer should not be deterred from giving candid advice by the prospect that the advice will be unpalatable to the client.

 

[2] Advice couched in narrow legal terms may be of little value to a client, especially where practical considerations, such as cost or effects on other people, are predominant. Purely technical legal advice, therefore, can sometimes be inadequate. It is proper for a lawyer to refer to relevant moral and ethical considerations in giving advice. Although a lawyer is not a moral advisor as such, moral and ethical considerations impinge upon most legal questions and may decisively influence how the law will be applied.

 

[3] A client may expressly or impliedly ask the lawyer for purely technical advice. When such a request is made by a client experienced in legal matters, the lawyer may accept it at face value. When such a request is made by a client inexperienced in legal matters, however, the lawyer's responsibility as advisor may include indicating that more may be involved than strictly legal considerations.

 

[4] Matters that go beyond strictly legal questions may also be in the domain of another profession. Family matters can involve problems within the professional competence of psychiatry, clinical psychology or social work; business matters can involve problems within the competence of the accounting profession or of financial specialists. Where consultation with a professional in another field is itself something a competent lawyer would recommend, the lawyer should make such a recommendation. At the same time, a lawyer's advice at its best often consists of recommending a course of action in the face of conflicting recommendations of experts.

 

 

Offering Advice

 

[5] In general, a lawyer is not expected to give advice until asked by the client. However, when a lawyer knows that a client proposes a course of action that is likely to result in substantial adverse legal consequences to the client, the lawyer's duty to the client under Rule 1.4 may require that the lawyer act offer advice if the client's course of action is related to the representation. Similarly, when a matter is likely to involve litigation, it may be necessary under Rule 1.4 to inform the client of forms of dispute resolution that might constitute reasonable alternatives to litigation. A lawyer ordinarily has no duty to initiate investigation of a client's affairs or to give advice that the client has indicated is unwanted, but a lawyer may initiate advice to a client when doing so appears to be in the client's interest.

 

 

Model Rule 2.1

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

No change is proposed to the text of this Rule.

 

COMMENT:

 

[5] The Commission has proposed an addition to this paragraph to remind lawyers that informing a client of various forms of dispute resolution may be required under Rule 1.4, i.e., when a different form of dispute resolution would constitute a reasonable alternative to litigation. This addition is proposed in recognition of the increasingly important role being played by alternative dispute resolution in litigation. The remaining changes are for clarification and style.

 

 

RULE 2.2: INTERMEDIARY

 

(a) A lawyer may act as intermediary between clients if:

 

(1) the lawyer consults with each client concerning the implications of the common representation, including the advantages and risks involved, and the effect on the attorney-client privileges, and obtains each client's consent to the common representation;

(2) the lawyer reasonably believes that the matter can be resolved on terms compatible with the clients' best interests, that each client will be able to make adequately informed decisions in the matter and that there is little risk of material prejudice to the interests of any of the clients if the contemplated resolution is unsuccessful; and

(3) the lawyer reasonably believes that the common representation can be undertaken impartially and without improper effect on other responsibilities the lawyer has to any of the clients.

(b) While acting as intermediary, the lawyer shall consult with each client concerning the decisions to be made and the considerations relevant in making them, so that each client can make adequately informed decisions.

 

(c) A lawyer shall withdraw as intermediary if any of the clients so requests, or if any of the conditions stated in paragraph (a) is no longer satisfied. Upon withdrawal, the lawyer shall not continue to represent any of the clients in the matter that was the subject of the intermediation.

 

 

Comment

 

 

[1] A lawyer acts as intermediary under this Rule when the lawyer represents two or more parties with potentially conflicting interests. A key factor in defining the relationship is whether the parties share responsibility for the lawyer's fee, but the common representation may be inferred from other circumstances. Because confusion can arise as to the lawyer's role where each party is not separately represented, it is important that the lawyer make clear the relationship.

 

 

[2] The Rule does not apply to a lawyer acting as arbitrator or mediator between or among parties who are not clients of the lawyer, even where the lawyer has been appointed with the concurrence of the parties. In performing such a role the lawyer may be subject to applicable codes of ethics, such as the Code of Ethics for Arbitration in Commercial Disputes prepared by a joint Committee of the American Bar Association and the American Arbitration Association.

 

 

[3] A lawyer acts as intermediary in seeking to establish or adjust a relationship between clients on an amicable and mutually advantageous basis; for example, in helping to organize a business in which two or more clients are entrepreneurs, working out the financial reorganization of an enterprise in which two or more clients have an interest, arranging a property distribution in settlement of an estate or mediating a dispute between clients. The lawyer seeks to resolve potentially conflicting interests by developing the parties' mutual interests. The alternative can be that each party may have to obtain separate representation, with the possibility in some situations of incurring additional cost, complication or even litigation. Given these and other relevant factors, all the clients may prefer that the lawyer act as intermediary.

 

 

[4] In considering whether to act as intermediary between clients, a lawyer should be mindful that if the intermediation fails the result can be additional cost, embarrassment and recrimination. In some situations the risk of failure is so great that intermediation is plainly impossible. For example, a lawyer cannot undertake common representation of clients between whom contentious litigation is imminent or who contemplate contentious negotiations. More generally, if the relationship between the parties has already assumed definite antagonism, the possibility that the clients' interests can be adjusted by intermediation ordinarily is not very good.

 

 

[5] The appropriateness of intermediation can depend on its form. Forms of intermediation range from informal arbitration, where each client's case is presented by the respective client and the lawyer decides the outcome, to mediation, to common representation where the clients' interests are substantially though not entirely compatible. One form may be appropriate in circumstances where another would not. Other relevant factors are whether the lawyer subsequently will represent both parties on a continuing basis and whether the situation involves creating a relationship between the parties or terminating one.

 

 

Confidentiality and Privilege

 

 

[6] A particularly important factor in determining the appropriateness of intermediation is the effect on client-lawyer confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege. In a common representation, the lawyer is still required both to keep each client adequately informed and to maintain confidentiality of information relating to the representation. See Rules 1.4 and 1.6. Complying with both requirements while acting as intermediary requires a delicate balance. If the balance cannot be maintained, the common representation is improper. With regard to the attorney-client privilege, the prevailing rule is that as between commonly represented clients the privilege does not attach. Hence, it must be assumed that if litigation eventuates between the clients, the privilege will not protect any such communications, and the clients should be so advised.

 

 

[7] Since the lawyer is required to be impartial between commonly represented clients, intermediation is improper when that impartiality cannot be maintained. For example, a lawyer who has represented one of the clients for a long period and in a variety of matters might have difficulty being impartial between that client and one to whom the lawyer has only recently been introduced.

 

 

Consultation

 

 

[8] In acting as intermediary between clients, the lawyer is required to consult with the clients on the implications of doing so, and proceed only upon consent based on such a consultation. The consultation should make clear that the lawyer's role is not that of partisanship normally expected in other circumstances.

 

 

[9] Paragraph (b) is an application of the principle expressed in Rule 1.4. Where the lawyer is intermediary, the clients ordinarily must assume greater responsibility for decisions than when each client is independently represented.

 

 

Withdrawal

 

 

[10] Common representation does not diminish the rights of each client in the client-lawyer relationship. Each has the right to loyal and diligent representation, the right to discharge the lawyer as stated in Rule 1.16, and the protection of Rule 1.9 concerning obligations to a former client.

 

Model Rule 2.2

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

The Commission recommends deleting Rule 2.2 and moving any discussion of common representation to the Rule 1.7 Comment. The Commission is convinced that neither the concept of "intermediation" (as distinct from either "representation" or "mediation') nor the relationship between Rules 2.2 and 1.7 has been well understood. Prior to the adoption of the Model Rules, there was more resistance to the idea of lawyers helping multiple clients to resolve their differences through common representation; thus, the original idea behind Rule 2.2 was to permit common representation when the circumstances were such that the potential benefits for the clients outweighed the potential risks. Rule 2.2, however, contains some limitations not present in Rule 1.7; for example, a flat prohibition on a lawyer continuing to represent one client and not the other if intermediation fails, even if neither client objects. As a result, lawyers not wishing to be bound by such limitations may choose to consider the representation as falling under Rule 1.7 rather than Rule 2.2, and there is nothing in the Rules themselves that clearly dictates a contrary result.

Rather than amending Rule 2.2, the Commission believes that the ideas expressed therein are better dealt with in the Comment to Rule 1.7. There is much in Rule 2.2 and its Comment that applies to all examples of common representation and ought to appear in Rule 1.7. Moreover, there is less resistance to common representation today than there was in 1983; thus, there is no longer any particular need to establish the propriety of common representation through a separate Rule.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] This Comment has been deleted. The Commission believes the term "common representation" is preferable to "intermediation."

 

[2] This Comment has been deleted as no longer necessary since the term "intermediation" has been eliminated.

 

[3] This Comment has been deleted. Some of the material may be found in the Comment to Rule 1.7.

 

[4] This Comment has been deleted. Some of the material may be found in the Comment to Rule 1.7.

 

[5] This Comment has been deleted as no longer necessary after the elimination of the term "intermediation."

 

[6] This Comment has been deleted. Some of the material may be found in the Comment to Rule 1.7.

 

[7] This Comment has been deleted. Some of the material may be found in the Comment to Rule 1.7.

 

[8] This Comment has been deleted. Some of the material may be found in the Comment to Rule 1.7.

 

[9] This Comment has been deleted. Some of the material may be found in the Comment to Rule 1.7.

 

[10] This Comment has been deleted. Some of the material may be found in the Comment to Rule 1.7.

 

 

RULE 2.3: EVALUATION FOR USE BY THIRD PERSONS

 

(a) A lawyer may undertake provide an evaluation of a matter affecting a client for the use of someone other than the client if : (1) the lawyer reasonably believes that making the evaluation is compatible with other aspects of the lawyer's relationship with the client ; and .

 

(2) (b) When the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the evaluation is likely to affect the client's interests materially and adversely, the lawyer shall not provide the evaluation unless the client consents after consultation gives informed consent.

 

 

(b) (c) Except as disclosure is required authorized in connection with a report of an evaluation, information relating to the evaluation is otherwise protected by Rule 1.6.

 

 

Comment

 

Definition

 

[1] An evaluation may be performed at the client's direction but or when impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation. See Rule 1.2. Such an evaluation may be for the primary purpose of establishing information for the benefit of third parties; for example, an opinion concerning the title of property rendered at the behest of a vendor for the information of a prospective purchaser, or at the behest of a borrower for the information of a prospective lender. In some situations, the evaluation may be required by a government agency; for example, an opinion concerning the legality of the securities registered for sale under the securities laws. In other instances, the evaluation may be required by a third person, such as a purchaser of a business.

 

 

[2] Lawyers for the government may be called upon to give a formal opinion on the legality of contemplated government agency action. In making such an evaluation, the government lawyer acts at the behest of the government as the client but for the purpose of establishing the limits of the agency's authorized activity. Such an opinion is to be distinguished from confidential legal advice given agency officials. The critical question is whether the opinion is to be made public.

 

[3] [2] A legal evaluation should be distinguished from an investigation of a person with whom the lawyer does not have a client-lawyer relationship. For example, a lawyer retained by a purchaser to analyze a vendor's title to property does not have a client-lawyer relationship with the vendor. So also, an investigation into a person's affairs by a government lawyer, or by special counsel by a government lawyer, or by special counsel employed by the government, is not an evaluation as that term is used in this Rule. The question is whether the lawyer is retained by the person whose affairs are being examined. When the lawyer is retained by that person, the general rules concerning loyalty to client and preservation of confidences apply, which is not the case if the lawyer is retained by someone else. For this reason, it is essential to identify the person by whom the lawyer is retained. This should be made clear not only to the person under examination, but also to others to whom the results are to be made available.

 

 

Duty Duties Owed to Third Person and Client

 

[4] [3] When the evaluation is intended for the information or use of a third person, a legal duty to that person may or may not arise. That legal question is beyond the scope of this Rule. However, since such an evaluation involves a departure from the normal client-lawyer relationship, careful analysis of the situation is required. The lawyer must be satisfied as a matter of professional judgment that making the evaluation is compatible with other functions undertaken in behalf of the client. For example, if the lawyer is acting as advocate in defending the client against charges of fraud, it would normally be incompatible with that responsibility for the lawyer to perform an evaluation for others concerning the same or a related transaction. Assuming no such impediment is apparent, however, the lawyer should advise the client of the implications of the evaluation, particularly the lawyer's responsibilities to third persons and the duty to disseminate the findings.

 

 

Access to and Disclosure of Information

 

[5] [4] The quality of an evaluation depends on the freedom and extent of the investigation upon which it is based. Ordinarily a lawyer should have whatever latitude of investigation seems necessary as a matter of professional judgment. Under some circumstances, however, the terms of the evaluation may be limited. For example, certain issues or sources may be categorically excluded, or the scope of search may be limited by time constraints or the noncooperation of persons having relevant information. Any such limitations that are material to the evaluation should be described in the report. If after a lawyer has commenced an evaluation, the client refuses to comply with the terms upon which it was understood the evaluation was to have been made, the lawyer's obligations are determined by law, having reference to the terms of the client's agreement and the surrounding circumstances. In no circumstances is the lawyer permitted to knowingly make a false statement of material fact or law in providing an evaluation under this Rule. See Rule 4.1.

 

 

Obtaining Client's Informed Consent

 

[5] Information relating to an evaluation is protected by Rule 1.6. In many situations, providing an evaluation to a third party poses no significant risk to the client; thus, the lawyer may be impliedly authorized to disclose information to carry out the representation. See Rule 1.6(a). Where, however, it is reasonably likely that providing the evaluation will affect the client's interests materially and adversely, the lawyer must first obtain the client's consent after the client has been adequately informed concerning the important possible effects on the client's interests. See Rules 1.6(a) and 1.0(e).

 

Financial Auditors' Requests for Information

 

[6] When a question concerning the legal situation of a client arises at the instance of the client's financial auditor and the question is referred to the lawyer, the lawyer's response may be made in accordance with procedures recognized in the legal profession. Such a procedure is set forth in the American Bar Association Statement of Policy Regarding Lawyers' Responses to Auditors' Requests for Information, adopted in 1975.

 

 

Model Rule 2.3

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Restructure text to clarify circumstances in which lawyer may provide evaluation for use of third persons

 

The Commission recommends restructuring the Rule to clarify its application in two situations. The first is one where the evaluation poses no significant risk to the client. Here, the lawyer may be impliedly authorized to provide the evaluation, and paragraph (a) requires only that the lawyer determine that providing the evaluation is compatible with other aspects of the client-lawyer relationship. The second situation is one where there is a significant risk of material and adverse effect on the client's interests. Here, paragraph (b) provides that the lawyer may not proceed without obtaining the client's informed consent. Paragraph (c) reminds lawyers that the disclosure of information pursuant to providing an evaluation is governed by Rule 1.6, under which disclosures may be impliedly or expressly authorized.

 

2. Paragraph (a): Substitute "provides" for "undertakes"

 

This change reflects the Commission's view that it is not the undertaking that is potentially problematic but rather the actual provision of an evaluation for use by third persons.

 

3. Paragraph (b): Substitute "informed consent" for "consent after consultation"

 

The Commission is recommending that throughout the Rules the phrase "consent after consultation" be replaced with "gives informed consent," as defined in Rule 1.0(e). No change in substance is intended.

 

4. Paragraph (b): Material adverse effect

 

This paragraph clarifies that informed consent is not required in all cases but rather only those in which there is a significant risk of material adverse effect on the client's interests.

 

5. Paragraph (c): Substitute "authorized" for "required"

 

This change reflects the Commission's view that disclosures in connection with an evaluation under this Rule are not "required" but rather "authorized" and that the authorization must conform to the requirements of Rule 1.6.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] The addition to this Comment is designed to explain the relationship between this Rule and Rule 1.2, in which the lawyer's authority to provide an evaluation may be expressly or impliedly authorized.

 

 

[2] The Commission recommends deleting this Comment on the ground that neither its meaning nor its function is clear.

 

Caption The caption has been changed to reflect the context of the Comment, which addresses duties to both third persons and to clients.

 

[4] The Commission recommends the addition of a cross-reference to Rule 4.1 in response to expressions of concern that lawyers should not render an opinion based on stated facts when the lawyer knows the facts to be otherwise.

 

Caption This new caption introduces the new material in Comment [5].

 

[5] This new Comment discusses and explains the requirement to obtain the informed consent of the client if there is a significant risk of material and adverse effect on the client's interests. "Informed consent" is defined in Rule 1.0(e).

 

 

RULE 2.4: LAWYER SERVING AS THIRD-PARTY NEUTRAL

 

(a) A lawyer serves as a third-party neutral when the lawyer assists two or more persons who are not clients of the lawyer to reach a resolution of a dispute or other matter that has arisen between them. Service as a third-party neutral may include service as an arbitrator, a mediator or in such other capacity as will enable the lawyer to assist the parties to resolve the matter.

 

(b) A lawyer serving as a third-party neutral shall inform unrepresented parties that the lawyer is not representing them. When the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that a party does not understand the lawyer's role in the matter, the lawyer shall explain the difference between the lawyer's role as a third-party neutral and a lawyer's role as one who represents a client.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] Alternative dispute resolution has become a substantial part of the civil justice system. Aside from representing clients in dispute-resolution processes, lawyers often serve as third-party neutrals. A third-party neutral is a person, such as a mediator, arbitrator, conciliator or evaluator, who assists the parties, represented or unrepresented, in the resolution of a dispute or in the arrangement of a transaction. Whether a third-party neutral serves primarily as a facilitator, evaluator or decisionmaker depends on the particular process that is either selected by the parties or mandated by a court.

 

[2] The role of a third-party neutral is not unique to lawyers, although, in some court-connected contexts, only lawyers are allowed to serve in this role or to handle certain types of cases. In performing this role, the lawyer may be subject to court rules or other law that apply either to third-party neutrals generally or to lawyers serving as third-party neutrals. Lawyer-neutrals may also be subject to various codes of ethics, such as the Code of Ethics for Arbitration in Commercial Disputes prepared by a joint committee of the American Bar Association and the American Arbitration Association or the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators jointly prepared by the American Bar Association, the American Arbitration Association and the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution.

 

[3] Unlike nonlawyers who serve as third-party neutrals, lawyers serving in this role may experience unique problems as a result of differences between the role of a third-party neutral and a lawyer's service as a client representative. The potential for confusion is significant when the parties are unrepresented in the process. Thus, paragraph (b) requires a lawyer-neutral to inform unrepresented parties that the lawyer is not representing them. For some parties, particularly parties who frequently use dispute-resolution processes, this information will be sufficient. For others, particularly those who are using the process for the first time, more information will be required. Where appropriate, the lawyer should inform unrepresented parties of the important differences between the lawyer's role as third-party neutral and a lawyer's role as a client representative, including the inapplicability of the attorney-client evidentiary privilege. The extent of disclosure required under this paragraph will depend on the particular parties involved and the subject matter of the proceeding, as well as the particular features of the dispute-resolution process selected.

 

[4] A lawyer who serves as a third-party neutral subsequently may be asked to serve as a lawyer representing a client in the same matter. The conflicts of interest that arise for both the individual lawyer and the lawyer's law firm are addressed in Rule 1.12.

 

[5] Lawyers who represent clients in alternative dispute-resolution processes are governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct. When the dispute-resolution process takes place before a tribunal, as in binding arbitration (see Rule 1.0(m)), the lawyer's duty of candor is governed by Rule 3.3. Otherwise, the lawyer's duty of candor toward both the third-party neutral and other parties is governed by Rule 4.1.

 

Model Rule 2.4

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

The role of third-party neutral is not unique to lawyers, but the Commission recognizes that lawyers are increasingly serving in these roles. Unlike nonlawyers who serve as neutrals, lawyers may experience unique ethical problems, for example, those arising from possible confusion about the nature of the lawyer's role. The Commission notes that there have been a number of attempts by various organizations to promulgate codes of ethics for neutrals (e.g., aspirational codes for arbitrators or mediators or court enacted rules governing court-sponsored mediators), but such codes do not typically address the special problems of lawyers. The Commission's proposed approach is designed to promote dispute resolution parties' understanding of the lawyer-neutral's role.

 

1. Paragraph (a): Define "third-party neutral"

 

Paragraph (a) defines the term "third-party neutral" and emphasizes assistance at the request of the parties who participate in the resolution of disputes and other matters.

 

2. Paragraph (b): Inform parties of nature of lawyer's role

 

Paragraph (b) requires the lawyer serving as a third-party neutral to inform unrepresented parties in all cases that the lawyer does not represent them. The potential for confusion is sufficiently great to mandate this requirement in all cases involving unrepresented parties. Consistent with the standard of Rule 4.3, paragraph (b) requires the lawyer to explain the differences in a lawyer's role as a third-party neutral and the role of a lawyer representing a party in situations where the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the unrepresented party does not understand the lawyer's role as a third-party neutral.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] This introductory Comment describes dispute-resolution processes and notes that the specific role of the third-party neutral may depend on whether the process is court-annexed or private.

 

[2] This Comment cross-references other law and ethics codes applicable to lawyers serving as third-party neutrals. The Commission believes the referenced material will be helpful to lawyers unfamiliar with existing standards in this area.

 

[3] This Comment explains the rationale for the requirement of paragraph (b) that lawyers inform unrepresented parties that the lawyer is not representing them and, in some cases, explain the differences between the lawyer's role as neutral and the role of a lawyer representing a party.

 

[4] This Comment cross-references Rule 1.12, which addresses the conflicts of interest that arise when a lawyer-neutral or that lawyer's firm is asked to represent a client in a matter that is the same as a matter in which the lawyer served as a third-party neutral.

 

[5] This Comment distinguishes between the lawyer's duty of candor in an arbitration and in other dispute resolution proceedings. Because a binding arbitration is a "tribunal" as defined in Rule 1.0(m), the lawyer's duty of candor in such a proceeding is governed by Rule 3.3. In other dispute-resolution proceedings, the lawyer's duty of candor toward the third-party neutral and the other parties is governed by Rule 4.1.

 

 

RULE 3.1: MERITORIOUS CLAIMS AND CONTENTIONS

 

A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous, which includes a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law. A lawyer for the defendant in a criminal proceeding, or the respondent in a proceeding that could result in incarceration, may nevertheless so defend the proceeding as to require that every element of the case be established.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] The advocate has a duty to use legal procedure for the fullest benefit of the client's cause, but also a duty not to abuse legal procedure. The law, both procedural and substantive, establishes the limits within which an advocate may proceed. However, the law is not always clear and never is static. Accordingly, in determining the proper scope of advocacy, account must be taken of the law's ambiguities and potential for change.

 

[2] The filing of an action or defense or similar action taken for a client is not frivolous merely because the facts have not first been fully substantiated or because the lawyer expects to develop vital evidence only by discovery. What is required of lawyers, however, is that they inform themselves about the facts of their clients' cases and the applicable law and determine that they can make good faith arguments in support of their clients' positions. Such action is not frivolous even though the lawyer believes that the client's position ultimately will not prevail. The action is frivolous, however, if the client desires to have the action taken primarily for the purpose of harassing or maliciously injuring a person, or, if the lawyer is unable either to make a good faith argument on the merits of the action taken or to support the action taken by a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.

 

 

[3] The lawyer's obligations under this Rule are subordinate to federal or state constitutional law that entitles a defendant in a criminal matter to the assistance of counsel in presenting a claim that otherwise would be prohibited by this Rule.

 

Model Rule 3.1

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

 

Add reference to "law and fact"

 

This change makes explicit the requirement that a claim must have a nonfrivolous basis in both law and fact. See also Comment [2]. No change in substance is intended.

 

COMMENT:

 

[2] A new sentence has been added to remind lawyers that they must act reasonably to inform themselves about the facts and law pertinent to a claim they will make on behalf of a client. The reference to a client's purpose to harass has been dropped because the client's purpose is not relevant to the objective merits of the client's claim.

 

[3] This new Comment acknowledges the primacy of constitutional law that might require a lawyer to take action on behalf of a criminal defendant that otherwise would violate this Rule.

 

 

RULE 3.2: EXPEDITING LITIGATION

 

A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation consistent with the interests of the client.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] Dilatory practices bring the administration of justice into disrepute. Delay should not be indulged merely for the convenience of the advocates, or Although there will be occasions when a lawyer may properly seek a postponement for personal reasons, it is not proper for a lawyer to routinely fail to expedite litigation solely for the convenience of the advocates. Nor will a failure to expedite be reasonable if done for the purpose of frustrating an opposing party's attempt to obtain rightful redress or repose. It is not a justification that similar conduct is often tolerated by the bench and bar. The question is whether a competent lawyer acting in good faith would regard the course of action as having some substantial purpose other than delay. Realizing financial or other benefit from otherwise improper delay in litigation is not a legitimate interest of the client.

 

 

Model Rule 3.2

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

The Commission is not recommending any change to the Rule text.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] The Commission concluded that the reference in the second sentence to indulging delay "merely for the convenience of the advocates" is too restrictive and modified it to recognize that there are circumstances where it is acceptable for a lawyer to request a postponement for personal reasons.

 

 

RULE 3.3: CANDOR TOWARD THE TRIBUNAL

 

(a) A lawyer shall not knowingly:

 

(1) make a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal or fail to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the tribunal by the lawyer;

(2) fail to disclose a material fact to a tribunal when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by the client;

(3) (2) fail to disclose to the tribunal legal authority in the controlling jurisdiction known to the lawyer to be directly adverse to the position of the client and not disclosed by opposing counsel; or

(4) (3) offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer , the lawyer’s client, or a witness called by the lawyer, has offered material evidence and the lawyer comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures , including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal. A lawyer may refuse to offer evidence, other than the testimony of a defendant in a criminal matter, that the lawyer reasonably believes is false.

(b) A lawyer who represents a client in an adjudicative proceeding and who knows that a person intends to engage, is engaging or has engaged in criminal or fraudulent conduct related to the proceeding shall take reasonable remedial measures, including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal.

 

(b) (c) The duties stated in paragraph paragraphs (a) and (b) continue to the conclusion of the proceeding, and apply even if compliance requires disclosure of information otherwise protected by Rule 1.6.

 

 

(c) A lawyer may refuse to offer evidence that the lawyer reasonably believes is false.

 

(d) In an ex parte proceeding, a lawyer shall inform the tribunal of all material facts known to the lawyer that will enable the tribunal to make an informed decision, whether or not the facts are adverse.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] This Rule governs the conduct of a lawyer who is representing a client in the proceedings of a tribunal. See Rule 1.0(m) for the definition of "tribunal." It also applies when the lawyer is representing a client in an ancillary proceeding conducted pursuant to the tribunal’s adjudicative authority, such as a deposition. Thus, for example, paragraph (a)(3) requires a lawyer to take reasonable remedial measures if the lawyer comes to know that a client who is testifying in a deposition has offered evidence that is false.

 

[1] [2] The advocate's task is This Rule sets forth the special duties of lawyers as officers of the court to avoid conduct that undermines the integrity of the adjudicative process. A lawyer acting as an advocate in an adjudicative proceeding has an obligation to present the client's case with persuasive force. Performance of that duty while maintaining confidences of the client , however, is qualified by the advocate's duty of candor to the tribunal. However Consequently, an advocate does although a lawyer in an adversary proceeding is not required to present an impartial exposition of the law or to vouch for the evidence submitted in a cause ; , the lawyer must not allow the tribunal is responsible for assessing its probative value to be misled by false statements of law or fact or evidence that the lawyer knows to be false.

 

 

Representations by a Lawyer

 

[2] [3] An advocate is responsible for pleadings and other documents prepared for litigation, but is usually not required to have personal knowledge of matters asserted therein, for litigation documents ordinarily present assertions by the client, or by someone on the client's behalf, and not assertions by the lawyer. Compare Rule 3.1. However, an assertion purporting to be on the lawyer's own knowledge, as in an affidavit by the lawyer or in a statement in open court, may properly be made only when the lawyer knows the assertion is true or believes it to be true on the basis of a reasonably diligent inquiry. There are circumstances where failure to make a disclosure is the equivalent of an affirmative misrepresentation. The obligation prescribed in Rule 1.2(d) not to counsel a client to commit or assist the client in committing a fraud applies in litigation. Regarding compliance with Rule 1.2(d), see the Comment to that Rule. See also the Comment to Rule 8.4(b).

 

 

Misleading Legal Argument

 

[3] [4] Legal argument based on a knowingly false representation of law constitutes dishonesty toward the tribunal. A lawyer is not required to make a disinterested exposition of the law, but must recognize the existence of pertinent legal authorities. Furthermore, as stated in paragraph (a) (3) (2), an advocate has a duty to disclose directly adverse authority in the controlling jurisdiction that has not been disclosed by the opposing party. The underlying concept is that legal argument is a discussion seeking to determine the legal premises properly applicable to the case.

 

 

False Offering Evidence

 

[4] When evidence that a lawyer knows to be false is provided by a person who is not the client, the lawyer must refuse to offer it regardless of the client's wishes.

 

[5] When false evidence is offered by the client, however, a conflict may arise between the lawyer's duty to keep the client's revelations confidential and the duty of candor to the court. Upon ascertaining that material evidence is false, the lawyer should seek to persuade the client that the evidence should not be offered or, if it has been offered, that its false character should immediately be disclosed. If the persuasion is ineffective, the lawyer must take reasonable remedial measures.

 

[5] Paragraph (a)(3) requires that the lawyer refuse to offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false, regardless of the client’s wishes. This duty is premised on the lawyer’s obligation as an officer of the court to prevent the trier of fact from being misled by false evidence. A lawyer does not violate this Rule if the lawyer offers the evidence for the purpose of establishing its falsity.

 

[6] If a lawyer knows that the client intends to testify falsely or wants the lawyer to introduce false evidence, the lawyer should seek to persuade the client that the evidence should not be offered. If the persuasion is ineffective and the lawyer continues to represent the client, the lawyer must refuse to offer the false evidence. If only a portion of a witness's testimony will be false, the lawyer may call the witness to testify but may not elicit or otherwise permit the witness to present the testimony that the lawyer knows is false.

 

[7] The duties stated in paragraphs (a) and (b) apply to all lawyers, including defense counsel in criminal cases. In some jurisdictions, however, courts have required counsel to present the accused as a witness or to give a narrative statement if the accused so desires, even if counsel knows that the testimony or statement will be false. The obligation of the advocate under the Rules of Professional Conduct is subordinate to such requirements. See also Comment [9].

 

[8] The prohibition against offering false evidence only applies if the lawyer knows that the evidence is false. A lawyer’s reasonable belief that evidence is false does not preclude its presentation to the trier of fact. A lawyer’s knowledge that evidence is false, however, can be inferred from the circumstances. See Rule 1.0(f). Thus, although a lawyer should resolve doubts about the veracity of testimony or other evidence in favor of the client, the lawyer cannot ignore an obvious falsehood.

 

Refusing to Offer Proof Believed to Be False

 

[14] [9] Generally speaking, Although paragraph (a)(3) only prohibits a lawyer has authority from offering evidence the lawyer knows to be false, it permits the lawyer to refuse to offer testimony or other proof that the lawyer reasonably believes is untrustworthy false. Offering such proof may reflect adversely on the lawyer's ability to discriminate in the quality of evidence and thus impair the lawyer's effectiveness as an advocate. In criminal cases, however, a lawyer may, in some jurisdictions, be denied this authority by constitutional requirements governing the right to counsel. Because of the special protections historically provided criminal defendants, however, this Rule does not permit a lawyer to refuse to offer the testimony of such a client where the lawyer reasonably believes but does not know that the testimony will be false. Unless the lawyer knows the testimony will be false, the lawyer must honor the client’s decision to testify. See also Comment [7].

 

Perjury by a Criminal Defendant

 

[7] Whether an advocate for a criminally accused has the same duty of disclosure has been intensely debated. While it is agreed that the lawyer should seek to persuade the client to refrain from perjurious testimony, there has been dispute concerning the lawyer's duty when that persuasion fails. If the confrontation with the client occurs before trial, the lawyer ordinarily can withdraw. Withdrawal before trial may not be possible, however, either because trial is imminent, or because the confrontation with the client does not take place until the trial itself, or because no other counsel is available.

 

[8] The most difficult situation, therefore, arises in a criminal case where the accused insists on testifying when the lawyer knows that the testimony is perjurious. The lawyer's effort to rectify the situation can increase the likelihood of the client's being convicted as well as opening the possibility of a prosecution for perjury. On the other hand, if the lawyer does not exercise control over the proof, the lawyer participates, although in a merely passive way, in deception of the court.

 

[9] Three resolutions of this dilemma have been proposed. One is to permit the accused to testify by a narrative without guidance through the lawyer's questioning. This compromises both contending principles; it exempts the lawyer from the duty to disclose false evidence but subjects the client to an implicit disclosure of information imparted to counsel. Another suggested resolution, of relatively recent origin, is that the advocate be entirely excused from the duty to reveal perjury if the perjury is that of the client. This is a coherent solution but makes the advocate a knowing instrument of perjury.

 

[10] The other resolution of the dilemma is that the lawyer must reveal the client's perjury if necessary to rectify the situation. A criminal accused has a right to the assistance of an advocate, a right to testify and a right of confidential communication with counsel. However, an accused should not have a right to assistance of counsel in committing perjury. Furthermore, an advocate has an obligation, not only in professional ethics but under the law as well, to avoid implication in the commission of perjury or other falsification of evidence. See Rule 1.2(d).

 

Remedial Measures

 

[11] [10] If perjured testimony or false Having offered material evidence has been offered in the belief that it was true, a lawyer may subsequently come to know that the evidence is false. Or, a lawyer may be surprised when the lawyer’s client, or another witness called by the lawyer, offers testimony the lawyer knows to be false, either during the lawyer’s direct examination or in response to cross-examination by the opposing lawyer. In such situations or if the lawyer knows of the falsity of testimony elicited from the client during a deposition, the lawyer must take reasonable remedial measures. In such situations, the advocate's proper course ordinarily is to remonstrate with the client confidentially , advise the client of the lawyer’s duty of candor to the tribunal and seek the client’s cooperation with respect to the withdrawal or correction of the false statements or evidence. If that fails, the advocate should seek to withdraw if that will remedy the situation must take further remedial action. If withdrawal from the representation is not permitted or will not remedy the situation or is impossible undo the effect of the false evidence, the advocate should must make such disclosure to the court tribunal as is reasonably necessary to remedy the situation, even if doing so requires the lawyer to reveal information that otherwise would be protected by Rule 1.6. It is for the court tribunal then to determine what should be done — making a statement about the matter to the trier of fact, ordering a mistrial or perhaps nothing. If the false testimony was that of the client, the client may controvert the lawyer's version of their communication when the lawyer discloses the situation to the court. If there is an issue whether the client has committed perjury, the lawyer cannot represent the client in resolution of the issue, and a mistrial may be unavoidable. An unscrupulous client might in this way attempt to produce a series of mistrials and thus escape prosecution. However, a second such encounter could be construed as a deliberate abuse of the right to counsel and as such a waiver of the right to further representation.

 

[6] [11] Except in the defense of a criminal accused, the rule generally recognized is that, if necessary to rectify the situation, an advocate must disclose the existence of the client's deception to the court or to the other party. Such a The disclosure of a client’s false testimony can result in grave consequences to the client, including not only a sense of betrayal but also loss of the case and perhaps a prosecution for perjury. But the alternative is that the lawyer cooperate in deceiving the court, thereby subverting the truth-finding process which the adversary system is designed to implement. See Rule 1.2(d). Furthermore, unless it is clearly understood that the lawyer will act upon the duty to disclose the existence of false evidence, the client can simply reject the lawyer's advice to reveal the false evidence and insist that the lawyer keep silent. Thus the client could in effect coerce the lawyer into being a party to fraud on the court.

 

 

Preserving Integrity of Adjudicative Process

 

[12] Lawyers have a special obligation to protect a tribunal against criminal or fraudulent conduct that undermines the integrity of the adjudicative process, such as bribing, intimidating or otherwise unlawfully communicating with a witness, juror, court official or other participant in the proceeding, unlawfully destroying or concealing documents or other evidence or failing to disclose information to the tribunal when required by law to do so. Thus, paragraph (b) requires a lawyer to take reasonable remedial measures, including disclosure if necessary, whenever the lawyer knows that a person, including the lawyer’s client, intends to engage, is engaging or has engaged in criminal or fraudulent conduct related to the proceeding.

 

Constitutional Requirements

 

[12] The general rule - that an advocate must reveal the existence of perjury with respect to a material fact, even that of a client --applies to defense counsel in criminal cases, as well as in other instances. However, the definition of the lawyer's ethical duty in such a situation may be qualified by constitutional provisions for due process and the right to counsel in criminal cases. In some jurisdictions these provisions have been construed to require that counsel present an accused as a witness if the accused wishes to testify, even if counsel knows the testimony will be false. The obligation of the advocate under these Rules is subordinate to such a constitutional requirement.

 

Duration of Obligation

 

[13] A practical time limit on the obligation to rectify the presentation of false evidence or false statements of law and fact has to be established. The conclusion of the proceeding is a reasonably definite point for the termination of the obligation. A proceeding has concluded within the meaning of this Rule when a final judgment in the proceeding has been affirmed on appeal or the time for review has passed.

 

Ex Parte Proceedings

 

[15] [14] Ordinarily, an advocate has the limited responsibility of presenting one side of the matters that a tribunal should consider in reaching a decision; the conflicting position is expected to be presented by the opposing party. However, in any ex parte proceeding, such as an application for a temporary restraining order, there is no balance of presentation by opposing advocates. The object of an ex parte proceeding is nevertheless to yield a substantially just result. The judge has an affirmative responsibility to accord the absent party just consideration. The lawyer for the represented party has the correlative duty to make disclosures of material facts known to the lawyer and that the lawyer reasonably believes are necessary to an informed decision.

 

 

Withdrawal

 

[15] Normally, a lawyer’s compliance with the duty of candor imposed by this Rule does not require that the lawyer withdraw from the representation of a client whose interests will be or have been adversely affected by the lawyer’s disclosure. The lawyer may, however, be required by Rule 1.16(a) to seek permission of the tribunal to withdraw if the lawyer’s compliance with this Rule’s duty of candor results in such an extreme deterioration of the client-lawyer relationship that the lawyer can no longer competently represent the client. Also see Rule 1.16(b) for the circumstances in which a lawyer will be permitted to seek a tribunal’s permission to withdraw. In connection with a request for permission to withdraw that is premised on a client’s misconduct, a lawyer may reveal information relating to the representation only to the extent reasonably necessary to comply with this Rule or as otherwise permitted by Rule 1.6.

 

Model Rule 3.3

Reporter’s Explanation of Changes

 

The Commission has revised and reorganized this Rule to clarify a lawyer’s obligation of candor to the tribunal with respect to testimony given and actions taken by the client and other witnesses. The commentary was reorganized and expanded to address some recurring situations not directly addressed in the Rule. In some particulars, the lawyer’s obligations to the tribunal have been strengthened. For example, the Rule now makes clear that the lawyer must not allow the introduction of false evidence and must take remedial steps where the lawyer comes to know that material evidence offered by the client or a witness called by the lawyer is false – regardless of the client’s wishes. As under the existing Rule, the lawyer’s obligations to the tribunal may require the lawyer to reveal information otherwise protected by Rule 1.6. The lawyer’s obligation in the existing Rule to avoid assisting client crime or fraud is replaced by a broader obligation to ensure the integrity of the adjudicative process. The lawyer must take remedial measures whenever the lawyer comes to know that any person is engaging or has engaged in criminal or fraudulent conduct related to the proceeding, such as jury tampering or document destruction.

 

In one special case, however, the lawyer’s obligation to the client has been reaffirmed and strengthened, and that is where the lawyer represents the defendant in a criminal proceeding. For the first time the Rule text will address the special obligations of a criminal defense lawyer, providing that such a lawyer does not have the same discretion as other lawyers regarding the client’s own testimony. While a criminal defense lawyer is subject to the general rule prohibiting the offering of testimony the lawyer knows to be false, the lawyer may not refuse to allow a defendant to testify in the defendant's defense if the lawyer only reasonably believes the testimony will be false. The commentary also provides that where a court insists that a criminal defendant be permitted to testify in the defendant's defense, the lawyer commits no ethical violation in allowing the client to do so even if the lawyer knows the client intends to lie.

 

TEXT:

 

1. Paragraph (a)(1): Amplify lawyer’s duty not to make false statements to tribunal and add obligation to correct false statements previously made

 

The Commission recommends deletion of the term "material" that presently qualifies the lawyer’s duty not to knowingly make false statements of fact or law to a tribunal, bringing this duty into conformity with the duty not to offer false evidence set forth in paragraph (a)(3). A new phrase addresses the lawyer’s duty to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the tribunal, also paralleling the duty to take remedial measures in paragraph (a)(3).

 

2. Paragraph (a)(2): Delete existing provision on lawyer’s duty to disclose client crime or fraud

 

The Commission is deleting current paragraph (a)(2), which provides that a lawyer shall not knowingly fail to disclose to the tribunal material facts when necessary to avoid assisting client crime or fraud. The lawyer’s duty to disclose crime or fraud in connection with a proceeding before a tribunal is now addressed more comprehensively in paragraph (b). The lawyer also has disclosure obligations under paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(3), where the lawyer comes to know of the falsity of statements previously made to the tribunal or evidence previously offered. A lawyer’s general duty to avoid assisting client crime or fraud is addressed in Rules 1.2(d) and 4.1.

 

3. Paragraph (a)(3): Amplify duty to take remedial measures in connection with material evidence lawyer comes to know is false and include discretion to refuse to offer evidence lawyer reasonably believes is false

 

The Commission is amending current paragraph (a)(4) to extend its remedial obligations to situations where the lawyer’s client or a witness called by the lawyer has offered material evidence that the lawyer subsequently comes to know is false. Required remedial measures may, if necessary, include disclosure to the tribunal.

The Commission has also transferred to this paragraph the substance of current paragraph (c), which permits a lawyer to refuse to offer evidence that the lawyer reasonably believes (but does not know) is false. This grant of discretion, however, has been limited so it will not apply to the testimony of a client who is exercising the constitutional right to testify in a criminal case.

 

4. Paragraph (b): Duty to preserve integrity of adjudicative process

 

The Commission recommends adoption of a new provision (b) addressing the lawyer’s obligation to take reasonable remedial measures, including disclosure if necessary, where the lawyer comes to know that a person is engaging or has engaged in any sort of criminal or fraudulent conduct related to the proceeding. This new provision incorporates the substance of current paragraph (a)(2), as well as ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility DR 7-102(B)(2) ("A lawyer who receives information clearly establishing that a person other than the client has perpetrated a fraud upon a tribunal shall promptly reveal the fraud to the tribunal") and DR 7-108(G) ("A lawyer shall reveal promptly to the court improper conduct by a venireperson or juror, or by another toward a venireperson or juror or a member of the venireperson’s or juror’s family, of which the lawyer has knowledge").

 

5. Paragraph (c): Duration of duties in paragraphs (a) and (b)

 

The Commission is not changing the scope and duration of the lawyer’s duty of candor to the tribunal but extending it to paragraph (b).

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] This new Comment explains that the duties contained in Rule 3.3 apply in all proceedings before a "tribunal" as defined in Rule 1.0(m). It explains that they also apply in ancillary proceedings conducted pursuant to a tribunal’s adjudicative authority, such as a deposition.

 

[2] The revisions to current Comment [1] clarify that a lawyer has a duty to avoid conduct that undermines the integrity of the adjudicative process and in this regard must not allow the tribunal to be misled by false statements of law or fact.

Caption The caption "Legal Argument" more accurately describes the subjects addressed in Comment [4].

 

[4] The change reflects paragraph renumbering in the Rule text. No change in substance is intended.

 

Caption The caption "Offering Evidence" more accurately describes the subjects addressed in Comments [5] through [9].

 

 

[4] This Comment has been replaced by Comment [5].

 

 

[5] This Comment has been replaced and supplemented by Comment [9].

 

[5] This new Comment replaces current Comments [4] and [5] and explains that paragraph (a)(3) prohibits a lawyer from offering testimony or other evidence the lawyer knows is false, regardless of the client’s wishes. Unlike the current Rule, paragraph (a)(3) extends to evidence provided by the client. The Comment explains that a lawyer does not violate the Rule if the lawyer knowingly elicits false testimony for the purpose of subsequently establishing its falsity.

 

[6] This new Comment explains the lawyer’s duty where the lawyer’s client intends to testify falsely or wants the lawyer to introduce false testimony. The lawyer must seek to dissuade the client and, if this is unsuccessful, must refuse to offer the false evidence.

 

[7] This new Comment explains that the duties in paragraphs (a) and (b) apply to defense counsel in criminal cases. Where a court requires a lawyer to permit a criminal defendant to give testimony that the lawyer knows is false, however, the obligation of the advocate under these Rules is subordinate to such a requirement.

 

[8] This new Comment explains that while the prohibition against offering false testimony in paragraph (a) applies only where the lawyer knows that the evidence is false, such knowledge may be inferred from the circumstances.

 

Caption The caption "Refusing to Offer Proof Reasonably Believed to Be False" has been deleted because the Comment to which it referred in now subsumed under "Offering Evidence."

 

[9] This Comment, which revises current Comment [14], explains that while paragraph (a)(3) prohibits a lawyer from offering evidence that the lawyer knows is false, a lawyer may refuse to offer evidence that the lawyer only reasonably believes is false, including evidence offered by the client — except where the client is a defendant in a criminal case. Because of the special protections historically provided criminal defendants, criminal-defense counsel do not have the same latitude to refuse to offer client testimony they reasonably believe (but do not know) is false. (See also Comment [7] supra.)

 

Caption The caption "Perjury by a Criminal Defendant" has been deleted because of the deletion of current Comments [7] through [10].

 

 

[7] through [10] These Comments have been deleted as no longer helpful to the analysis of questions arising under this Rule. No change in substance is intended.

 

[10] This Comment revises and expands upon current Comment [11] to describe the remedial steps a lawyer must take if the lawyer is surprised by a witness’s false testimony or where the lawyer subsequently comes to know that evidence the lawyer has offered is false. These steps include remonstrating with the client, consulting with the client about the lawyer’s duty of candor to the tribunal and withdrawing from the representation. If necessary to remedy the situation, the lawyer may make disclosure to the tribunal even if doing so would require the lawyer to reveal information otherwise protected by Rule 1.6.

 

[11] The revisions to current Comment [6] are editorial in nature. No change in substance is intended.

 

Caption A new caption, "Preserving Integrity of Adjudicative Process," was added to highlight the Comment [12] discussion of paragraph (b).

 

[12] This new Comment explains the obligations imposed by paragraph (b), where the lawyer knows that any person intends to engage, is engaging or has engaged in criminal or fraudulent conduct that undermines the integrity of the adjudicative process. Examples of such conduct are bribing, intimidating or otherwise unlawfully communicating with a witness, juror, court official or other participant in the proceeding; unlawfully destroying or concealing documents or other evidence or failing to disclose information to the tribunal when required by law to do so. This could include lies or misrepresentations by the opposing party or witnesses called by the opposing party, which are not covered by paragraph (a)(3). The obligations imposed by this paragraph will ordinarily subsume those imposed by current paragraph (a)(2), which has been deleted.

 

Caption The caption "Constitutional Requirements" has been deleted because the discussion of constitutional requirements in current Comment [12] has been incorporated into Comments [7] and [9].

 

 

[12] This Comment has been deleted because the issues it addressed are now addressed in Comments [7] and [9].

 

[13] Revisions to this Comment explain that the obligation of candor to the tribunal continues until a final judgment has been affirmed on appeal or the time for review has passed.

 

Caption The new caption "Withdrawal" sets off the discussion in new Comment [15].

 

[15] This new Comment explains the relationship between a lawyer’s compliance with the duty of candor to the tribunal and the lawyer’s obligation to withdraw from the representation under Rule 1.16. While a lawyer’s compliance with the Rule does not normally require withdrawal, the lawyer may be obliged to seek the tribunal’s permission to withdraw if there results "such an extreme deterioration of the client-lawyer relationship that the lawyer can no longer competently represent the client." The Comment also addresses the issue of disclosure in circumstances where withdrawal is permitted but not required.

 

 

RULE 3.4: FAIRNESS TO OPPOSING PARTY AND COUNSEL

 

A lawyer shall not:

 

(a) unlawfully obstruct another party's access to evidence or unlawfully alter, destroy or conceal a document or other material having potential evidentiary value. A lawyer shall not counsel or assist another person to do any such act;

 

(b) falsify evidence, counsel or assist a witness to testify falsely, or offer an inducement to a witness that is prohibited by law;

 

(c) knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal, except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists;

 

(d) in pretrial procedure, make a frivolous discovery request or fail to make reasonably diligent effort to comply with a legally proper discovery request by an opposing party;

 

(e) in trial, allude to any matter that the lawyer does not reasonably believe is relevant or that will not be supported by admissible evidence, assert personal knowledge of facts in issue except when testifying as a witness, or state a personal opinion as to the justness of a cause, the credibility of a witness, the culpability of a civil litigant or the guilt or innocence of an accused; or

 

(f) request a person other than a client to refrain from voluntarily giving relevant information to another party unless:

 

(1) the person is a relative or an employee or other agent of a client; and

(2) the lawyer reasonably believes that the person's interests will not be adversely affected by refraining from giving such information.

Comment

 

[1] The procedure of the adversary system contemplates that the evidence in a case is to be marshalled competitively by the contending parties. Fair competition in the adversary system is secured by prohibitions against destruction or concealment of evidence, improperly influencing witnesses, obstructive tactics in discovery procedure, and the like.

 

[2] Documents and other items of evidence are often essential to establish a claim or defense. Subject to evidentiary privileges, the right of an opposing party, including the government, to obtain evidence through discovery or subpoena is an important procedural right. The exercise of that right can be frustrated if relevant material is altered, concealed or destroyed. Applicable law in many jurisdictions makes it an offense to destroy material for purpose of impairing its availability in a pending proceeding or one whose commencement can be foreseen. Falsifying evidence is also generally a criminal offense. Paragraph (a) applies to evidentiary material generally, including computerized information. Applicable law may permit a lawyer to take temporary possession of physical evidence of client crimes for the purpose of conducting a limited examination that will not alter or destroy material characteristics of the evidence. In such a case, applicable law may require the lawyer to turn the evidence over to the police or other prosecuting authority, depending on the circumstances.

 

[3] With regard to paragraph (b), it is not improper to pay a witness's expenses or to compensate an expert witness on terms permitted by law. The common law rule in most jurisdictions is that it is improper to pay an occurrence witness any fee for testifying and that it is improper to pay an expert witness a contingent fee.

 

[4] Paragraph (f) permits a lawyer to advise employees of a client to refrain from giving information to another party, for the employees may identify their interests with those of the client. See also Rule 4.2.

 

 

Model Rule 3.4

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

The Commission is not recommending any change in the Rule text.

 

COMMENT:

 

[2] Language has been added to alert lawyers to the law governing possession of physical evidence of client crimes.

 

 

RULE 3.5: IMPARTIALITY AND DECORUM OF THE TRIBUNAL

 

A lawyer shall not:

 

(a) seek to influence a judge, juror, prospective juror or other official by means prohibited by law;

 

(b) communicate ex parte with such a person except as permitted during the proceeding unless authorized to do so by law or court order;

 

 

(c) communicate with a juror or prospective juror after discharge of the jury if:

 

(1) the communication is prohibited by law or court order;

(2) the juror has made known to the lawyer a desire not to communicate; or

(3) the communication involves misrepresentation, coercion, duress or harassment; or

(c) (d) engage in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] Many forms of improper influence upon a tribunal are proscribed by criminal law. Others are specified in the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, with which an advocate should be familiar. A lawyer is required to avoid contributing to a violation of such provisions.

 

 

[2] During a proceeding a lawyer may not communicate ex parte with persons serving in an official capacity in the proceeding, such as judges, masters or jurors, unless authorized to do so by law or court order.

 

[3] A lawyer may on occasion want to communicate with a juror or prospective juror after the jury has been discharged. The lawyer may do so unless the communication is prohibited by law or a court order but must respect the desire of the juror not to talk with the lawyer. The lawyer may not engage in improper conduct during the communication.

 

[2] [4] The advocate's function is to present evidence and argument so that the cause may be decided according to law. Refraining from abusive or obstreperous conduct is a corollary of the advocate's right to speak on behalf of litigants. A lawyer may stand firm against abuse by a judge but should avoid reciprocation; the judge's default is no justification for similar dereliction by an advocate. An advocate can present the cause, protect the record for subsequent review and preserve professional integrity by patient firmness no less effectively than by belligerence or theatrics.

 

 

[5] The duty to refrain from disruptive conduct applies to any proceeding of a tribunal, including a deposition. See Rule 1.0(m).

 

Model Rule 3.5

Reporter’s Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Paragraph (b)

 

The change to specify communication "during the proceeding" was made in light of the Commission’s decision to treat post-discharge communication with jurors in a new paragraph (c). The reference to "court order" has been added to alert lawyers to the availability of judicial relief in the rare situation in which an ex parte communication is needed.

 

2. Paragraph (c)

 

Rule 3.5(b) has been held to be unconstitutionally overbroad when applied to post-verdict communications with jurors. See Rapp v. Disciplinary Board of the Hawaii Supreme Court, 916 F. Supp. 1525 (D.Hawaii, 1996). The Commission has proposed the addition of a new paragraph (c) that permits such communications unless prohibited by law or court order or the lawyer knows that the juror does not wish to be contacted. Also prohibited, of course, are communications involving misrepresentation, duress, coercion or harassment. The proposal permits more post-verdict communication with jurors than the current Rule but affords the juror greater protection than did ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility DR 7-108(D) which provided, "After discharge of the jury from further consideration of a case with which the lawyer was connected, the lawyer shall not ask questions of or make comments to a member of that jury that are calculated merely to harass or embarrass the juror or to influence his actions in future jury service."

 

COMMENT:

 

[2] and [3] These Comments have been added to reflect the change in the Rule text with respect to communication with jurors after discharge of the jury.

 

[5] This new Comment makes clear that paragraph (d) applies to any proceeding of a tribunal and calls particular attention to its applicability to depositions.

 

 

RULE 3.6: TRIAL PUBLICITY

 

(a) A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to the lawyer knows or reasonably should know will be disseminated by means of public communication if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that it and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter.

 

(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a lawyer may state:

 

(1) the claim, offense or defense involved and, except when prohibited by law, the identity of the persons involved;

(2) information contained in a public record;

(3) that an investigation of a matter is in progress;

(4) the scheduling or result of any step in litigation;

(5) a request for assistance in obtaining evidence and information necessary thereto;

(6) a warning of danger concerning the behavior of a person involved, when there is reason to believe that there exists the likelihood of substantial harm to an individual or to the public interest; and

(7) in a criminal case, in addition to subparagraphs (1) through (6):

(i) the identity, residence, occupation and family status of the accused;

(ii) if the accused has not been apprehended, information necessary to aid in apprehension of that person;

(iii) the fact, time and place of arrest; and

(iv) the identity of investigating and arresting officers or agencies and the length of the investigation.

(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a lawyer may make a statement that a reasonable lawyer would believe is required to protect a client from the substantial undue prejudicial effect of recent publicity not initiated by the lawyer or the lawyer's client. A statement made pursuant to this paragraph shall be limited to such information as is necessary to mitigate the recent adverse publicity.

 

(d) No lawyer associated in a firm or government agency with a lawyer subject to paragraph (a) shall make a statement prohibited by paragraph (a).

 

 

Comment

 

[1] It is difficult to strike a balance between protecting the right to a fair trial and safeguarding the right of free expression. Preserving the right to a fair trial necessarily entails some curtailment of the information that may be disseminated about a party prior to trial, particularly where trial by jury is involved. If there were no such limits, the result would be the practical nullification of the protective effect of the rules of forensic decorum and the exclusionary rules of evidence. On the other hand, there are vital social interests served by the free dissemination of information about events having legal consequences and about legal proceedings themselves. The public has a right to know about threats to its safety and measures aimed at assuring its security. It also has a legitimate interest in the conduct of judicial proceedings, particularly in matters of general public concern. Furthermore, the subject matter of legal proceedings is often of direct significance in debate and deliberation over questions of public policy.

 

[2] Special rules of confidentiality may validly govern proceedings in juvenile, domestic relations and mental disability proceedings, and perhaps other types of litigation. Rule 3.4(c) requires compliance with such rules.

 

[3] The Rule sets forth a basic general prohibition against a lawyer's making statements that the lawyer knows or should know will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding. Recognizing that the public value of informed commentary is great and the likelihood of prejudice to a proceeding by the commentary of a lawyer who is not involved in the proceeding is small, the rule applies only to lawyers who are, or who have been involved in the investigation or litigation of a case, and their associates.

 

[4] Paragraph (b) identifies specific matters about which a lawyer's statements would not ordinarily be considered to present a substantial likelihood of material prejudice, and should not in any event be considered prohibited by the general prohibition of paragraph (a). Paragraph (b) is not intended to be an exhaustive listing of the subjects upon which a lawyer may make a statement, but statements on other matters may be subject to paragraph (a).

 

[5] There are, on the other hand, certain subjects that are more likely than not to have a material prejudicial effect on a proceeding, particularly when they refer to a civil matter triable to a jury, a criminal matter, or any other proceeding that could result in incarceration. These subjects relate to:

 

(1) the character, credibility, reputation or criminal record of a party, suspect in a criminal investigation or witness, or the identity of a witness, or the expected testimony of a party or witness;

(2) in a criminal case or proceeding that could result in incarceration, the possibility of a plea of guilty to the offense or the existence or contents of any confession, admission, or statement given by a defendant or suspect or that person's refusal or failure to make a statement;

(3) the performance or results of any examination or test or the refusal or failure of a person to submit to an examination or test, or the identity or nature of physical evidence expected to be presented;

(4) any opinion as to the guilt or innocence of a defendant or suspect in a criminal case or proceeding that could result in incarceration;

(5) information that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is likely to be inadmissible as evidence in a trial and that would, if disclosed, create a substantial risk of prejudicing an impartial trial; or

(6) the fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime, unless there is included therein a statement explaining that the charge is merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

[6] Another relevant factor in determining prejudice is the nature of the proceeding involved. Criminal jury trials will be most sensitive to extrajudicial speech. Civil trials may be less sensitive. Non-jury hearings and arbitration proceedings may be even less affected. The Rule will still place limitations on prejudicial comments in these cases, but the likelihood of prejudice may be different depending on the type of proceeding.

 

[7] Finally, extrajudicial statements that might otherwise raise a question under this Rule may be permissible when they are made in response to statements made publicly by another party, another party's lawyer, or third persons, where a reasonable lawyer would believe a public response is required in order to avoid prejudice to the lawyer's client. When prejudicial statements have been publicly made by others, responsive statements may have the salutary effect of lessening any resulting adverse impact on the adjudicative proceeding. Such responsive statements should be limited to contain only such information as is necessary to mitigate undue prejudice created by the statements made by others.

 

 

[8] See Rule 3.8(f) for additional duties of prosecutors in connection with extrajudicial statements about criminal proceedings.

 

Model Rule 3.6

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Paragraph (a): Replace "reasonable person" with "reasonable lawyer"

 

As modified, paragraph (a) requires that a lawyer's assessment of the likelihood that a statement will be disseminated by means of public communication be judged from the perspective of a reasonable lawyer rather than a reasonable person. Whether a statement about legal proceedings will be publicly disseminated is an issue that may be viewed differently by lawyers and nonlawyers, and the Commission thinks that lawyers should only be subject to professional discipline when their judgments are unreasonably inconsistent with those of their professional peers.

 

2. Paragraph (a): Replace "would expect" with "knows or reasonably should know"

 

The Commission thinks that the scienter requirement in Rule 3.6 should employ wording consistent with the terminology as defined in Rule 1.0(f) and (j). Thus "reason to expect" is replaced with "knows or reasonably should know." No change in substance is intended.

 

COMMENT:

 

[8] Comment [8] is new and adds a cross-reference to the paragraph in Rule 3.8 that sets forth special duties of prosecutors with respect to extrajudicial statements.

 

 

RULE 3.7: LAWYER AS WITNESS

 

(a) A lawyer shall not act as advocate at a trial in which the lawyer is likely to be a necessary witness except where unless:

 

(1) the testimony relates to an uncontested issue;

(2) the testimony relates to the nature and value of legal services rendered in the case; or

(3) disqualification of the lawyer would work substantial hardship on the client.

(b) A lawyer may act as advocate in a trial in which another lawyer in the lawyer's firm is likely to be called as a witness unless precluded from doing so by Rule 1.7 or Rule 1.9.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] Combining the roles of advocate and witness can prejudice the tribunal and the opposing party and can also involve a conflict of interest between the lawyer and client.

 

 

Advocate-Witness Rule

 

[2] The tribunal has proper objection when the trier of fact may be confused or misled by a lawyer serving as both advocate and witness. The opposing party has proper objection where the combination of roles may prejudice that party's rights in the litigation. A witness is required to testify on the basis of personal knowledge, while an advocate is expected to explain and comment on evidence given by others. It may not be clear whether a statement by an advocate-witness should be taken as proof or as an analysis of the proof.

 

[3] To protect the tribunal, paragraph (a) prohibits a lawyer from simultaneously serving as advocate and necessary witness except in those circumstances specified in paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(3). Paragraph (a)(1) recognizes that if the testimony will be uncontested, the ambiguities in the dual role are purely theoretical. Paragraph (a)(2) recognizes that where the testimony concerns the extent and value of legal services rendered in the action in which the testimony is offered, permitting the lawyers to testify avoids the need for a second trial with new counsel to resolve that issue. Moreover, in such a situation the judge has firsthand knowledge of the matter in issue; hence, there is less dependence on the adversary process to test the credibility of the testimony.

 

[4] Apart from these two exceptions, paragraph (a)(3) recognizes that a balancing is required between the interests of the client and those of the tribunal and the opposing party. Whether the tribunal is likely to be misled or the opposing party is likely to suffer prejudice depends on the nature of the case, the importance and probable tenor of the lawyer's testimony, and the probability that the lawyer's testimony will conflict with that of other witnesses. Even if there is risk of such prejudice, in determining whether the lawyer should be disqualified, due regard must be given to the effect of disqualification on the lawyer's client. It is relevant that one or both parties could reasonably foresee that the lawyer would probably be a witness. The principle of imputed disqualification conflict of interest principles stated in Rule Rules 1.7, 1.9 and 1.10 has have no application to this aspect of the problem.

 

 

[5] Because the tribunal is not likely to be misled when a lawyer acts as advocate in a trial in which another lawyer in the lawyer's firm will testify as a necessary witness, paragraph (b) permits the lawyer to do so except in situations involving a conflict of interest.

 

 

Conflict of Interest

 

[5] [6] Whether the combination of roles involves an improper In determining if it is permissible to act as advocate in a trial in which the lawyer will be a necessary witness, the lawyer must also consider that the dual role may give rise to a conflict of interest with respect to the client is determined by Rule that will require compliance with Rules 1.7 or 1.9. For example, if there is likely to be substantial conflict between the testimony of the client and that of the lawyer or a member of the lawyer's firm, the representation is improper involves a conflict of interest that requires compliance with Rule 1.7. This would be true even though the lawyer might not be prohibited by paragraph (a) from simultaneously serving as advocate and witness because the lawyer's disqualification would work a substantial hardship on the client. Similarly, a lawyer who might be permitted to simultaneously serve as an advocate and a witness by paragraph (a)(3) might be precluded from doing so by Rule 1.9. The problem can arise whether the lawyer is called as a witness on behalf of the client or is called by the opposing party. Determining whether or not such a conflict exists is primarily the responsibility of the lawyer involved. If there is a conflict of interest, the lawyer must secure the client's informed consent, confirmed in writing. In some cases, the lawyer will be precluded from seeking the client's consent. See Comment to Rule 1.7. If a lawyer who is a member of a firm may not act as both advocate and witness by reason of conflict of interest, Rule 1.10 disqualifies the firm also. See Rule 1.0(b) for the definition of "confirmed in writing" and Rule 1.0(e) for the definition of "informed consent."

 

[7] Paragraph (b) provides that a lawyer is not disqualified from serving as an advocate because a lawyer with whom the lawyer is associated in a firm is precluded from doing so by paragraph (a). If, however, the testifying lawyer would also be disqualified by Rule 1.7 or Rule 1.9 from representing the client in the matter, other lawyers in the firm will be precluded from representing the client by Rule 1.10 unless the client gives informed consent under the conditions stated in Rule 1.7.

 

Model Rule 3.7

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

No change in substance is proposed in the Rule text.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] A reference to a tribunal has been added to clarify that the prohibition in paragraph (a) is for the protection of the tribunal as well as the parties.

 

Caption The new caption has been added to better reflect the subject of Comments [2] through [5].

 

[2] and [3] References to a tribunal have been added to clarify that the prohibition in paragraph (a) is for the protection of the tribunal as well as the parties.

 

[4] References to a tribunal have been added to clarify that the prohibition in paragraph (a) is for the protection of the tribunal as well as the parties. The last sentence has been modified to emphasize that the advocate-witness rule is distinct from the conflict of interest principles in Rules 1.7, 1.9, and 1.10.

 

[5] This new Comment explains why paragraph (b) permits a lawyer to act as advocate in a trial in which another lawyer in the lawyer's firm is likely to be called as a witness, unless precluded from doing so by Rules 1.7 or 1.9.

 

 

Caption The new caption has been added to better reflect the subject of Comments [6] and [7].

 

[6] The changes are intended to clarify that lawyers must be alert to the conflicts that may arise when they serve as an advocate in a matter in which they or a lawyer with whom they are associated is a necessary witness and that, if there is a conflict, it is to be resolved in accordance with Rules 1.7 or 1.9.

 

[7] This new Comment discusses the vicarious disqualification that may result if the lawyer-witness is precluded from serving as advocate by Rules 1.7 or 1.9.

 

 

RULE 3.8: SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PROSECUTOR

 

The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:

 

(a) refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause;

 

(b) make reasonable efforts to assure that the accused has been advised of the right to, and the procedure for obtaining, counsel and has been given reasonable opportunity to obtain counsel;

 

(c) not seek to obtain from an unrepresented accused a waiver of important pretrial rights, such as the right to a preliminary hearing;

 

(d) make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense, and, in connection with sentencing, disclose to the defense and to the tribunal all unprivileged mitigating information known to the prosecutor, except when the prosecutor is relieved of this responsibility by a protective order of the tribunal;

 

 

(e) [See paragraph (f).]

 

 

(f ) (e) not subpoena a lawyer in a grand jury or other criminal proceeding to present evidence about a past or present client unless the prosecutor reasonably believes:

 

(1) the information sought is not protected from disclosure by any applicable privilege;

(2) the evidence sought is essential to the successful completion of an ongoing investigation or prosecution; and

(3) there is no other feasible alternative to obtain the information . ;

(g) (f) except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor's action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused and (e) exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making under Rule 3.6 or this Rule.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] A prosecutor has the responsibility of a minister of justice and not simply that of an advocate. This responsibility carries with it specific obligations to see that the defendant is accorded procedural justice and that guilt is decided upon the basis of sufficient evidence. Precisely how far the prosecutor is required to go in this direction is a matter of debate and varies in different jurisdictions. Many jurisdictions have adopted the ABA Standards of Criminal Justice Relating to the Prosecution Function, which in turn are the product of prolonged and careful deliberation by lawyers experienced in both criminal prosecution and defense. See also Rule 3.3(d), governing ex parte proceedings, among which grand jury proceedings are included. Applicable law may require other measures by the prosecutor and knowing disregard of those obligations or a systematic abuse of prosecutorial discretion could constitute a violation of Rule 8.4.

 

[2] In some jurisdictions, a defendant may waive a preliminary hearing and thereby lose a valuable opportunity to challenge probable cause. Accordingly, prosecutors should not seek to obtain waivers of preliminary hearings or other important pretrial rights from unrepresented accused persons. Paragraph (c) does not apply , however, to an accused appearing pro se with the approval of the tribunal. Nor does it forbid the lawful questioning of a an uncharged suspect who has knowingly waived the rights to counsel and silence.

 

[3] The exception in paragraph (d) recognizes that a prosecutor may seek an appropriate protective order from the tribunal if disclosure of information to the defense could result in substantial harm to an individual or to the public interest.

 

[4] Paragraph (f) (e) is intended to limit the issuance of lawyer subpoenas in grand jury and other criminal proceedings to those situations in which there is a genuine need to intrude into the client-lawyer relationship.

 

[5] Paragraph (g) (f) supplements Rule 3.6, which prohibits extrajudicial statements that have a substantial likelihood of prejudicing an adjudicatory proceeding. In the context of a criminal prosecution, a prosecutor's extrajudicial statement can create the additional problem of increasing public condemnation of the accused. Although the announcement of an indictment, for example, will necessarily have severe consequences for the accused, a prosecutor can, and should, avoid comments which have no legitimate law enforcement purpose and have a substantial likelihood of increasing public opprobrium of the accused. Nothing in this Comment is intended to restrict the statements which a prosecutor may make which comply with Rule 3.6(b) or 3.6(c).

 

 

[6] Like other lawyers, prosecutors are subject to Rules 5.1 and 5.3, which relate to responsibilities regarding lawyers and nonlawyers who work for or are associated with the lawyer's office. Paragraph (f) reminds the prosecutor of the importance of these obligations in connection with the unique dangers of improper extrajudicial statements in a criminal case. In addition, paragraph (f) requires a prosecutor to exercise reasonable care to prevent persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor from making improper extrajudicial statements, even when such persons are not under the direct supervision of the prosecutor. Ordinarily, the reasonable care standard will be satisfied if the prosecutor issues the appropriate cautions to law- enforcement personnel and other relevant individuals.

 

Model Rule 3.8

Reporter’s Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

 

Paragraph (f): Relocate current paragraph (e)

 

The text of current paragraph (e) has not been modified but has been moved here to consolidate in a single paragraph the prosecutor’s obligations regarding extrajudicial publicity.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] The Commission recommends deleting the cross-reference to Rule 3.3(d) in the context of grand-jury proceedings, on the ground that grand-jury proceedings are not ex parte adjudicatory proceedings.

 

[2] The proposed modifications provide a rationale for the Rule and clarify the distinctions between an unrepresented accused, an accused who is appearing pro se with the approval of the tribunal and an uncharged suspect. No change in substance is intended.

 

[6] This is a new Comment explaining the material relocated from current paragraph (e). It provides that the reasonable-care standard will be satisfied if the prosecutor issues appropriate cautions to law-enforcement personnel and other individuals assisting or associated with the prosecutor but not under the prosecutor’s direct supervision. No change in substance is intended.

 

 

RULE 3.9: ADVOCATE IN NONADJUDICATIVE PROCEEDINGS

 

A lawyer representing a client before a legislative body or administrative tribunal agency in a nonadjudicative proceeding shall disclose that the appearance is in a representative capacity and shall conform to the provisions of Rules 3.3(a) through (c), 3.4(a) through (c), and 3.5.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] In representation before bodies such as legislatures, municipal councils, and executive and administrative agencies acting in a rule-making or policy-making capacity, lawyers present facts, formulate issues and advance argument in the matters under consideration. The decision-making body, like a court, should be able to rely on the integrity of the submissions made to it. A lawyer appearing before such a body should must deal with the tribunal it honestly and in conformity with applicable rules of procedure. See Rules 3.3(a) through (c), 3.4(a) through (c) and 3.5.

 

[2] Lawyers have no exclusive right to appear before nonadjudicative bodies, as they do before a court. The requirements of this Rule therefore may subject lawyers to regulations inapplicable to advocates who are not lawyers. However, legislatures and administrative agencies have a right to expect lawyers to deal with them as they deal with courts.

 

[3] This Rule only applies when a lawyer represents a client in connection with an official hearing or meeting of a governmental agency or a legislative body to which the lawyer or the lawyer’s client is presenting evidence or argument. It does not apply to representation of a client in a negotiation or other bilateral transaction with a governmental agency ; representation or in connection with an application for a license or other privilege or the client’s compliance with generally applicable reporting requirements, such as the filing of income-tax returns. Nor does it apply to the representation of a client in connection with an investigation or examination of the client’s affairs conducted by government investigators or examiners. Representation in such a transaction matters is governed by Rules 4.1 through 4.4.

 

 

Model Rule 3.9

Reporter’s Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

The only change in the Rule text is the replacement of the reference to "legislative or administrative tribunal" with "legislative body or administrative agency." The term "tribunal" is defined in Rule 1.0(m) as denoting courts and other agencies when those agencies are acting in an adjudicative capacity. This change is necessary to make clear that Rule 3.9 applies only when the lawyer is representing a client in a nonadjudicative proceeding of a legislative body or administrative agency. No change in substance is intended.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] The third sentence has been modified to clarify that the lawyer must, rather than merely should, act honestly and comply with procedural rules. A cross-reference to Rules 3.3(a) through (c), 3.4(a) through (c) and 3.5 was also added.

 

[3] The addition of the new references to official hearings or meetings at which the lawyer or the lawyer’s client is presenting evidence or argument, applications for licenses, generally applicable reporting requirements and investigations or examinations is intended to clarify the limited situations in which Rule 3.9 is applicable. The Comment is consistent with the holding of ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility Formal Opinion 93-375 that Rule 3.9 is inapplicable in connection with a bank examination.

 

 

RULE 4.1: TRUTHFULNESS IN STATEMENTS TO OTHERS

 

In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly:

 

(a) make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person; or

 

(b) fail to disclose a material fact when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by a client, unless disclosure is prohibited by Rule 1.6.

 

 

Comment

 

Misrepresentation

 

[1] A lawyer is required to be truthful when dealing with others on a client’s behalf, but generally has no affirmative duty to inform an opposing party of relevant facts. A misrepresentation can occur if the lawyer incorporates or affirms a statement of another person that the lawyer knows is false. Misrepresentations can also occur by failure to act partially true but misleading statements or omissions that are the equivalent of affirmative false statements. For dishonest conduct that does not amount to a false statement or for misrepresentations by a lawyer other than in the course of representing a client, see Rule 8.4.

 

 

Statements of Fact

 

[2] This Rule refers to statements of fact. Whether a particular statement should be regarded as one of fact can depend on the circumstances. Under generally accepted conventions in negotiation, certain types of statements ordinarily are not taken as statements of material fact. Estimates of price or value placed on the subject of a transaction and a party’s intentions as to an acceptable settlement of a claim are ordinarily in this category, and so is the existence of an undisclosed principal except where nondisclosure of the principal would constitute fraud. Lawyers should be mindful of their obligations under applicable law to avoid criminal and tortious misrepresentation.

 

 

Crime or Fraud by Client

 

[3] Under Rule 1.2(d), a lawyer is prohibited from counseling or assisting a client in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent. Paragraph (b) recognizes that states a specific application of the principle set forth in Rule 1.2(d) and addresses the situation where a client’s crime or fraud takes the form of a lie or misrepresentation. Ordinarily, a lawyer can avoid assisting a client’s crime or fraud by withdrawing from the representation. Sometimes it may be necessary for the lawyer to give notice of the fact of withdrawal and to disaffirm an opinion, document, affirmation or the like. In extreme cases, substantive law may require a lawyer to disclose certain information relating to the representation to avoid being deemed to have assisted the client’s crime or fraud. The requirement of If the lawyer can avoid assisting a client’s crime or fraud only by disclosing this information, then under paragraph (b) the lawyer is required to do so, unless the disclosure created by this paragraph is, however, subject to the obligations created is prohibited by Rule 1.6.

 

 

Model Rule 4.1

Reporter’s Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

The Commission is not recommending any change in the Rule text.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] This Comment is presently quite brief, and the Commission is recommending additional guidance in the form of 1) a reference to "partially true but misleading statements;" 2) substituting "omissions that are the equivalent of affirmative false statements" for the vague "failure to act;" and 3) a cross-reference to Rule 8.4.

 

[2] The Commission received several requests to clarify the lawyer’s obligation of candor in negotiations. The Commission is recommending the addition of the word "ordinarily" to clarify that, under some circumstances, an estimate of price or value could constitute a false statement of fact under this Rule. In addition, the Commission recommends a reference to the lawyer’s obligations under the jurisdiction’s criminal and tort law of misrepresentation.

 

Caption Presently the caption refers only to client fraud, whereas paragraph (b) refers to both frauds and crimes. Thus, the word "crime" has been added to the caption.

 

[3] The Comment has been expanded to explain that a lawyer's duty under this Rule not to assist client crime or fraud is a "specific application" of the lawyer's duty under Rule 1.2(d). It also explains the remedial measures a lawyer may be required to take to avoid assisting client crime or fraud. Disclosure is required only to the extent permitted by Rule 1.6.

 

 

RULE 4.2: COMMUNICATION WITH PERSON REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL

 

In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized to do so by law to do so or a court order.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] This Rule contributes to the proper functioning of the legal system by protecting a person who has chosen to be represented by a lawyer in a matter against possible overreaching by other lawyers who are participating in the matter, interference by those lawyers with the client-lawyer relationship and the uncounselled disclosure of information relating to the representation.

 

[1] [2] This Rule does not prohibit communication with a represented person, or an employee or agent of such a person, concerning matters outside the representation. For example, the existence of a controversy between a government agency and a private party, or between two organizations, does not prohibit a lawyer for either from communicating with nonlawyer representatives of the other regarding a separate matter. Also, parties Nor does this Rule preclude communication with a represented person who is seeking advice from a lawyer who is not otherwise representing a client in the matter. A lawyer may not make a communication prohibited by this Rule through the acts of another. See Rule 8.4(a). Parties to a matter may communicate directly with each other , and a lawyer is not prohibited from advising a client concerning a communication that the client is legally entitled to make. Also, a lawyer having independent justification or legal authorization for communicating with a represented person is permitted to do so. Communications authorized by law include, for example, the right of a party to a controversy with a government agency to speak with government officials about the matter.

 

[3] Communications authorized by law may include communications by a lawyer on behalf of a client who is exercising a constitutional or other legal right to communicate with a governmental official the government. For example, the constitutional right to petition and the public policy of ensuring a citizen’s right of access to government decisionmakers, may permit a lawyer representing a private party in a controversy with the government to communicate about the matter with government officials who have authority to take or recommend action in the matter. [2] Communications authorized by law may also include constitutionally permissible investigative activities of lawyers representing governmental entities, directly or through investigative agents, prior to the commencement of criminal or civil enforcement proceedings , when there is applicable judicial precedent that either has found the activity permissible under this Rule or has found this Rule inapplicable. However, the Rule imposes ethical restrictions that go beyond those imposed by constitutional provisions. When communicating with the accused in a criminal matter, a government lawyer must comply with this Rule in addition to honoring the constitutional rights of the accused. The fact that a communication does not violate a state or federal constitutional right is insufficient to establish that the communication is permissible under this Rule.

 

[4] A lawyer who is uncertain whether a communication with a represented person is permissible may seek a court order. A lawyer may also seek a court order in exceptional circumstances to authorize a communication that would otherwise be prohibited by this Rule, for example, where communication with a person represented by counsel is necessary to avoid reasonably certain injury.

 

[3] [5] This Rule also applies to communications with any person, whether or not a party to a formal adjudicative proceeding, contract or negotiation, who is represented by counsel concerning the matter to which the communication relates. The Rule applies even though the represented person initiates or consents to the communication. A lawyer must immediately terminate communication with a person if, after commencing communication, the lawyer learns that the person is one with whom communication is not permitted by this Rule.

 

[4] [6] In the case of an a represented organization, this Rule prohibits communications by a lawyer for another person or entity concerning the matter in representation with persons having a managerial responsibility on behalf a constituent of the organization , and with any other person who supervises, directs or regularly consults with the organization’s lawyer concerning the matter or has authority to obligate the organization with respect to the matter or whose act or omission in connection with that the matter may be imputed to the organization for purposes of civil or criminal liability or whose statement may constitute an admission on the part of the organization. Consent of the organization’s lawyer is not required for communication with a former constituent. If an agent or employee a constituent of the organization is represented in the matter by his or her own counsel, the consent by that counsel to a communication will be sufficient for purposes of this Rule. Compare Rule 3.4(f). In communicating with a current or former constituent of an organization, a lawyer must not use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of the organization. See Rule 4.4, Comment [2].

 

[5] [7] The prohibition on communications with a represented person only applies , however, in circumstances where the lawyer knows that the person is in fact represented in the matter to be discussed. This means that the lawyer has actual knowledge of the fact of the representation; but such actual knowledge may be inferred from the circumstances. See Terminology Rule 1.0(f). Such an inference may arise in circumstances where there is substantial reason to believe that the person with whom communication is sought is represented in the matter to be discussed. Thus, the lawyer cannot evade the requirement of obtaining the consent of counsel by closing eyes to the obvious.

 

 

[6] [8] In the event the person with whom the lawyer communicates is not known to be represented by counsel in the matter, the lawyer's communications are subject to Rule 4.3.

 

 

Model Rule 4.2

Reporter’s Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

 

Add reference to "court order"

 

Although a communication with a represented person pursuant to a court order will ordinarily fall within the "authorized by law" exception, the specific reference to a court order is intended to alert lawyers to the availability of judicial relief in the rare situations in which it is needed. These situations are described generally in Comment [4].

After consideration of concerns aired by prosecutors about the effect of Rule 4.2 on their ability to carry out their investigative responsibilities, the Commission decided against recommending adoption of special rules governing communications with represented persons by government lawyers engaged in law enforcement. The Commission concluded that Rule 4.2 strikes the proper balance between effective law enforcement and the need to protect the client-lawyer relationships that are essential to the proper functioning of the justice system.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] This new Comment states the purposes served by Rule 4.2 and, in particular, emphasizes that the Rule is designed not merely to protect individual clients but also to enhance the proper functioning of the legal system.

 

[2] This contains the substance of current Comment [1]. The last sentence has been deleted and its subject addressed in Comment [3]. A new sentence clarifies that Rule 4.2 does not preclude communication with a represented person who is seeking a second opinion from a lawyer who is not representing a party in the matter. Also, material has been added from the commentary to Rule 8.4(a) emphasizing that a lawyer may not make a communication prohibited by this Rule through the acts of another. At the same time, parties are not precluded from communicating with one another, and a lawyer is not prohibited from advising a client concerning a communication that the client is legally entitled to make.

 

[3] This Comment addresses when communications to or by the government may be within the Rule’s "authorized by law" exception. The first sentence revises the final sentence of current Comment [1] and alerts lawyers to the possibility that a citizen’s constitutional right to petition and the public policy of ensuring a citizen’s right of access to government decisionmakers may create an exception to this Rule. The remainder of the Comment substantially revises current Comment [2] on the applicability of the "authorized by law" exception to communications by government lawyers, directly or through investigative agents, prior to the commencement of criminal or civil enforcement proceedings. The reference in current Comment [2] to judicial precedent has been deleted, and the relationship between the Rule and applicable constitutional limits on government conduct has been reformulated. In place of the statement that the Rule imposes ethical restrictions that "go beyond" those imposed by constitutional provisions, the Comment explains that the fact that a communication does not violate the constitution "is insufficient to establish" that the communication is permissible under the Rule. For example, the fact that an individual has waived the constitutional right to consult the individual's lawyer at the time of arrest "is insufficient to establish" the ethical propriety of an ex parte communication by the government with that individual if the individual’s lawyer has not agreed to the communication. In reformulating the relationship between the Rule and applicable legal or constitutional requirements, the Commission intends no substantive change in the applicable standard.

 

[4] This new Comment explains the two circumstances in which a lawyer may seek a court order authorizing a communication: 1) where a lawyer is uncertain whether or not the communication is permitted by Rule 4.2; and 2) where a communication is prohibited by the Rule but "exceptional circumstances" nonetheless justify it. The example given is where ex parte communication with a represented person is necessary to avoid reasonably certain injury.

 

[5] This Comment revises current Comment [3] by adding two new sentences. The first makes clear that the protections accorded by Rule 4.2 may not be waived by the client. The second addition addresses situations in which a lawyer does not know at the initiation of a communication that a person is represented by counsel but finds out later. It reminds lawyers that they must terminate communication once they learn that the person is represented by counsel in the matter to which the communication relates. No change in substance is intended.

 

[6] This Comment modifies current Comment [4] identifying the constituents of a represented organization with whom a lawyer may not communicate without the consent of the organization’s lawyer. The current Comment’s inclusion of all "persons having a managerial responsibility on behalf of the organization" has been criticized as vague and overly broad. As reformulated, the Comment contains the more specific reference to "a constituent of the organization who supervises, directs or regularly consults with the organization’s lawyer concerning the matter or has authority to obligate the organization with respect to the matter." In focusing on the constituent’s authority in the matter at issue and relationship with the organization’s lawyer, the Comment provides clearer guidance than the broad general reference to "managerial responsibility."

 

In addition, the reference in the current Comment to a constituent whose act or omission in the matter may be imputed to the organization for purposes of civil or criminal liability has been retained. However, the Commission deleted the broad and potentially open-ended reference to "any other person ... whose statement may constitute an admission on the part of the organization." This reference has been read by some as prohibiting communication with any person whose testimony would be admissible against the organization as an exception to the hearsay rule.

 

A new sentence has been added to clarify that consent of the organization’s lawyer is not required for communications with former constituents. The Commission, however, has added a warning to lawyers that Rule 4.4 precludes the use of methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of the organization.

 

[7] The penultimate sentence of current Comment [5] has been deleted because it suggests incorrectly that the required element of knowledge can be established by proof that the lawyer had "substantial reason to believe" that the person was represented in the matter. This is inconsistent with the definition of "knows" in Rule 1.0(f), which requires actual knowledge and involves no duty to inquire.

 

 

RULE 4.3: DEALING WITH UNREPRESENTED PERSON

 

In dealing on behalf of a client with a person who is not represented by counsel, a lawyer shall not state or imply that the lawyer is disinterested. When the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the unrepresented person misunderstands the lawyer’s role in the matter, the lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to correct the misunderstanding. The lawyer shall not give legal advice to an unrepresented person, other than the advice to secure counsel, if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the interests of such a person are or have a reasonable possibility of being in conflict with the interests of the client.

 

Comment

 

[1] An unrepresented person, particularly one not experienced in dealing with legal matters, might assume that a lawyer is disinterested in loyalties or is a disinterested authority on the law even when the lawyer represents a client. During the course of a lawyer’s representation of a client, the lawyer should not give advice to an unrepresented person other than the advice to obtain counsel. In order to avoid a misunderstanding, a lawyer will typically need to identify the lawyer’s client and, where necessary, explain that the client has interests opposed to those of the unrepresented person. For misunderstandings that sometimes arise when a lawyer for an organization deals with an unrepresented constituent, see Rule 1.13(d).

 

[2] The Rule distinguishes between situations involving unrepresented persons whose interests may be adverse to those of the lawyer’s client and those in which the person’s interests are not in conflict with the client’s. In the former situation, the possibility that the lawyer will compromise the unrepresented person’s interests is so great that the Rule prohibits the giving of any advice, apart from the advice to obtain counsel. Whether a lawyer is giving impermissible advice may depend on the experience and sophistication of the unrepresented person, as well as the setting in which the behavior and comments occur. This Rule does not prohibit a lawyer from negotiating the terms of a transaction or settling a dispute with an unrepresented person. So long as the lawyer has explained that the lawyer represents an adverse party and is not representing the person, the lawyer may inform the person of the terms on which the lawyer's client will enter into an agreement or settle a matter, prepare documents that require the person's signature and explain the lawyer's own view of the meaning of the document or the lawyer's view of the underlying legal obligations.

 

Model Rule 4.3

Reporter’s Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Add prohibition on giving legal advice to unrepresented persons

 

Under the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility, DR 7-104(A)(2), a lawyer was prohibited from giving advice to an unrepresented person, other than the advice to secure counsel. This statement is presently contained in the Comment to Model Rule 4.3. Although the cases generally perceive no change of substance in the Rule, it has been reported that, in negotiations between lawyers and unrepresented parties, the giving of legal advice (often misleading or overreaching) is not uncommon. Of the jurisdictions that have adopted the Model Rules, 11 have included a textual provision similar to the prohibition on giving legal advice in the Model Code.

 

The reason for the initial decision to delete the Model Code prohibition from text was the difficulty of determining what constitutes impermissible advice-giving. The Commission recommends that language be included in the Comment that addresses the application of the textual prohibition in some common situations. Although the line may be difficult to draw, it is important to discourage lawyers from overreaching in their negotiations with unrepresented persons.

 

2. Limit prohibition on advice-giving to situations where unrepresented person’s interests may be in conflict with client

 

Following the practice of the majority of states that have adopted a textual prohibition on advice-giving, the Commission recommends restricting the prohibition to situations where the lawyer knows or has reason to know that the unrepresented person’s interests "are or have a reasonable possibility of being in conflict with the interests of the client."

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] The Commission is proposing three changes in this paragraph. First, a sentence has been added to indicate that, in order to avoid misunderstandings, a lawyer will typically need to identify the lawyer’s client and, where necessary, explain that the client has interests opposed to those of the unrepresented person. The second is the deletion of the general statement on advice-giving, in recognition that a similar statement now appears in the text. Finally, a cross-reference to Rule 1.13(d) has been added.

 

[2] A second Comment has been added to give guidance on what constitutes impermissible advice-giving. It first explains the rationale for limiting the prohibition to persons whose interests may be in conflict with the client’s. It then attempts to distinguish between the permitted supplying of information and the impermissible giving of legal advice in negotiations and settlement discussions.

 

 

RULE 4.4: RESPECT FOR RIGHTS OF THIRD PERSONS

 

(a) In representing a client, a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person, or use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of such a person.

 

 

(b) A lawyer who receives a document relating to the representation of the lawyer's client and knows or reasonably should know that the document was inadvertently sent shall promptly notify the sender.

 

Comment

 

[1] Responsibility to a client requires a lawyer to subordinate the interests of others to those of the client, but that responsibility does not imply that a lawyer may disregard the rights of third persons. It is impractical to catalogue all such rights, but they include legal restrictions on methods of obtaining evidence from third persons and unwarranted intrusions into privileged relationships, such as the client-lawyer relationship.

 

 

[2] Paragraph (b) recognizes that lawyers sometimes receive documents that were mistakenly sent or produced by opposing parties or their lawyers. If a lawyer knows or reasonably should know that such a document was sent inadvertently, then this Rule requires the lawyer to promptly notify the sender in order to permit that person to take protective measures. Whether the lawyer is required to take additional steps, such as returning the original document, is a matter of law beyond the scope of these Rules, as is the question of whether the privileged status of a document has been waived. Similarly, this Rule does not address the legal duties of a lawyer who receives a document that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know may have been wrongfully obtained by the sending person. For purposes of this Rule, "document" includes e-mail or other electronic modes of transmission subject to being read or put into readable form.

 

[3] Some lawyers may choose to return a document unread, for example, when the lawyer learns before receiving the document that it was inadvertently sent to the wrong address. Where a lawyer is not required by applicable law to do so, the decision to voluntarily return such a document is a matter of professional judgment ordinarily reserved to the lawyer. See Rules 1.2 and 1.4.

 

Model Rule 4.4

Reporter’s Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

 

Paragraph (b): Add material on obligations of lawyer upon receipt of inadvertently sent document

 

Numerous inquiries have been directed to ethics committees regarding the proper course of conduct for a lawyer who receives a fax or other document from opposing counsel that was not intended for the receiving lawyer. ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility Formal Opinion 92-368 advised that the receiving lawyer is obligated to refrain from examining the materials, to notify the sending lawyer and to abide by that lawyer’s instructions. That opinion has been criticized, in part because there is no provision of the Model Rules directly on point. The Commission decided that this Rule should require only that the lawyer notify the sender when the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that material was inadvertently sent, thus permitting the sending lawyer to take whatever steps might be necessary or available to protect the interests of the sending lawyer’s client.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] A phrase has been added to this Comment identifying "intrusions into privileged relationships" as among the third-party rights a lawyer must respect.

 

[2] This new Comment explains the obligations imposed by paragraph (b). It makes clear that the Rule does not address possible additional obligations of the lawyer that might be imposed by other law. Nor does it address the legal duties of a lawyer who receives a document that the lawyer knows or believes may have been wrongfully obtained by the sending person. Finally, the Comment explains that, for purposes of the Rule, the term "document" includes e-mail or other electronic modes of transmission.

 

[3] This new Comment lends support to those lawyers who voluntarily choose to return a document unread when they know or reasonably believe that the document was inadvertently sent. The Commission believes that this is a decision ordinarily reserved to the lawyer under Rules 1.2 and 1.4 and that a lawyer commits no act of disloyalty by choosing to act in accordance with professional courtesy.

 

 

RULE 5.1: RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PARTNER OR PARTNERS, MANAGERS,

AND SUPERVISORY LAWYER LAWYERS

 

(a) A partner in a law firm , and a lawyer who individually or together with other lawyers possesses comparable managerial authority in a law firm, shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that all lawyers in the firm conform to the Rules of Professional Conduct.

 

(b) A lawyer having direct supervisory authority over another lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the other lawyer conforms to the Rules of Professional Conduct.

 

(c) A lawyer shall be responsible for another lawyer's violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct if:

 

(1) the lawyer orders or, with knowledge of the specific conduct, ratifies the conduct involved; or

(2) the lawyer is a partner or has comparable managerial authority in the law firm in which the other lawyer practices, or has direct supervisory authority over the other lawyer, and knows of the conduct at a time when its consequences can be avoided or mitigated but fails to take reasonable remedial action.

Comment

 

[1] Paragraphs Paragraph (a) and (b) refer applies to lawyers who have supervisory managerial authority over the professional work of a firm or legal department of a government agency. See Rule 1.0(c). This includes members of a partnership and , the shareholders in a law firm organized as a professional corporation , and members of other associations authorized to practice law; lawyers having supervisory comparable managerial authority in the a legal services organization or a law department of an enterprise or government agency; and lawyers who have intermediate managerial responsibilities in a firm. Paragraph (b) applies to lawyers who have supervisory authority over the work of other lawyers in a firm.

 

[2] Paragraph (a) requires lawyers with managerial authority within a firm to make reasonable efforts to establish internal policies and procedures designed to provide reasonable assurance that all lawyers in the firm will conform to the Rules of Professional Conduct. Such policies and procedures include those designed to detect and resolve conflicts of interest, identify dates by which actions must be taken in pending matters, account for client funds and property and ensure that inexperienced lawyers are properly supervised.

 

[2] [3] The Other measures that may be required to fulfill the responsibility prescribed in paragraphs paragraph (a) and (b) can depend on the firm's structure and the nature of its practice. In a small firm of experienced lawyers, informal supervision and occasional admonition periodic review of compliance with the required systems ordinarily might be sufficient will suffice. In a large firm, or in practice situations in which intensely difficult ethical problems frequently arise, more elaborate procedures measures may be necessary. Some firms, for example, have a procedure whereby junior lawyers can make confidential referral of ethical problems directly to a designated senior partner or special committee. See Rule 5.2. Firms, whether large or small, may also rely on continuing legal education in professional ethics. In any event, the ethical atmosphere of a firm can influence the conduct of all its members and a lawyer having authority over the work of another the partners may not assume that the subordinate lawyer all lawyers associated with the firm will inevitably conform to the Rules.

 

 

[3] [4] Paragraph (c) (1) expresses a general principle of personal responsibility for acts of another. See also Rule 8.4(a).

 

 

[4] [5] Paragraph (c)(2) defines the duty of a partner or other lawyer having comparable managerial authority in a law firm, as well as a lawyer who has direct supervisory authority over performance of specific legal work by another lawyer. Whether a lawyer has supervisory authority in particular circumstances is a question of fact. Partners of a private firm and lawyers with comparable authority have at least indirect responsibility for all work being done by the firm, while a partner or manager in charge of a particular matter ordinarily also has direct authority over supervisory responsibility for the work of other firm lawyers engaged in the matter. Appropriate remedial action by a partner or managing lawyer would depend on the immediacy of the partner's that lawyer's involvement and the seriousness of the misconduct. The A supervisor is required to intervene to prevent avoidable consequences of misconduct if the supervisor knows that the misconduct occurred. Thus, if a supervising lawyer knows that a subordinate misrepresented a matter to an opposing party in negotiation, the supervisor as well as the subordinate has a duty to correct the resulting misapprehension.

 

 

[5] [6] Professional misconduct by a lawyer under supervision could reveal a violation of paragraph (b) on the part of the supervisory lawyer even though it does not entail a violation of paragraph (c) because there was no direction, ratification or knowledge of the violation.

 

 

[6] [7] Apart from this Rule and Rule 8.4(a), a lawyer does not have disciplinary liability for the conduct of a partner, associate or subordinate. Whether a lawyer may be liable civilly or criminally for another lawyer's conduct is a question of law beyond the scope of these Rules.

 

 

[8] The duties imposed by this Rule on managing and supervising lawyers do not alter the personal duty of each lawyer in a firm to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct. See Rule 5.2(a).

 

Model Rule 5.1

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Caption

 

The caption has been modified to reflect the applicability of paragraph (a) to lawyers who possess managerial authority comparable to that of a partner.

 

2. Paragraphs (a) and (c)(2): Modify to apply to lawyers with managerial authority comparable to that of partner

 

This change was made to clarify in the Rule text that paragraph (a) applies to managing lawyers in corporate and government legal departments and legal services organizations, as well as to partners in private law firms. No change in substance is intended.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] A cross-reference to the definition of a law firm in Rule 1.0(c) has been added. Also, a new sentence has been added to call attention to the difference between lawyers who possess managerial authority comparable to that possessed by law-firm partners and who are subject to paragraph (a) and supervisory lawyers who must comply with paragraph (b).

 

[2] This new Comment provides examples of policies and procedures that partners and managing lawyers should have in place in order to comply with paragraph (a).

 

[3] Current Comment [2] has been modified so it refers exclusively to paragraph (a). Other minor changes reflect that the policies and procedures required by paragraph (a) may vary with the structure of a firm and the nature of its practice.

 

[4] Current Comment [3] has been modified to emphasize that paragraph (c), as distinct from paragraphs (a) and (b), specifies circumstances in which a lawyer will be held personally responsible for the specific misconduct of another lawyer.

 

[5] Current Comment [6] has been modified to clarify that paragraph (c)(2) applies to partners and lawyers with comparable managerial authority, as well as to supervising lawyers.

 

[8] This new Comment emphasizes that the extra duties imposed on partners, managing lawyers and supervisory lawyers by Rule 5.1 does not alter the basic duty of each lawyer in a firm to personally comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct. Although emphasis is added, no change in substance is intended.

 

 

RULE 5.2: RESPONSIBILITIES OF A SUBORDINATE LAWYER

 

(a) A lawyer is bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct notwithstanding that the lawyer acted at the direction of another person.

 

(b) A subordinate lawyer does not violate the Rules of Professional Conduct if that lawyer acts in accordance with a supervisory lawyer's reasonable resolution of an arguable question of professional duty.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] Although a lawyer is not relieved of responsibility for a violation by the fact that the lawyer acted at the direction of a supervisor, that fact may be relevant in determining whether a lawyer had the knowledge required to render conduct a violation of the Rules. For example, if a subordinate filed a frivolous pleading at the direction of a supervisor, the subordinate would not be guilty of a professional violation unless the subordinate knew of the document's frivolous character.

 

[2] When lawyers in a supervisor-subordinate relationship encounter a matter involving professional judgment as to ethical duty, the supervisor may assume responsibility for making the judgment. Otherwise a consistent course of action or position could not be taken. If the question can reasonably be answered only one way, the duty of both lawyers is clear and they are equally responsible for fulfilling it. However, if the question is reasonably arguable, someone has to decide upon the course of action. That authority ordinarily reposes in the supervisor, and a subordinate may be guided accordingly. For example, if a question arises whether the interests of two clients conflict under Rule 1.7, the supervisor's reasonable resolution of the question should protect the subordinate professionally if the resolution is subsequently challenged.

 

 

Model Rule 5.2

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

The Commission is not recommending any change to the Rule.

 

 

RULE 5.3: RESPONSIBILITIES REGARDING NONLAWYER ASSISTANTS

 

With respect to a nonlawyer employed or retained by or associated with a lawyer:

 

(a) a partner , and a lawyer who individually or together with other lawyers possesses comparable managerial authority in a law firm shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that the person's conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer;

 

(b) a lawyer having direct supervisory authority over the nonlawyer shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the person's conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer; and

 

(c) a lawyer shall be responsible for conduct of such a person that would be a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct if engaged in by a lawyer if:

 

(1) the lawyer orders or, with the knowledge of the specific conduct, ratifies the conduct involved; or

(2) the lawyer is a partner or has comparable managerial authority in the law firm in which the person is employed, or has direct supervisory authority over the person, and knows of the conduct at a time when its consequences can be avoided or mitigated but fails to take reasonable remedial action.

Comment

 

[1] Lawyers generally employ assistants in their practice, including secretaries, investigators, law student interns, and paraprofessionals. Such assistants, whether employees or independent contractors, act for the lawyer in rendition of the lawyer's professional services. A lawyer should must give such assistants appropriate instruction and supervision concerning the ethical aspects of their employment, particularly regarding the obligation not to disclose information relating to representation of the client, and should be responsible for their work product. The measures employed in supervising nonlawyers should take account of the fact that they do not have legal training and are not subject to professional discipline.

 

 

[2] Paragraph (a) requires lawyers with managerial authority within a law firm to make reasonable efforts to establish internal policies and procedures designed to provide reasonable assurance that nonlawyers in the firm will act in a way compatible with the Rules of Professional Conduct. See Comment [1] to Rule 5.1. Paragraph (b) applies to lawyers who have supervisory authority over the work of a nonlawyer. Paragraph (c) specifies the circumstances in which a lawyer is responsible for conduct of a nonlawyer that would be a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct if engaged in by a lawyer.

 

Model Rule 5.3

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

 

Paragraphs (a) and (c)(2): Modify to apply to lawyers with managerial authority comparable to that of partner

As with Rule 5.1, this change was made to clarify in the Rule text that paragraph (a) applies to managing lawyers in corporate and government legal departments and legal service organizations, as well as to partners in private law firms. No change in substance is intended.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] "[S]hould" has been replaced with "must" in the third sentence because the duty to give appropriate instruction and supervision is mandatory.

 

[2] This Comment distinguishes the responsibility to create law-firm systems imposed by paragraph (a) from the supervisory responsibility addressed in paragraph (b) and the personal responsibility of managing and supervisory lawyers for the specific misconduct of nonlawyer employees as addressed in paragraph (c).

 

 

RULE 5.4: PROFESSIONAL INDEPENDENCE OF A LAWYER

 

(a) A lawyer or law firm shall not share legal fees with a nonlawyer, except that:

 

(1) an agreement by a lawyer with the lawyer's firm, partner, or associate may provide for the payment of money, over a reasonable period of time after the lawyer's death, to the lawyer's estate or to one or more specified persons;

(2) a lawyer who purchases the practice of a deceased, disabled, or disappeared lawyer may, pursuant to the provisions of Rule 1.17, pay to the estate or other representative of that lawyer the agreed-upon purchase price; and

(3) a lawyer or law firm may include nonlawyer employees in a compensation or retirement plan, even though the plan is based in whole or in part on a profit-sharing arrangement ; and

(4) a lawyer may share court-awarded legal fees with a nonprofit organization that employed, retained or recommended employment of the lawyer in the matter.

(b) A lawyer shall not form a partnership with a nonlawyer if any of the activities of the partnership consist of the practice of law.

 

(c) A lawyer shall not permit a person who recommends, employs, or pays the lawyer to render legal services for another to direct or regulate the lawyer's professional judgment in rendering such legal services.

 

(d) A lawyer shall not practice with or in the form of a professional corporation or association authorized to practice law for a profit, if:

 

(1) a nonlawyer owns any interest therein, except that a fiduciary representative of the estate of a lawyer may hold the stock or interest of the lawyer for a reasonable time during administration;

(2) a nonlawyer is a corporate director or officer thereof or occupies the position of similar responsibility in any form of association other than a corporation ; or

(3) a nonlawyer has the right to direct or control the professional judgment of a lawyer.

Comment

 

[1] The provisions of this Rule express traditional limitations on sharing fees. These limitations are to protect the lawyer's professional independence of judgment. Where someone other than the client pays the lawyer's fee or salary, or recommends employment of the lawyer, that arrangement does not modify the lawyer's obligation to the client. As stated in paragraph (c), such arrangements should not interfere with the lawyer's professional judgment.

 

 

[2] This Rule also expresses traditional limitations on permitting a third party to direct or regulate the lawyer's professional judgment in rendering legal services to another. See also Rule 1.8(f) (lawyer may accept compensation from a third party as long as there is no interference with the lawyer's independent professional judgment and the client gives informed consent).

 

Model Rule 5.4

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

TEXT:

 

1. Paragraph (a)(4): Permit sharing of court-awarded legal fees with nonprofit organization

 

This addition is proposed to clarify that a lawyer may share court-awarded legal fees with a nonprofit organization that employed, retained or recommended employment of the lawyer in the matter. The propriety of such fee-sharing arrangements was upheld in Formal Opinion 93-374 of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. Other state ethics committees, however, while agreeing with the policy underlying the ABA Opinion, found violations of state versions of Rule 5.4 because the text of the Rule appeared to prohibit such fee-sharing. The Commission agrees with the ABA Standing Committee that the threat to independent professional judgment is less here than in circumstances where a for-profit organization is involved and is therefore recommending this change.

 

2. Paragraph (d)(2): Broaden to include nonlawyers who occupy positions with responsibilities similar to those of corporate directors or officers

 

The current Rule is too limited because it employs terminology peculiar to corporate law, and lawyers are now practicing in professional limited liability companies. When applied to a professional limited liability company, paragraph (d)(2) is intended to preclude a nonlawyer from serving as a manager in a company that is managed by managers rather than members and from serving in a position like that of a president, treasurer or secretary of a corporation.

 

COMMENT:

 

[2] This Comment provides a cross-reference to Rule 1.8(f) on payment of a client's fee by a third person. No change in substance is intended.

 

 

RULE 5.5: UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW

 

(a) A lawyer shall not : (a) practice law in a jurisdiction where doing so violates the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction ; or .

 

(b) A lawyer admitted to practice in another jurisdiction, but not in this jurisdiction, does not engage in the unauthorized practice of law in this jurisdiction when:

 

(1) the lawyer is authorized by law or order to appear before a tribunal or administrative agency in this jurisdiction or is preparing for a potential proceeding or hearing in which the lawyer reasonably expects to be so authorized; or

(2) other than engaging in conduct governed by paragraph (1):

(i) a lawyer who is an employee of a client acts on the client's behalf or, in connection with the client's matters, on behalf of the client's commonly owned organizational affiliates;

(ii) the lawyer acts with respect to a matter that arises out of or is otherwise reasonably related to the lawyer's representation of a client in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice; or

(iii) the lawyer is associated in the matter with a lawyer admitted to practice in this jurisdiction who actively participates in the representation.

(b) (c) A lawyer shall not assist a another person who is not a member of the bar in the performance of activity that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] A lawyer may regularly practice law only in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice. The practice of law in violation of lawyer-licensing standards of another jurisdiction constitutes a violation of these Rules. This Rule does not restrict the ability of lawyers authorized by federal statute or other federal law to represent the interests of the United States or other persons in any jurisdiction.

 

[2] There are occasions in which lawyers admitted to practice in another jurisdiction, but not in this jurisdiction, will engage in conduct in this jurisdiction under circumstances that do not create significant risk to the interests of their clients, the courts or the public. Paragraph (b) identifies four situations in which the lawyer may engage in such conduct without fear of violating this Rule. This Rule does not address the question of whether other conduct constitutes the unauthorized practice of law. The fact that conduct is not included or described in this Rule is not intended to imply that such conduct is the unauthorized practice of law. With the exception of paragraph (b)(2)(i), nothing in this Rule is intended to authorize a lawyer to establish an office or other permanent presence in this jurisdiction without being admitted to practice here.

 

[3] Lawyers not admitted to practice generally in the jurisdiction may be authorized by law or order of a tribunal or an administrative agency to appear before a the tribunal or agency. Such authority may be granted pursuant to formal rules governing admission pro hac vice or pursuant to informal practice of the tribunal or agency. Under paragraph (b)(1), a lawyer does not violate this Rule when the lawyer appears before such a tribunal or agency. Nor does a lawyer violate this Rule when the lawyer engages in conduct in anticipation of a proceeding or hearing, such as factual investigations and discovery conducted in connection with a litigation or administrative proceeding, in which an out-of-state lawyer has been admitted or in which the lawyer reasonably expects to be admitted. Nothing in paragraph (b)(1) is intended to authorize a lawyer not licensed in this jurisdiction to solicit clients in this jurisdiction.

 

[4] When lawyers appear or anticipate appearing before a tribunal or administrative agency with authority to admit the lawyer to practice pro hac vice, their conduct is governed by paragraphs (a) and (b)(1) and not by (b)(2). Paragraph (b)(2) authorizes a lawyer to engage in certain conduct other than making or preparing for appearances before such a tribunal. For example, paragraph (b)(2)(i) recognizes that some clients hire a lawyer as an employee in circumstances that may make it impractical for the lawyer to become admitted to practice in this jurisdiction. Given that these clients are unlikely to be deceived about the training and expertise of these lawyers, lawyers may act on behalf of such a client without violating this Rule. The lawyer may also act on behalf of the client's commonly owned organizational affiliates but only in connection with the client's matters. Lawyers authorized to practice under this paragraph may be subject to registration or other requirements, including assessments for client protection funds and mandatory continuing legal education.

 

[5] Paragraph (b)(2)(ii) recognizes that the complexity of many matters requires that a lawyer whose representation of a client consists primarily of conduct in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice, also be permitted to act on the client's behalf in other jurisdictions in matters arising out of or otherwise reasonably related to the lawyer's representation of the client. This conduct may involve negotiations with private parties, as well as negotiations with government officers or employees, and participation in alternative dispute-resolution procedures. This provision also applies when a lawyer is conducting witness interviews or other activities in this jurisdiction in preparation for a litigation or other proceeding that will occur in another jurisdiction where the lawyer is either admitted generally or expects to be admitted pro hac vice.

 

[6] Paragraph (b)(2)(iii) recognizes that association with a lawyer licensed to practice in this jurisdiction is likely to protect the interests of both clients and the public. The lawyer admitted to practice in this jurisdiction, however, may not serve merely as a conduit for an out-of-state lawyer but must actively participate in and share actual responsibility for the representation of the client. If the admitted lawyer's involvement is merely pro forma, then both lawyers are subject to discipline under this Rule.

 

[1] [7] The definition of the practice of law is established by law and varies from one jurisdiction to another. Whatever the definition, limiting the practice of law to members of the bar protects the public against rendition of legal services by unqualified persons. Paragraph (b) (c) does not prohibit a lawyer from employing the services of paraprofessionals and delegating functions to them, so long as the lawyer supervises the delegated work and retains responsibility for their work. See Rule 5.3.

 

 

[8] Likewise, it does not prohibit lawyers from providing Lawyers may also provide professional advice and instruction to nonlawyers whose employment requires knowledge of law; for example, claims adjusters, employees of financial or commercial institutions, social workers, accountants and persons employed in government agencies. Lawyers may assist independent nonlawyers authorized by the law of a jurisdiction to provide particular legal services, for example, paraprofessionals authorized to provide some kinds of legal services. In addition, a lawyer may counsel nonlawyers who wish to proceed pro se.

 

 

Model Rule 5.5

Reporter’s Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Paragraph (a): Require lawyers admitted in adopting jurisdiction to comply with rules in other jurisdictions where they practice

 

The Commission believes that principles of comity require the adopting jurisdiction to require its lawyers to comply with the law of another jurisdiction. Thus, if another jurisdiction has not adopted a Rule similar to this one, a lawyer licensed in the adopting jurisdiction may be disciplined for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in the other jurisdiction, even if the lawyer’s conduct otherwise falls within the safe harbors provided in this Rule.

 

2. Paragraph (b): Provide "safe harbors" for lawyers engaged in multijurisdictional practice

 

States have a legitimate interest in restricting unlicensed lawyers from opening offices in their territory. Nevertheless, given the increasingly interstate and international nature of some clients’ legal matters, the Commission believes that some latitude should be accorded an out-of-state lawyer. This Rule does not purport to address all aspects of multijurisdictional practice but does create four "safe harbors" for purposes of disciplinary action.

 

3. Paragraph (b)(1): Pro hac vice admissions and preparing for such proceedings

 

It is well-settled that a lawyer admitted by a court to appear pro hac vice does not engage in the unauthorized practice of law by appearing before that court. This new paragraph explicitly recognizes such pro hac vice admissions, extends the authority to tribunals other than courts and further extends the authority to lawyers engaged in preliminary work in preparation for a proceeding in which the lawyer reasonably expects to be so authorized. The paragraph also acknowledges that some lawyers may be authorized by law to appear before certain tribunals without seeking pro hac vice admission in each case.

 

4. Paragraph (b)(2): Authority limited to legal services other than making appearances before tribunal with authority to admit lawyer to practice pro hac vice

 

If the lawyer will appear before a tribunal with the authority to admit the lawyer to practice pro hac vice, then the lawyer should follow that route. Thus, the safe harbor provisions of paragraph (b)(2) are limited to situations in which such temporary admission is unavailable.

 

5. Paragraph (b)(2)(i): Safe harbor for in-house counsel

 

A number of states already have exceptions in their unauthorized practice of law statutes for in-house counsel. These exceptions recognize that some clients (typically organizations) hire a lawyer as an employee in circumstances that may make it impractical for the lawyer to become admitted to practice in the adopting jurisdiction. These circumstances include frequent relocation with only temporary residence in a particular jurisdiction, as well as the need for in-house counsel to render legal services to the client in various out-of-state offices and facilities of the client. Given that the employer is unlikely to be deceived about the training and expertise of these lawyers, the Commission believes that this is an appropriate category of cases to recognize as a safe harbor for the multijurisdictional practice of law.

 

6. Paragraph (b)(2)(i): In-house counsel rendering legal services for client affiliates

 

The safe harbor for in-house counsel is extended to legal services rendered on behalf of the employing client’s commonly owned organizational affiliates but only when acting "on the client’s behalf or, in connection with the client’s matters."

 

7. Paragraph (b)(2)(ii): Matters arising out of or reasonably related to lawyer’s representation of client in jurisdiction where lawyer is admitted to practice

 

This provision, modeled on Section 3 of the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers, recognizes that the complexity of a specific matter undertaken on behalf of a client in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted may require that the lawyer travel to other jurisdictions on an occasional basis, for example, to interview or consult with employees or other persons associated with the client concerning the matter.

 

8. Paragraph (b)(2)(iii): Association with local counsel

 

Historically, local counsel have associated with out-of-state lawyers in order to strengthen a representation undertaken by local counsel. Similarly, out-of-state lawyers have associated with local counsel both to acquire local expertise and to avoid violating unauthorized practice of law statutes. Out-of-state lawyers who render legal services pursuant to such an association should not be subject to discipline, so long as the association is not pro forma.

 

9. Paragraph (c): Clarify application to assisting lawyers admitted to practice in another jurisdiction

 

The changes in this paragraph simplify the existing language and also clarify that this paragraph applies to assisting improperly a lawyer admitted to practice in a jurisdiction other than the adopting jurisdiction.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] This new Comment reflects the decision to limit the exception to conduct by an out-of-state lawyer in the adopting jurisdiction. It also adds a new reference to federal law that supercedes the applicability of state law on unauthorized practice.

 

[2] This new Comment explains the concept of the safe harbors and states explicitly that the Rule does not address other aspects of the unauthorized practice of law.

 

[3] This new Comment explains the rationale for paragraph (b)(1).

 

[4] This new Comment explains the structure of paragraph (b)(2) and describes and gives the rationale for the safe harbor for in-house lawyers.

 

[5] This new Comment explains the rationale for paragraph (b)(2)(ii).

 

[6] This new Comment explains the rationale for paragraph (b)(2)(iii).

 

[7] The current Comment to Rule 5.5 has been split into two Comments. This Comment contains the first half of the current Comment, modified only to reflect the renumbering of current paragraph (b) to paragraph (c).

 

[8] This is the second half of the current Comment to Rule 5.5. The initial change is for style and not substance. The next to the last sentence is new and recognizes the fact that to enhance access to legal services, some jurisdictions have authorized certain nonlawyers to provide particular legal services.

 

 

RULE 5.6: RESTRICTIONS ON RIGHT TO PRACTICE

 

A lawyer shall not participate in offering or making:

 

(a) a partnership or , 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 between private parties.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] An agreement restricting the right of partners or associates 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.

 

 

Model Rule 5.6

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Paragraph (a): Add references to shareholders, operating and other similar types of agreements

 

The reference to a partnership agreement is underinclusive because lawyers also practice in professional corporations and professional limited liability companies.

 

2. Paragraph (b): Substitute "client controversy" for "controversy between private parties"

 

This change clarifies that the Rule applies to settlements not only between purely private parties, but also between a private party and the government. See ABA Ethics Opinion 394.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] "[P]artners and associates" has been replaced with "lawyers" in recognition that lawyers associate together in organizations other than traditional law firm partnerships.

 

 

RULE 5.7: RESPONSIBILITIES REGARDING LAW-RELATED SERVICES

 

(a) A lawyer shall be subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct with respect to the provision of law-related services, as defined in paragraph (b), if the law-related services are provided:

 

(1) by the lawyer in circumstances that are not distinct from the lawyer's provision of legal services to clients; or

(2) in other circumstances by a separate an entity controlled by the lawyer individually or with others if the lawyer fails to take reasonable measures to assure that a person obtaining the law-related services knows that the services of the separate entity are not legal services and that the protections of the client-lawyer relationship do not exist.

(b) The term "law-related services" denotes services that might reasonably be performed in conjunction with and in substance are related to the provision of legal services, and that are not prohibited as unauthorized practice of law when provided by a nonlawyer.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] When a lawyer performs law-related services or controls an organization that does so, there exists the potential for ethical problems. Principal among these is the possibility that the person for whom the law-related services are performed fails to understand that the services may not carry with them the protections normally afforded as part of the client-lawyer relationship. The recipient of the law-related services may expect, for example, that the protection of client confidences, prohibitions against representation of persons with conflicting interests, and obligations of a lawyer to maintain professional independence apply to the provision of law-related services when that may not be the case.

 

[2] Rule 5.7 applies to the provision of law-related services by a lawyer even when the lawyer does not provide any legal services to the person for whom the law-related services are performed and whether the law-related services are performed through a law firm or a separate entity. The Rule identifies the circumstances in which all of the Rules of Professional Conduct apply to the provision of law-related services. Even when those circumstances do not exist, however, the conduct of a lawyer involved in the provision of law-related services is subject to those Rules that apply generally to lawyer conduct, regardless of whether the conduct involves the provision of legal services. See, e.g., Rule 8.4.

 

[3] When law-related services are provided by a lawyer under circumstances that are not distinct from the lawyer's provision of legal services to clients, the lawyer in providing the law-related services must adhere to the requirements of the Rules of Professional Conduct as provided in Rule 5.7 paragraph (a)(1). Even when the law-related and legal services are provided in circumstances that are distinct from each other, for example through separate entities or different support staff within the law firm, the Rules of Professional Conduct apply to the lawyer as provided in paragraph (a)(2) unless the lawyer takes reasonable measures to assure that the recipient of the law-related services knows that the services are not legal services and that the protections of the client-lawyer relationship do not apply.

 

[4] Law-related services also may be provided through an entity that is distinct from that through which the lawyer provides legal services. If the lawyer individually or with others has control of such an entity's operations, the Rule requires the lawyer to take reasonable measures to assure that each person using the services of the entity knows that the services provided by the entity are not legal services and that the Rules of Professional Conduct that relate to the client-lawyer relationship do not apply. A lawyer's control of an entity extends to the ability to direct its operation. Whether a lawyer has such control will depend upon the circumstances of the particular case.

 

[5] When a client-lawyer relationship exists with a person who is referred by a lawyer to a separate law-related service entity controlled by the lawyer, individually or with others, the lawyer must comply with Rule 1.8(a).

 

[6] In taking the reasonable measures referred to in paragraph (a)(2) to assure that a person using law-related services understands the practical effect or significance of the inapplicability of the Rules of Professional Conduct, the lawyer should communicate to the person receiving the law-related services, in a manner sufficient to assure that the person understands the significance of the fact, that the relationship of the person to the business entity will not be a client-lawyer relationship. The communication should be made before entering into an agreement for provision of or providing law-related services, and preferably should be in writing.

 

[7] The burden is upon the lawyer to show that the lawyer has taken reasonable measures under the circumstances to communicate the desired understanding. For instance, a sophisticated user of law-related services, such as a publicly held corporation, may require a lesser explanation than someone unaccustomed to making distinctions between legal services and law-related services, such as an individual seeking tax advice from a lawyer-accountant or investigative services in connection with a lawsuit.

 

[8] Regardless of the sophistication of potential recipients of law-related services, a lawyer should take special care to keep separate the provision of law-related and legal services in order to minimize the risk that the recipient will assume that the law-related services are legal services. The risk of such confusion is especially acute when the lawyer renders both types of services with respect to the same matter. Under some circumstances the legal and law-related services may be so closely entwined that they cannot be distinguished from each other, and the requirement of disclosure and consultation imposed by paragraph (a)(2) of the Rule cannot be met. In such a case a lawyer will be responsible for assuring that both the lawyer's conduct and, to the extent required by Rule 5.3, that of nonlawyer employees in the distinct entity that the lawyer controls complies in all respects with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

 

[9] A broad range of economic and other interests of clients may be served by lawyers' engaging in the delivery of law-related services. Examples of law-related services include providing title insurance, financial planning, accounting, trust services, real estate counseling, legislative lobbying, economic analysis, social work, psychological counseling, tax preparation, and patent, medical or environmental consulting.

 

[10] When a lawyer is obliged to accord the recipients of such services the protections of those Rules that apply to the client-lawyer relationship, the lawyer must take special care to heed the proscriptions of the Rules addressing conflict of interest (Rules 1.7 through 1.11, especially Rules 1.7 (b) (a)(2) and 1.8(a), (b) and (f)), and to scrupulously adhere to the requirements of Rule 1.6 relating to disclosure of confidential information. The promotion of the law-related services must also in all respects comply with Rules 7.1 through 7.3, dealing with advertising and solicitation. In that regard, lawyers should take special care to identify the obligations that may be imposed as a result of a jurisdiction's decisional law.

 

[11] When the full protections of all of the Rules of Professional Conduct do not apply to the provision of law-related services, principles of law external to the Rules, for example, the law of principal and agent, govern the legal duties owed to those receiving the services. Those other legal principles may establish a different degree of protection for the recipient with respect to confidentiality of information, conflicts of interest and permissible business relationships with clients. See also Rule 8.4 (Misconduct).

 

 

Model Rule 5.7

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

 

Paragraph (a)(2): Broaden to apply to all circumstances not covered by paragraph (a)(1) and to all entities controlled by the lawyer

 

Paragraph (a)(2) has been broadened to cover all circumstances in which a lawyer’s provision of law-related services are distinct from the lawyer’s provision of legal services. This change, coupled with the changes to Comments [2] and [3], is intended to clarify that (1) there can be situations in which a law firm’s provision of law-related services will be distinct from the firm’s provision of legal services, even though rendered by the firm rather than a separate entity, and (2) that in such circumstances the lawyer must comply with paragraph (a)(2). This change closes eliminates an unintended gap in the coverage of the Model Rule.

COMMENT:

 

[2] This change clarifies that a lawyer can directly provide law-related services in circumstances that are distinct from the lawyer’s provision of legal services. This precludes an overly restrictive reading of paragraph (a)(1) to the effect that the provision of law-related services could never be distinct from the provision of legal services if directly provided by a lawyer or law firm, rather than by a separate entity.

 

[3] The new sentence clarifies that paragraph (a)(2) applies in all cases in which the provision of law-related services is distinct from the provision of legal services within the meaning of paragraph (a)(1), without regard to whether the law-related services are provided directly by the lawyer or the lawyer’s firm or by a separate entity controlled by the lawyer or law firm.

 

[10] The Commission changed the reference to Rule 1.7(b) in light of changes that were made to that Rule.

 

 

RULE 6.1: VOLUNTARY PRO BONO PUBLICO SERVICE

 

Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year. In fulfilling this responsibility, the lawyer should:

 

(a) provide a substantial majority of the (50) hours of legal services without fee or expectation of fee to:

 

(1) persons of limited means or

(2) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters that are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means; and

(b) provide any additional services through:

 

(1) delivery of legal services at no fee or substantially reduced fee to individuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights, or charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes, where the payment of standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization's economic resources or would be otherwise inappropriate;

(2) delivery of legal services at a substantially reduced fee to persons of limited means; or

(3) participation in activities for improving the law, the legal system or the legal profession.

In addition, a lawyer should voluntarily contribute financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] Every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional work load, has a responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay, and personal involvement in the problems of the disadvantaged can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the life of a lawyer. The American Bar Association urges all lawyers to provide a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono services annually. States, however, may decide to choose a higher or lower number of hours of annual service (which may be expressed as a percentage of a lawyer's professional time) depending upon local needs and local conditions. It is recognized that in some years a lawyer may render greater or fewer hours than the annual standard specified, but during the course of his or her legal career, each lawyer should render on average per year, the number of hours set forth in this Rule. Services can be performed in civil matters or in criminal or quasi-criminal matters for which there is no government obligation to provide funds for legal representation, such as post-conviction death penalty appeal cases.

 

[2] Paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) recognize the critical need for legal services that exists among persons of limited means by providing that a substantial majority of the legal services rendered annually to the disadvantaged be furnished without fee or expectation of fee. Legal services under these paragraphs consist of a full range of activities, including individual and class representation, the provision of legal advice, legislative lobbying, administrative rule making and the provision of free training or mentoring to those who represent persons of limited means. The variety of these activities should facilitate participation by government lawyers, even when restrictions exist on their engaging in the outside practice of law.

 

[3] Persons eligible for legal services under paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) are those who qualify for participation in programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation and those whose incomes and financial resources are slightly above the guidelines utilized by such programs but nevertheless, cannot afford counsel. Legal services can be rendered to individuals or to organizations such as homeless shelters, battered women's centers and food pantries that serve those of limited means. The term "governmental organizations" includes, but is not limited to, public protection programs and sections of governmental or public sector agencies.

 

[4] Because service must be provided without fee or expectation of fee, the intent of the lawyer to render free legal services is essential for the work performed to fall within the meaning of paragraphs (a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, services rendered cannot be considered pro bono if an anticipated fee is uncollected, but the award of statutory attorneys' fees in a case originally accepted as pro bono would not disqualify such services from inclusion under this section. Lawyers who do receive fees in such cases are encouraged to contribute an appropriate portion of such fees to organizations or projects that benefit persons of limited means.

 

[5] While it is possible for a lawyer to fulfill the annual responsibility to perform pro bono services exclusively through activities described in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2), to the extent that any hours of service remained unfulfilled, the remaining commitment can be met in a variety of ways as set forth in paragraph (b). Constitutional, statutory or regulatory restrictions may prohibit or impede government and public sector lawyers and judges from performing the pro bono services outlined in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, where those restrictions apply, government and public sector lawyers and judges may fulfill their pro bono responsibility by performing services outlined in paragraph (b).

 

[6] Paragraph (b)(1) includes the provision of certain types of legal services to those whose incomes and financial resources place them above limited means. It also permits the pro bono lawyer to accept a substantially reduced fee for services. Examples of the types of issues that may be addressed under this paragraph include First Amendment claims, Title VII claims and environmental protection claims. Additionally, a wide range of organizations may be represented, including social service, medical research, cultural and religious groups.

 

[7] Paragraph (b)(2) covers instances in which lawyers agree to and receive a modest fee for furnishing legal services to persons of limited means. Participation in judicare programs and acceptance of court appointments in which the fee is substantially below a lawyer's usual rate are encouraged under this section.

 

[8] Paragraph (b)(3) recognizes the value of lawyers engaging in activities that improve the law, the legal system or the legal profession. Serving on bar association committees, serving on boards of pro bono or legal services programs, taking part in Law Day activities, acting as a continuing legal education instructor, a mediator or an arbitrator and engaging in legislative lobbying to improve the law, the legal system or the profession are a few examples of the many activities that fall within this paragraph.

 

[9] Because the provision of pro bono services is a professional responsibility, it is the individual ethical commitment of each lawyer. Nevertheless, there may be times when it is not feasible for a lawyer to engage in pro bono services. At such times a lawyer may discharge the pro bono responsibility by providing financial support to organizations providing free legal services to persons of limited means. Such financial support should be reasonably equivalent to the value of the hours of service that would have otherwise been provided. In addition, at times it may be more feasible to satisfy the pro bono responsibility collectively, as by a firm's aggregate pro bono activities.

 

[10] Because the efforts of individual lawyers are not enough to meet the need for free legal services that exists among persons of limited means, the government and the profession have instituted additional programs to provide those services. Every lawyer should financially support such programs, in addition to either providing direct pro bono services or making financial contributions when pro bono service is not feasible.

 

 

[11] Law firms should act reasonably to enable all lawyers in the firm to provide the pro bono legal services called for by this Rule.

 

 

[11] [12] The responsibility set forth in this Rule is not intended to be enforced through disciplinary process.

 

 

Model Rule 6.1

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

The Commission has added a sentence at the beginning of the Rule to give greater prominence to the proposition that every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to persons unable to pay. The point is now made in current Comment [1].

COMMENT:

[11] This new Comment calls upon law firms to act reasonably to enable all lawyers in the firm to provide the pro bono legal services called for by the Rule.

Promoting the Provision of Pro Bono Legal Service

The Commission invited and considered extensive comment about the possibility of modifying Rule 6.1 to require all lawyers to provide pro bono legal services. As a result of its inquiry, the Commission remains committed to the proposition that providing pro bono legal service to persons of limited means is an important obligation of every lawyer. The Commission also believes that the current system for mobilizing lawyers to provide pro bono legal service is not adequate to the task at hand. After considerable reflection, however, the Commission has concluded that amending Rule 6.1 to require all lawyers to provide pro bono legal service is not an appropriate response to the problem. Rather, the Commission encourages the ABA to heighten its efforts to find more appropriate and effective means to increase the voluntary participation of lawyers in the provision of legal services to persons of limited means.

RULE 6.2: 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.

Comment

[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 6.1. 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 1.1, 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.

 

Model Rule 6.2

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

The Commission is not recommending any change to the Rule.

RULE 6.3: MEMBERSHIP IN LEGAL SERVICES ORGANIZATION

A lawyer may serve as a director, officer or member of a legal services organization, apart from the law firm in which the lawyer practices, notwithstanding that the organization serves persons having interests adverse to a client of the lawyer. The lawyer shall not knowingly participate in a decision or action of the organization:

(a) if participating in the decision or action would be incompatible with the lawyer's obligations to a client under Rule 1.7; or

(b) where the decision or action could have a material adverse effect on the representation of a client of the organization whose interests are adverse to a client of the lawyer.

Comment

[1] Lawyers should be encouraged to support and participate in legal service organizations. A lawyer who is an officer or a member of such an organization does not thereby have a client-lawyer relationship with persons served by the organization. However, there is potential conflict between the interests of such persons and the interests of the lawyer's clients. If the possibility of such conflict disqualified a lawyer from serving on the board of a legal services organization, the profession's involvement in such organizations would be severely curtailed.

[2] It may be necessary in appropriate cases to reassure a client of the organization that the representation will not be affected by conflicting loyalties of a member of the board. Established, written policies in this respect can enhance the credibility of such assurances.

Model Rule 6.3

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

The Commission is not recommending any change to the Rule.

RULE 6.4: LAW REFORM ACTIVITIES AFFECTING CLIENT INTERESTS

A lawyer may serve as a director, officer or member of an organization involved in reform of the law or its administration notwithstanding that the reform may affect the interests of a client of the lawyer. When the lawyer knows that the interests of a client may be materially benefitted by a decision in which the lawyer participates, the lawyer shall disclose that fact but need not identify the client.

Comment

[1] Lawyers involved in organizations seeking law reform generally do not have a client-lawyer relationship with the organization. Otherwise, it might follow that a lawyer could not be involved in a bar association law reform program that might indirectly affect a client. See also Rule 1.2(b). For example, a lawyer specializing in antitrust litigation might be regarded as disqualified from participating in drafting revisions of rules governing that subject. In determining the nature and scope of participation in such activities, a lawyer should be mindful of obligations to clients under other Rules, particularly Rule 1.7. A lawyer is professionally obligated to protect the integrity of the program by making an appropriate disclosure within the organization when the lawyer knows a private client might be materially benefitted.

Model Rule 6.4

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

The Commission is not recommending any change to the Rule.

RULE 6.5: NONPROFIT AND COURT-ANNEXED LIMITED LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAMS

(a) A lawyer who, under the auspices of a program sponsored by a nonprofit organization or court, provides short-term limited legal services to a client without expectation by either the lawyer or the client that the lawyer will provide continuing representation in the matter:

(1) is subject to Rules 1.7 and 1.9(a) only if the lawyer knows that the representation of the client involves a conflict of interest; and

(2) is subject to Rule 1.10 only if the lawyer knows that another lawyer associated with the lawyer in a law firm is disqualified by Rule 1.7 or 1.9(a) with respect to the matter.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2), Rule 1.10 is inapplicable to a representation governed by this Rule.

Comment

[1] Legal services organizations, courts and various nonprofit organizations have established programs through which lawyers provide short-term limited legal services — such as advice or the completion of legal forms — that will assist persons to address their legal problems without further representation by a lawyer. In these programs, such as legal-advice hotlines, advice-only clinics or pro se counseling programs, a client-lawyer relationship is established, but there is no expectation that the lawyer's representation of the client will continue beyond the limited consultation. Such programs are normally operated under circumstances in which it is not feasible for a lawyer to systematically screen for conflicts of interest as is generally required before undertaking a representation. See, e.g., Rules 1.7, 1.9 and 1.10.

[2] A lawyer who provides short-term limited legal services pursuant to this Rule must secure the client's informed consent to the limited scope of the representation. See Rule 1.2(c). If a short-term limited representation would not be reasonable under the circumstances, the lawyer may offer advice to the client but must also advise the client of the need for further assistance of counsel. Except as provided in this Rule, the Rules of Professional Conduct, including Rules 1.6 and 1.9(c), are applicable to the limited representation.

[3] Because a lawyer who is representing a client in the circumstances addressed by this Rule ordinarily is not able to check systematically for conflicts of interest, paragraph (a) requires compliance with Rules 1.7 or 1.9(a) only if the lawyer knows that the representation presents a conflict of interest for the lawyer, and with Rule 1.10 only if the lawyer knows that another lawyer in the lawyer's firm is disqualified by Rules 1.7 or 1.9(a) in the matter.

[4] Because the limited nature of the services significantly reduces the risk of conflicts of interest with other matters being handled by the lawyer's firm, paragraph (b) provides that Rule 1.10 is inapplicable to a representation governed by this Rule except as provided by paragraph (a)(2). Paragraph (a)(2) requires the participating lawyer to comply with Rule 1.10 when the lawyer knows that the lawyer's firm is disqualified by Rules 1.7 or 1.9(a). By virtue of paragraph (b), however, a lawyer's participation in a short-term limited legal services program will not preclude the lawyer's firm from undertaking or continuing the representation of a client with interests adverse to a client being represented under the program's auspices. Nor will the personal disqualification of a lawyer participating in the program be imputed to other lawyers participating in the program.

[5] If, after commencing a short-term limited representation in accordance with this Rule, a lawyer undertakes to represent the client in the matter on an ongoing basis, Rules 1.7, 1.9(a) and 1.10 become applicable.

Model Rule 6.5

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

TEXT:

Rule 6.5 is a new Rule in response to the Commission's concern that a strict application of the conflict-of-interest rules may be deterring lawyers from serving as volunteers in programs in which clients are provided short-term limited legal services under the auspices of a nonprofit organization or a court-annexed program. The paradigm is the legal-advice hotline or pro se clinic, the purpose of which is to provide short-term limited legal assistance to persons of limited means who otherwise would go unrepresented.

1. Paragraph (a): Rule only applies to short-term legal services provided under auspices of program sponsored by court or nonprofit organization

 

Paragraph (a) limits Rule 6.5 to situations in which lawyers provide clients short-term limited legal services under the auspices of a program sponsored by a nonprofit organization or court. The Commission believes that the proposed relaxation of the conflict rules does not pose a significant risk to clients when the lawyer is working in a program sponsored by a nonprofit organization or a court and will eliminate an impediment to lawyer participation in such programs. See Comment [1].

 

2. Paragraph (a)(1): Rules 1.7 and 1.9(a) apply only if participating lawyer "knows" of conflict of interest

 

Paragraph (a)(1) provides that the lawyer is subject to the requirements of Rules 1.7 and 1.9(a) only if the lawyer knows that the representation involves a conflict of interest. The purpose is to make it unnecessary for the lawyer to do a comprehensive conflicts check in a practice setting in which it normally is not feasible to do so. See Comment [3]. In cases in which the lawyer knows of a conflict of interest, however, compliance with Rules 1.7 and 1.9(a) is required.

 

3. Paragraph (b): Rule 1.10 only applicable as specified in paragraph (a)(2)

 

Paragraph (a)(2) provides that a lawyer participating in a short-term legal services program must comply with Rule 1.10 if the lawyer knows that a lawyer with whom the lawyer is associated in a firm would be disqualified from handling the matter by Rules 1.7 or 1.9(a). By otherwise exempting a representation governed by this Rule from Rule 1.10, however, paragraph (b) protects lawyers associated with the participating lawyer from a vicarious disqualification that might otherwise be required. Thus, as explained in Comment [4], a lawyer's participation in a short-term limited legal services program will not preclude the lawyer's firm from undertaking or continuing the representation of a client with interests adverse to a client being represented under the program's auspices. Nor will a personal disqualification of a lawyer participating in the program be imputed to other lawyers participating in the program. Given the limited nature of the representation provided in nonprofit short-term limited legal services programs, the Commission thinks that the protections afforded clients by Rule 1.10 are not necessary except in the circumstances specified in paragraph (a)(2).

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] This Comment explains the scope of the Rule.

 

[2] This Comment explains the relationship to Rule 1.2(c) and adds a reminder that, except for the relaxation of the requirements of Rules 1.7, 1.9 and 1.10, the lawyer must comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct when providing limited legal services.

 

[3] This Comment provides the reason for limiting disqualification to situations in which the lawyer knows the lawyer's representation involves a conflict of interest for the lawyer or that a lawyer associated with the lawyer in a law firm would be disqualified from handling the matter. A strict duty to identify conflicts does not make sense in the context of the short-term limited representation provided through a hotline or pro se clinic.

 

[4] This Comment explains the effect of and reason for otherwise exempting nonprofit, short-term limited legal services programs from Rule 1.10.

 

[5] This Comment recognizes that in some instances a lawyer who initially intends only to provide a limited short-term representation will decide to provide more extensive legal services. In such circumstances, the lawyer must comply with the generally applicable conflict-of-interest rules.

 

 

RULE 7.1: COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING A LAWYER'S SERVICES

 

A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's services. A communication is false or misleading if it : (a) contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading ;

 

(b) is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve, or states or implies that the lawyer can achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law; or

 

(c) compares the lawyer's services with other lawyers' services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] This Rule governs all communications about a lawyer's services, including advertising permitted by Rule 7.2. Whatever means are used to make known a lawyer's services, statements about them should must be truthful. The prohibition in paragraph (b) of statements that may create "unjustified expectations" would ordinarily preclude advertisements about results obtained on behalf of a client, such as the amount of a damage award or the lawyer's record in obtaining favorable verdicts, and advertisements containing client endorsements. Such information may create the unjustified expectation that similar results can be obtained for others without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances.

 

 

[2] Truthful statements that are misleading are also prohibited by this Rule. A truthful statement is misleading if it omits a fact necessary to make the lawyer's communication considered as a whole not materially misleading. A truthful statement is also misleading if there is a substantial likelihood that it will lead a reasonable person to formulate a specific conclusion about the lawyer or the lawyer's services for which there is no reasonable factual foundation.

 

 

[3] An advertisement that truthfully reports a lawyer's achievements on behalf of clients or former clients may be misleading if presented so as to lead a reasonable person to form an unjustified expectation that the same results could be obtained for other clients in similar matters without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances of each client's case. Similarly, an unsubstantiated comparison of the lawyer's services or fees with the services or fees of other lawyers may be misleading if presented with such specificity as would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the comparison can be substantiated. The inclusion of an appropriate disclaimer or qualifying language may preclude a finding that a statement is likely to create unjustified expectations or otherwise mislead a prospective client.

 

 

[4] See also Rule 8.4(e) for the prohibition against stating or implying an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.

 

Model Rule 7.1

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Modify to limit prohibition to false and misleading communications

 

The Commission has limited Rule 7.1 to a prohibition against false or misleading communications, defined in terms of the material misrepresentations or omissions that are the subject of current paragraph (a). The categorical prohibitions in current paragraphs (b) and (c) have been criticized as being overly broad and have therefore been relocated from text to the commentary as examples of statements that are likely to be misleading. The Commission believes this approach strikes the proper balance between lawyer free-speech interests and the need for consumer protection.

 

2. Paragraph (b): Delete "is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve"

 

The Commission recommends deletion of this specification of a "misleading" communication because it is overly broad and can be interpreted to prohibit communications that are not substantially likely to lead a reasonable person to form a specific and unwarranted conclusion about the lawyer or the lawyer's services. See Comment [2].

 

3. Paragraph (b): Delete "states or implies that the lawyer can achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law"

 

The Commission recommends that this portion of paragraph (b) be moved to Rule 8.4(e) because this prohibition should not be limited to advertising. Comment [4] provides a cross-reference.

 

4. Delete paragraph (c)

 

The Commission also believes that a prohibition of all comparisons that cannot be factually substantiated is unduly broad. Whether such comparisons are misleading should be assessed on a case-by-case basis in terms of whether the particular comparison is substantially likely to mislead a reasonable person to believe that the comparison can be substantiated. See Comment [3].

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] The matters addressed by the deleted portions of current Comment [1] are now addressed in Comment [3].

 

[2] New Comment [2] discusses the prohibition against materially misleading statements. The third sentence sets forth a new standard for determining whether a lawyer's truthful statement is misleading. The "substantial likelihood" test is used in Rule 3.6 to balance the competing interests in free speech and fair trial. The Commission thinks that this standard strikes the proper balance between the lawyer's free-speech interests and the need for consumer protection.

 

[3] New Comment [3] addresses the problem areas covered in current paragraphs (b) and (c), explaining circumstances under which statements raising unjustified expectations and making unsubstantiated comparisons may be false or misleading. The first sentence is a modification of the deleted portion of current Comment [1]. Rather than stating that truthful reports of a lawyer's achievements are ordinarily prohibited as misleading, the Comment is limited to a warning that such statements may be misleading. The second sentence indicates that comparisons that cannot be factually substantiated will be misleading only if there is a substantial likelihood that a reasonable person would conclude that the comparison could be factually substantiated. Neither statement is as sweeping as its counterpart in the current Comment or paragraph (c). Because many jurisdictions encourage or require the use of disclaimers in lawyer advertising, the final sentence indicates that disclaimers may reduce the likelihood that a statement about the lawyer or the lawyer's services will be misleading.

 

[4] This new Comment is a cross-reference to Rule 8.4(e) which prohibits lawyers from stating or implying that they have an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or that they can achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.

 

 

RULE 7.2: ADVERTISING

 

(a) Subject to the requirements of Rules 7.1 and 7.3, a lawyer may advertise services through public media, such as a telephone directory, legal directory, newspaper or other periodical, outdoor advertising, radio or television, or through written or , recorded or electronic communication , including public media.

 

 

(b) A copy or recording of an advertisement or communication shall be kept for two years after its last dissemination along with a record of when and where it was used.

 

(c) (b) A lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer's services except that a lawyer may

 

(1) pay the reasonable costs of advertisements or communications permitted by this Rule;

(2) pay the usual charges of a not-for-profit lawyer referral service or legal service organization plan or a not-for-profit or qualified lawyer referral service. A qualified lawyer referral service is a lawyer referral service that has been approved by an appropriate regulatory authority; and

(3) pay for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17.

(d) (c) Any communication made pursuant to this rule shall include the name and office address of at least one lawyer or law firm responsible for its content.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] To assist the public in obtaining legal services, lawyers should be allowed to make known their services not only through reputation but also through organized information campaigns in the form of advertising. Advertising involves an active quest for clients, contrary to the tradition that a lawyer should not seek clientele. However, the public's need to know about legal services can be fulfilled in part through advertising. This need is particularly acute in the case of persons of moderate means who have not made extensive use of legal services. The interest in expanding public information about legal services ought to prevail over considerations of tradition. Nevertheless, advertising by lawyers entails the risk of practices that are misleading or overreaching.

 

[2] This Rule permits public dissemination of information concerning a lawyer's name or firm name, address and telephone number; the kinds of services the lawyer will undertake; the basis on which the lawyer's fees are determined, including prices for specific services and payment and credit arrangements; a lawyer's foreign language ability; names of references and, with their consent, names of clients regularly represented; and other information that might invite the attention of those seeking legal assistance.

 

[3] Questions of effectiveness and taste in advertising are matters of speculation and subjective judgment. Some jurisdictions have had extensive prohibitions against television advertising, against advertising going beyond specified facts about a lawyer, or against "undignified" advertising. Television is now one of the most powerful media for getting information to the public, particularly persons of low and moderate income; prohibiting television advertising, therefore, would impede the flow of information about legal services to many sectors of the public. Limiting the information that may be advertised has a similar effect and assumes that the bar can accurately forecast the kind of information that the public would regard as relevant. Similarly, electronic media, such as the Internet, can be an important source of information about legal services, and lawful communication by electronic mail is permitted by this Rule. But see Rule 7.3(a) for the prohibition against the solicitation of a prospective client through a real-time electronic exchange that is not initiated by the prospective client.

 

[4] Neither this Rule nor Rule 7.3 prohibits communications authorized by law, such as notice to members of a class in class action litigation.

 

 

Record of Advertising

 

[5] Paragraph (b) requires that a record of the content and use of advertising be kept in order to facilitate enforcement of this Rule. It does not require that advertising be subject to review prior to dissemination. Such a requirement would be burdensome and expensive relative to its possible benefits, and may be of doubtful constitutionality.

 

Paying Others to Recommend a Lawyer

 

[6] [5] A lawyer is allowed to pay for advertising permitted by this Rule and for the purchase of a law practice in accordance with the provisions of Rule 1.17, but otherwise is Lawyers are not permitted to pay another person others for channeling professional work. This restriction does not prevent an organization or person other than the lawyer from advertising or recommending the lawyer's services. Thus, a legal aid agency or prepaid legal services plan may pay to advertise legal services provided under its auspices. Likewise, a lawyer may participate in not-for-profit lawyer referral programs and pay the usual fees charged by such programs. Paragraph (c) does not prohibit paying regular compensation to an assistant, such as a secretary, to prepare communications permitted by this Rule. Paragraph (b)(1), however, allows a lawyer to pay for advertising and communications permitted by this Rule, including the costs of print directory listings, on-line directory listings, newspaper ads, television and radio airtime, domain-name registrations, sponsorship fees, banner ads, and group advertising. A lawyer may compensate employees, agents and vendors who are engaged to provide marketing or client-development services, such as publicists, public-relations personnel, business-development staff and website designers. See Rule 5.3 for the duties of lawyers and law firms with respect to the conduct of nonlawyers who prepare marketing materials for them.

 

[6] A lawyer may pay the usual charges of a legal service plan or a not-for-profit or qualified lawyer referral service. A legal service plan is a prepaid or group legal service plan or a similar delivery system that assists prospective clients to secure legal representation. A lawyer referral service, on the other hand, is any organization that holds itself out to the public as a lawyer referral service. Such referral services are understood by laypersons to be consumer-oriented organizations that provide unbiased referrals to lawyers with appropriate experience in the subject matter of the representation and afford other client protections, such as complaint procedures or malpractice insurance requirements. Consequently, this Rule only permits a lawyer to pay the usual charges of a not-for-profit or qualified lawyer referral service. A qualified lawyer referral service is one that is approved by an appropriate regulatory authority as affording adequate protections for prospective clients. See, e.g., the American Bar Association's Model Supreme Court Rules Governing Lawyer Referral Services and Model Lawyer Referral and Information Service Quality Assurance Act (requiring that organizations that are identified as lawyer referral services (i) permit the participation of all lawyers who are licensed and eligible to practice in the jurisdiction and who meet reasonable objective eligibility requirements as may be established by the referral service for the protection of prospective clients; (ii) require each participating lawyer to carry reasonably adequate malpractice insurance; (iii) act reasonably to assess client satisfaction and address client complaints; and (iv) do not refer prospective clients to lawyers who own, operate or are employed by the referral service.)

 

[7] A lawyer who accepts assignments or referrals from a legal service plan or referrals from a lawyer referral service must act reasonably to assure that the activities of the plan or service are compatible with the lawyer's professional obligations. See Rule 5.3. Legal service plans and lawyer referral services may communicate with prospective clients, but such communication must be in conformity with these Rules. Thus, advertising must not be false or misleading, as would be the case if the communications of a group advertising program or a group legal services plan would mislead prospective clients to think that it was a lawyer referral service sponsored by a state agency or bar association. Nor could the lawyer allow in-person, telephonic, or real-time contacts that would violate Rule 7.3.

Model Rule 7.2

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Paragraph (a): delete specification of types of public media and add reference to "electronic communication"

 

This change is proposed to accommodate the new technology that is currently being used by law firms to market legal services e.g., websites and e-mail. Examples of "public media" are being dropped from the Rule text and moved to Comment [3], obviating the necessity of changing the Rule to accommodate the next new public-communication technology. A specific reference to the Internet has been added to Comment [3].

A reference to electronic communication has also been added. To provide a specific example of this type of technology, a reference to e-mail has been added to Comment [3] with a cross-reference to the prohibition in Rule 7.3(a) of solicitation by real-time electronic contact.

 

2. Delete current paragraph (b)

 

The requirement that a lawyer retain copies of all advertisements for two years has become increasingly burdensome, and such records are seldom used for disciplinary purposes. Thus the Commission, with the concurrence of the ABA Commission on Responsibility in Client Development, is recommending elimination of the requirement that records of advertising be retained for two years.

 

3. Paragraph (b)(2): Replace reference to "legal service organization" with "legal service plan"

 

This change in terminology is intended to avoid confusion between a "legal services organization," which provides direct legal services to clients and is included in the definition of a law firm in Rule 1.0(c), and prepaid and group legal service plans, and other similar delivery systems, whose usual charges are excepted from the prohibition against a lawyer giving anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer's services in Rule 7.2(b).

 

4. Paragraph (b)(2): Modify to permit lawyers to pay the usual charges of "a not-for-profit or qualified lawyer referral service"

 

This change is intended to more closely conform the Model Rules to ABA policy with respect to lawyer referral services. It recognizes the need to protect prospective clients who have come to think of lawyer referral services as consumer-oriented organizations that provide unbiased referrals to lawyers with appropriate experience in the subject matter of the representation and afford other client protections, such as complaint procedures or malpractice insurance requirements. The effect of the proposal is to permit lawyers to pay the usual charges of a for-profit lawyer referral service, but only if it has been approved by an appropriate regulatory authority as affording adequate protections for prospective clients, preferably in conformity with the four core standards prescribed in the American Bar Association's Model Supreme Court Rules Governing Lawyer Referral Services and Model Lawyer Referral and Information Service Quality Assurance Act. Because the need for special regulation arises from the prevailing public perception of lawyer referral services, this special regulatory regime is only applicable to a for-profit organization that holds itself out to the public as a lawyer referral service. See Comment [6].

 

5. Paragraph (c): Modify to permit identification of law firm as entity responsible for advertisement

 

The Commission thinks that law firms should be able to designate the firm as the entity responsible for the contents of an advertisement. Such information, rather than the name of a specific lawyer in the firm, should be sufficient to enable disciplinary authorities to take action necessary to protect the public from misleading advertising.

 

6. Paragraph (c): Require identification of the address of the law firm or lawyer responsible for advertisement

 

Because Rule 7.5 permits the use of trade names and because lawyers frequently advertise in locations where they do not maintain an office, the Commission has added a requirement that each advertisement include an office address for the law firm or lawyer named in the advertisement. This information will help disciplinary authorities track down those who are responsible for an advertisement, but, more importantly, it will provide prospective clients with important information about where the lawyer or law firm is located - an important fact in this era of multi-jurisdictional advertising.

 

COMMENT:

 

[3] Although the Commission concluded that a specification of the various public media lawyers can use to market their services should not be included in the Rule text, it thought it appropriate to explicitly affirm the legitimacy of using electronic media, including the Internet and the World Wide Web. The reference to "lawful" electronic mail was included to require lawyers to comply with any law that might prohibit "spamming" — i.e., the mass e-mailing of commercial messages. A cross-reference to Rule 7.3(a) has been added to alert lawyers to the proposed prohibition of solicitation by real-time electronic contact.

 

 

[5] This Comment and the related caption have been deleted because current paragraph (b) was deleted from the Rule text.

 

[5] The discussion of advertising expenses has been modified to more accurately reflect the current state of client-development activities in law firms. To this has been added a cross-reference to Rule 5.3 as a reminder of the partner's and firm's obligations with respect to the conduct of nonlawyers involved in client development activities.

 

[6] In response to a concern about the ambiguity of the reference in paragraph (b)(2) to "a legal service organization," this new Comment defines a legal service plan to specifically include prepaid and group legal service plans, and also to include "a similar delivery system that assists prospective clients to secure legal representation." This clarifies that lawyers may pay the usual charges of not only traditional prepaid and group legal service plans, but also the usual charges of new hybrid plans that might undertake to provide a variety of services to prospective clients. Also by its definition of a lawyer referral service as an organization that holds itself out to the public as a lawyer referral service, the Comment precludes extension of the special regulatory regime governing lawyer referral services to prepaid or group legal service plans and other similar delivery systems. Finally the Comment articulates ABA policy with respect to the core characteristics of a qualified lawyer referral service.

 

[7] This new Comment alerts lawyers who accept assignments or referrals from legal service plans or referrals from lawyer referral services that they must act reasonably to assure that the activities of the plan or service are compatible with the lawyers' professional obligations.

 

 

RULE 7.3: DIRECT CONTACT WITH PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS

 

(a) A lawyer shall not by in-person or , live telephone or real-time electronic contact solicit professional employment from a prospective client with whom the lawyer has no family or prior professional relationship when a significant motive for the lawyer's doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain , unless the person contacted:

 

(1) is a lawyer; or

(2) has a family, close personal, or prior professional relationship with the lawyer.

(b) A lawyer shall not solicit professional employment from a prospective client by written or , recorded or electronic communication or by in-person or , telephone or real-time electronic contact even when not otherwise prohibited by paragraph (a), if:

 

(1) the prospective client has made known to the lawyer a desire not to be solicited by the lawyer; or

(2) the solicitation involves coercion, duress or harassment.

(c) Every written or , recorded or electronic communication from a lawyer soliciting professional employment from a prospective client known to be in need of legal services in a particular matter , and with whom the lawyer has no family or prior professional relationship, shall include the words "Advertising Material" on the outside envelope , if any, and at the beginning and ending of any recorded or electronic communication , unless the recipient of the communication is a person specified in paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2).

 

(d) Notwithstanding the prohibitions in paragraph (a), a lawyer may participate with a prepaid or group legal service plan operated by an organization not owned or directed by the lawyer that uses in-person or telephone contact to solicit memberships or subscriptions for the plan from persons who are not known to need legal services in a particular matter covered by the plan.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] There is a potential for abuse inherent in direct in-person or , live telephone or real-time electronic contact by a lawyer with a prospective client known to need legal services. These forms of contact between a lawyer and a prospective client subject the layperson to the private importuning of the trained advocate in a direct interpersonal encounter. The prospective client, who may already feel overwhelmed by the circumstances giving rise to the need for legal services, may find it difficult fully to evaluate all available alternatives with reasoned judgment and appropriate self-interest in the face of the lawyer's presence and insistence upon being retained immediately. The situation is fraught with the possibility of undue influence, intimidation, and over-reaching.

 

[2] This potential for abuse inherent in direct in-person or , live telephone or real-time electronic solicitation of prospective clients justifies its prohibition, particularly since lawyer advertising and written and recorded communication permitted under Rule 7.2 offer alternative means of conveying necessary information to those who may be in need of legal services. Advertising and written and recorded communications which may be mailed or autodialed make it possible for a prospective client to be informed about the need for legal services, and about the qualifications of available lawyers and law firms, without subjecting the prospective client to direct in-person or , telephone or real-time electronic persuasion that may overwhelm the client's judgment.

 

[3] The use of general advertising and written and , recorded or electronic communications to transmit information from lawyer to prospective client, rather than direct in-person or , live telephone or real-time electronic contact, will help to assure that the information flows cleanly as well as freely. The contents of advertisements and communications permitted under Rule 7.2 are can be permanently recorded so that they cannot be disputed and may be shared with others who know the lawyer. This potential for informal review is itself likely to help guard against statements and claims that might constitute false and misleading communications, in violation of Rule 7.1. The contents of direct in-person or , live telephone or real-time electronic conversations between a lawyer to and a prospective client can be disputed and are may not be subject to third-party scrutiny. Consequently, they are much more likely to approach (and occasionally cross) the dividing line between accurate representations and those that are false and misleading.

 

[4] There is far less likelihood that a lawyer would engage in abusive practices against an individual who is a former client, or with whom the lawyer has a prior close personal or professional family relationship , or where in situations in which the lawyer is motivated by considerations other than the lawyer's pecuniary gain. Nor is there a serious potential for abuse when the person contacted is a lawyer. Consequently, the general prohibition in Rule 7.3(a) and the requirements of Rule 7.3(c) are not applicable in those situations. Also, paragraph (a) is not intended to prohibit a lawyer from participating in constitutionally protected activities of public or charitable legal- service organizations or bona fide political, social, civic, fraternal, employee or trade organizations whose purposes include providing or recommending legal services to its members or beneficiaries.

 

[5] But even permitted forms of solicitation can be abused. Thus, any solicitation which contains information which is false or misleading within the meaning of Rule 7.1, which involves coercion, duress or harassment within the meaning of Rule 7.3(b)(2), or which involves contact with a prospective client who has made known to the lawyer a desire not to be solicited by the lawyer within the meaning of Rule 7.3(b)(1) is prohibited. Moreover, if after sending a letter or other communication to a client as permitted by Rule 7.2 the lawyer receives no response, any further effort to communicate with the prospective client may violate the provisions of Rule 7.3(b).

 

[6] This Rule is not intended to prohibit a lawyer from contacting representatives of organizations or groups that may be interested in establishing a group or prepaid legal plan for their members, insureds, beneficiaries or other third parties for the purpose of informing such entities of the availability of and details concerning the plan or arrangement which the lawyer or lawyer's firm is willing to offer. This form of communication is not directed to a prospective client. Rather, it is usually addressed to an individual acting in a fiduciary capacity seeking a supplier of legal services for others who may, if they choose, become prospective clients of the lawyer. Under these circumstances, the activity which the lawyer undertakes in communicating with such representatives and the type of information transmitted to the individual are functionally similar to and serve the same purpose as advertising permitted under Rule 7.2.

 

[7] The requirement in Rule 7.3(c) that certain communications be marked "Advertising Material" does not apply to communications sent in response to requests of potential clients or their spokespersons or sponsors. General announcements by lawyers, including changes in personnel or office location, do not constitute communications soliciting professional employment from a client known to be in need of legal services within the meaning of this Rule.

 

[8] Paragraph (d) of this Rule would permit permits a lawyer to participate with an organization which uses personal contact to solicit members for its group or prepaid legal service plan, provided that the personal contact is not undertaken by any lawyer who would be a provider of legal services through the plan. The organization referred to in paragraph (d) must not be owned by or directed (whether as manager or otherwise) by any lawyer or law firm that participates in the plan. For example, paragraph (d) would not permit a lawyer to create an organization controlled directly or indirectly by the lawyer and use the organization for the in-person or telephone solicitation of legal employment of the lawyer through memberships in the plan or otherwise. The communication permitted by these organizations also must not be directed to a person known to need legal services in a particular matter, but is to be designed to inform potential plan members generally of another means of affordable legal services. Lawyers who participate in a legal service plan must reasonably assure that the plan sponsors are in compliance with Rules 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3(b). See 8.4(a).

 

 

Model Rule 7.3

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Paragraph (a): Extend prohibition to "real-time electronic contact"

 

The Commission, in accord with the ABA Commission on Responsibility in Client Development, is recommending that lawyer solicitation by real-time electronic communication (e.g., an Internet chatroom) be prohibited. Differentiating between e-mail and real-time electronic communication, the Commission has concluded that the interactivity and immediacy of response in real-time electronic communication presents the same dangers as those involved in live telephone contact.

 

2. Paragraph (a)(1): Exempt contacts with lawyers

 

In agreement with a recommendation of the ABA Commission on Responsibility in Client Development, the Commission has concluded that lawyers do not need the special protection afforded by this Rule. Such an exemption would permit in-person contacts with in-house lawyers of organizations but would not permit contact with nonlawyer representatives of such organizations.

 

3. Paragraph (a)(2): Exempt contacts with persons with "close personal relationship" to lawyer

 

The ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility permitted in-person contact with close personal friends. Approximately 10 states still do. Although the Commission recognizes the imprecision of the concept of a close personal relationship, it seems difficult to justify prohibiting a lawyer from calling a close friend and offering to represent the friend in a legal matter.

 

4. Paragraph (b): Add reference to "real-time electronic contact"

 

The prohibition against real-time electronic contact in paragraph (a) requires the addition of a reference to real-time electronic contact in paragraph (b).

 

5. Paragraph (c): Add reference to electronic contact and modify exception to conform to paragraph (a)

 

The reference to electronic contact is needed so a lawyer sending e-mail to a person known to need legal services will be required to identify the e-mail as an advertisement. The relocation and modification of the exception was necessary to conform paragraph (c) with the changes in paragraph (a).

 

COMMENT:

 

[1], [2] and [3] The references to real-time electronic contact and electronic communications were added to conform the Comment to the proposed changes in the text of the Rule.

 

[3] The second sentence of this Comment has been modified to reflect the deletion of current paragraph (b) from Rule 7.2. The change in the second to the last sentence corrects an error in the current Comment.

 

[4] The first sentence has been modified to indicate that the reference in the Rule text to a "prior professional relationship" denotes a former client-lawyer relationship. A sentence has been added to explain the inapplicability of paragraphs (a) and (c) to contacts with lawyers. The last sentence has been added to recognize the constitutional limitations on regulators attempting to prohibit lawyers from cooperating with nonprofit organizations assisting members or beneficiaries to secure legal counsel necessary for redress of grievances. See United Transportation Union v. State Bar, 401 U.S. 576 (1971).

 

[8] These changes are stylistic. No change in substance is intended.

 

 

RULE 7.4: COMMUNICATION OF FIELDS OF PRACTICE AND SPECIALIZATION

 

(a) A lawyer may communicate the fact that the lawyer does or does not practice in particular fields of law. A lawyer shall not state or imply that the lawyer has been recognized or certified as a specialist in a particular field of law except as follows:

 

(a) (b) a A lawyer admitted to engage in patent practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office may use the designation "Patent Attorney" or a substantially similar designation ; .

 

(b) (c) a A lawyer engaged in Admiralty practice may use the designation "Admiralty," "Proctor in Admiralty" or a substantially similar designation ; and .

 

(c) [for jurisdictions where there is a regulatory authority granting certification or approving organizations that grant certification] a lawyer may communicate the fact that the lawyer has been certified as a specialist in a field of law by a named organization or authority but only if:

 

(1) such certification is granted by the appropriate regulatory authority or by an organization which has been approved by the appropriate regulatory authority to grant such certification; or

(2) such certification is granted by an organization that has not yet been approved by, or has been denied the approval available from, the appropriate regulatory authority, and the absence or denial of approval is clearly stated in the communication, and in any advertising subject to Rule 7.2, such statement appears in the same sentence that communicates the certification.

(c) [for jurisdictions where there is no procedure either for certification of specialties or for approval of organizations granting certification] a lawyer may communicate the fact that the lawyer has been certified as a specialist in a field of law by a named organization, provided that the communication clearly states that there is no procedure in this jurisdiction for approving certifying organizations. If, however, the named organization has been accredited by the American Bar Association to certify lawyers as specialists in a particular field of law, the communication need not contain such a statement.

 

(d) A lawyer shall not state or imply that a lawyer is certified as a specialist in a particular field of law, unless:

 

(1) the lawyer has been certified as a specialist by an organization that has been approved by an appropriate state authority or that has been accredited by the American Bar Association; and

(2) the name of the certifying organization is clearly identified in the communication.

Comment

 

[1] This Paragraph (a) of this Rule permits a lawyer to indicate areas of practice in communications about the lawyer's services. If a lawyer practices only in certain fields, or will not accept matters except in a specified field or fields, the lawyer is permitted to so indicate. A lawyer is generally permitted to state that the lawyer is a "specialist," practices a "specialty," or "specializes in" particular fields, but such communications are subject to the "false and misleading" standard applied in Rule 7.1 to communications concerning a lawyer's services.

 

[2] However, a lawyer may not communicate that the lawyer has been recognized or certified as a specialist in a particular field of law, except as provided by this Rule. Recognition of specialization in patent matters is a matter of Paragraph (b) recognizes the long-established policy of the Patent and Trademark Office , as reflected in paragraph (a) for the designation of lawyers practicing before the Office. Paragraph (b) (c) recognizes that designation of admiralty Admiralty practice has a long historical tradition associated with maritime commerce and the federal courts.

 

[3] Paragraph (c) provides for certification (d) permits a lawyer to state that the lawyer is certified as a specialist in a field of law when a state authorizes an appropriate regulatory authority to grant such certification or when the state grants other organizations the right to grant certification if such certification is granted by an organization approved by an appropriate state authority or accredited by the American Bar Association or another organization, such as a state bar association, that has been approved by the state authority to accredit organizations that certify lawyers as specialists. Certification procedures imply signifies that an objective entity has recognized a lawyer's higher an advanced degree of specialized ability knowledge and experience in the specialty area greater than is suggested by general licensure to practice law. Those objective entities Certifying organizations may be expected to apply standards of competence, experience and , knowledge and proficiency to insure that a lawyer's recognition as a specialist is meaningful and reliable. In order to insure that consumers can obtain access to useful information about an organization granting certification, the name of the certifying organization or agency must be included in any communication regarding the certification.

 

 

[4] Lawyers may also be certified as specialists by organizations that either have not yet been approved to grant such certification or have been disapproved. In such instances, the consumer may be misled as to the significance of the lawyer's status as a certified specialist. The Rule therefore requires that a lawyer who chooses to communicate recognition by such an organization also clearly state the absence or denial of the organization's authority to grant such certification. Since lawyer advertising through public media and written or recorded communications invites the greatest danger of misleading consumers, the absence or denial of the organization's authority to grant certification must be clearly stated in such advertising in the same sentence that communicates the certification.

 

[5] In jurisdictions where no appropriate regulatory authority has a procedure for approving organizations granting certification, the Rule requires that a lawyer clearly state such lack of procedure. If, however, the named organization has been accredited by the American Bar Association to certify lawyers as specialists in a particular field of law, the communication need not contain such a statement.

 

Model Rule 7.4

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Caption: Add reference to "Specialization"

 

As Rule 7.4 deals with communication of both fields of law in which the lawyer practices and fields of law in which the lawyer claims to be a specialist, the current caption is underinclusive.

 

2. Paragraph (a): Move first sentence to new paragraph (a)

 

This change serves to separate the two basic subjects addressed by this Rule: communication of fields of law in which the lawyer practices, as permitted by paragraph (a), and communication of fields of law in which the lawyer claims to be certified as a specialist, as governed by paragraph (d). No change in substance is intended.

 

3. Paragraph (b): Move current paragraph (a) to new paragraph (b)

 

As revised, the grant of permission to lawyers who are admitted before the United States Patent and Trademark Office to use the designation "Patent Attorney" is no longer presented as an exception to the prohibition against claiming to be certified or recognized as a specialist, but rather is treated as a separate subject. This is because a claim to be a patent attorney is premised on admission to practice rather than on certification as a specialist and also entails more than a simple designation of an area in which the lawyer practices. No change in substance is intended.

 

4. Paragraph (c): Move current paragraph (b) to new paragraph (c)

 

As revised, the grant of permission to lawyers who engage in Admiralty practice to use the designation "Proctor in Admiralty" is no longer presented as an exception to the prohibition against claiming to be certified or recognized as a specialist, but rather is treated as a separate subject. This is because a claim to be a Proctor in Admiralty is not premised on certification but does seem to denote more than a simple designation of an area in which the lawyer practices. No change in substance is intended.

 

5. Paragraph (d): Replace current paragraphs (c) and alternate (c) with new paragraph (d)

 

The key substantive change in Rule 7.4 is to replace current paragraphs (c) and alternate (c) with new paragraph (d). One effect of this change is to eliminate the provisions in current paragraph (c) that allow lawyers to claim certification as a specialist even though the certifying organization is not approved by an appropriate state authority (or accredited by the ABA). This is currently permitted so long as the lawyer indicates the absence of such approval in the same sentence as the claim. The Commission does not think that the disclaimer called for by current paragraph (c) provides an adequate safeguard against potentially misleading claims of certification by an unapproved organization. The Commission believes it is both necessary and constitutionally permissible for the states to protect prospective clients against potentially misleading claims of certification by requiring the organizations conferring the certification to be approved by an appropriate state authority or accredited by the ABA.

 

Paragraph (d) also contains a new requirement that the name of the certifying organization be clearly identified. This will enable prospective clients to make further inquiry about the certification program.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] A minor change has been made to indicate that this Comment refers to paragraph (a) of the restructured Rule.

 

[2] The first sentence has been deleted because paragraphs (b) and (c) are no longer presented as exceptions to the prohibition against claiming to be certified as a specialist. Other minor changes conform the Comment to the changes in the Rule text.

 

[3] The Comment has been modified to conform with paragraph (d). This Comment notes that organizations other than the ABA, such as state bar associations, might be approved by a state authority to accredit organizations that certify lawyers a specialists. The Comment has also been modified to speak in general terms about what is signified by certification as a specialist and what should be expected of certifying organizations.

 

 

[4] and [5] These Comments have been deleted because they relate to current paragraphs (c) and alternate (c), which have been replaced by paragraph (d).

 

 

RULE 7.5: FIRM NAMES AND LETTERHEADS

 

(a) A lawyer shall not use a firm name, letterhead or other professional designation that violates Rule 7.1. A trade name may be used by a lawyer in private practice if it does not imply a connection with a government agency or with a public or charitable legal services organization and is not otherwise in violation of Rule 7.1.

 

(b) A law firm with offices in more than one jurisdiction may use the same name or other professional designation in each jurisdiction, but identification of the lawyers in an office of the firm shall indicate the jurisdictional limitations on those not licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the office is located.

 

(c) The name of a lawyer holding a public office shall not be used in the name of a law firm, or in communications on its behalf, during any substantial period in which the lawyer is not actively and regularly practicing with the firm.

 

(d) Lawyers may state or imply that they practice in a partnership or other organization only when that is the fact.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] A firm may be designated by the names of all or some of its members, by the names of deceased members where there has been a continuing succession in the firm's identity or by a trade name such as the "ABC Legal Clinic." A lawyer or law firm may also be designated by a distinctive website address or comparable professional designation. Although the United States Supreme Court has held that legislation may prohibit the use of trade names in professional practice, use of such names in law practice is acceptable so long as it is not misleading. If a private firm uses a trade name that includes a geographical name such as "Springfield Legal Clinic," an express disclaimer that it is a public legal aid agency may be required to avoid a misleading implication. It may be observed that any firm name including the name of a deceased partner is, strictly speaking, a trade name. The use of such names to designate law firms has proven a useful means of identification. However, it is misleading to use the name of a lawyer not associated with the firm or a predecessor of the firm.

 

[2] With regard to paragraph (d), lawyers sharing office facilities, but who are not in fact partners associated with each other in a law firm, may not denominate themselves as, for example, "Smith and Jones," for that title suggests partnership in the practice of that they are practicing law together in a firm.

 

 

Model Rule 7.5

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

 

Paragraph (b): Add reference to "other professional designation"

 

A reference to "other professional designation" has been added in paragraph (b) to clarify that the Rule applies to website addresses and other ways of identifying law firms in connection with their use of electronic media.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] The new sentence in Comment [1] recognizes that a law firm's website address is a professional designation governed by Rule 7.5. Thus, a law firm may not use a website address that violates Rule 7.1.

 

[2] The reference to partnership in the current Comment is underinclusive because lawyers also practice in professional corporations and limited liability companies.

 

 

RULE 7.6: POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO OBTAIN

GOVERNMENT LEGAL ENGAGEMENTS OR APPOINTMENTS BY JUDGES

 

A lawyer or law firm shall not accept a government legal engagement or an appointment by a judge if the lawyer or law firm makes a political contribution or solicits political contributions for the purpose of obtaining or being considered for that type of legal engagement or appointment.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] Lawyers have a right to participate fully in the political process, which includes making and soliciting political contributions to candidates for judicial and other public office. Nevertheless, when lawyers make or solicit political contributions in order to obtain an engagement for legal work awarded by a government agency, or to obtain appointment by a judge, the public may legitimately question whether the lawyers engaged to perform the work are selected on the basis of competence and merit. In such a circumstance, the integrity of the profession is undermined.

 

[2] The term "political contribution" denotes any gift, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of anything of value made directly or indirectly to a candidate, incumbent, political party or campaign committee to influence or provide financial support for election to or retention in judicial or other government office. Political contributions in initiative and referendum elections are not included. For purposes of this Rule, the term "political contribution" does not include uncompensated services.

 

[3] Subject to the exceptions below, (i) the term "government legal engagement" denotes any engagement to provide legal services that a public official has the direct or indirect power to award; and (ii) the term "appointment by a judge" denotes an appointment to a position such as referee, commissioner, special master, receiver, guardian or other similar position that is made by a judge. Those terms do not, however, include (a) substantially uncompensated services; (b) engagements or appointments made on the basis of experience, expertise, professional qualifications and cost following a request for proposal or other process that is free from influence based upon political contributions; and (c) engagements or appointments made on a rotational basis from a list compiled without regard to political contributions.

 

[4] The term "lawyer or law firm" includes a political action committee or other entity owned or controlled by a lawyer or law firm.

 

[5] Political contributions are for the purpose of obtaining or being considered for a government legal engagement or appointment by a judge if, but for the desire to be considered for the legal engagement or appointment, the lawyer or law firm would not have made or solicited the contributions. The purpose may be determined by an examination of the circumstances in which the contributions occur. For example, one or more contributions that in the aggregate are substantial in relation to other contributions by lawyers or law firms, made for the benefit of an official in a position to influence award of a government legal engagement, and followed by an award of the legal engagement to the contributing or soliciting lawyer or the lawyer's firm would support an inference that the purpose of the contributions was to obtain the engagement, absent other factors that weigh against existence of the proscribed purpose. Those factors may include among others that the contribution or solicitation was made to further a political, social, or economic interest or because of an existing personal, family, or professional relationship with a candidate.

 

[6] If a lawyer makes or solicits a political contribution under circumstances that constitute bribery or another crime, Rule 8.4(b) is implicated.

 

 

Model Rule 7.6

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

The Commission is not recommending any change to the Rule.

 

 

RULE 8.1: BAR ADMISSION AND DISCIPLINARY MATTERS

 

An applicant for admission to the bar, or a lawyer in connection with a bar admission application or in connection with a disciplinary matter, shall not:

 

(a) knowingly make a false statement of material fact; or

 

(b) fail to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension known by the person to have arisen in the matter, or knowingly fail to respond to a lawful demand for information from an admissions or disciplinary authority, except that this rule does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected by Rule 1.6.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] The duty imposed by this Rule extends to persons seeking admission to the bar as well as to lawyers. Hence, if a person makes a material false statement in connection with an application for admission, it may be the basis for subsequent disciplinary action if the person is admitted, and in any event may be relevant in a subsequent admission application. The duty imposed by this Rule applies to a lawyer's own admission or discipline as well as that of others. Thus, it is a separate professional offense for a lawyer to knowingly make a misrepresentation or omission in connection with a disciplinary investigation of the lawyer's own conduct. This Paragraph (b) of this Rule also requires correction of any prior misstatement in the matter that the applicant or lawyer may have made and affirmative clarification of any misunderstanding on the part of the admissions or disciplinary authority of which the person involved becomes aware.

 

[2] This Rule is subject to the provisions of the fifth amendment of the United States Constitution and corresponding provisions of state constitutions. A person relying on such a provision in response to a question, however, should do so openly and not use the right of nondisclosure as a justification for failure to comply with this Rule.

 

[3] A lawyer representing an applicant for admission to the bar, or representing a lawyer who is the subject of a disciplinary inquiry or proceeding, is governed by the rules applicable to the client-lawyer relationship , including Rule 1.6 and, in some cases, Rule 3.3.

 

 

Model Rule 8.1

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

The Commission is not recommending any change in the Rule text.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] These changes clarify that there is a duty to supplement an answer later found to be wrong. The point might already be comprehended within the black letter "correct a misapprehension known by the person to have arisen in the matter," but, to make the point clear, the new language has been added and paragraph (b) is cited as the source of the obligation. No change in substance is intended.

 

[3] This change reminds lawyers that bar admission and professional discipline are judicial proceedings subject to the requirements of Rules 1.6 and 3.3. Although Rule 1.6 does not require a lawyer to come forward with adverse evidence, in a limited number of cases, the requirements of Rule 3.3 may do so. No change in substance is intended.

 

 

RULE 8.2: JUDICIAL AND LEGAL OFFICIALS

 

(a) A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory officer or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office.

 

(b) A lawyer who is a candidate for judicial office shall comply with the applicable provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] Assessments by lawyers are relied on in evaluating the professional or personal fitness of persons being considered for election or appointment to judicial office and to public legal offices, such as attorney general, prosecuting attorney and public defender. Expressing honest and candid opinions on such matters contributes to improving the administration of justice. Conversely, false statements by a lawyer can unfairly undermine public confidence in the administration of justice.

 

[2] When a lawyer seeks judicial office, the lawyer should be bound by applicable limitations on political activity.

 

[3] To maintain the fair and independent administration of justice, lawyers are encouraged to continue traditional efforts to defend judges and courts unjustly criticized.

 

 

Model Rule 8.2

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

The Commission is not recommending any change to the Rule.

 

 

RULE 8.3: REPORTING PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT

 

(a) A lawyer having knowledge who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.

 

(b) A lawyer having knowledge who knows that a judge has committed a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct that raises a substantial question as to the judge's fitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority.

 

(c) This Rule does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected by Rule 1.6or information gained by a lawyer or judge while serving as a member of participating in an approved lawyers assistance program to the extent that such information would be confidential if it were communicated subject to the attorney-client privilege.

 

 

Comment

 

[1] Self-regulation of the legal profession requires that members of the profession initiate disciplinary investigation when they know of a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Lawyers have a similar obligation with respect to judicial misconduct. An apparently isolated violation may indicate a pattern of misconduct that only a disciplinary investigation can uncover. Reporting a violation is especially important where the victim is unlikely to discover the offense.

 

[2] A report about misconduct is not required where it would involve violation of Rule 1.6. However, a lawyer should encourage a client to consent to disclosure where prosecution would not substantially prejudice the client's interests.

 

[3] If a lawyer were obliged to report every violation of the Rules, the failure to report any violation would itself be a professional offense. Such a requirement existed in many jurisdictions but proved to be unenforceable. This Rule limits the reporting obligation to those offenses that a self-regulating profession must vigorously endeavor to prevent. A measure of judgment is, therefore, required in complying with the provisions of this Rule. The term "substantial" refers to the seriousness of the possible offense and not the quantum of evidence of which the lawyer is aware. A report should be made to the bar disciplinary agency unless some other agency, such as a peer review agency, is more appropriate in the circumstances. Similar considerations apply to the reporting of judicial misconduct.

 

[4] The duty to report professional misconduct does not apply to a lawyer retained to represent a lawyer whose professional conduct is in question. Such a situation is governed by the Rules applicable to the client-lawyer relationship.

 

[5] Information about a lawyer's or judge's misconduct or fitness may be received by a lawyer in the course of that lawyer's participation in an approved lawyers or judges assistance program. In that circumstance, providing for the confidentiality of such information an exception to the reporting requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Rule encourages lawyers and judges to seek treatment through such a program. Conversely, without such confidentiality an exception, lawyers and judges may hesitate to seek assistance from these programs, which may then result in additional harm to their professional careers and additional injury to the welfare of clients and the public. The Rule therefore exempts the lawyer from the reporting requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) with respect to information that would be privileged if the relationship between the impaired lawyer or judge and the recipient of the information were that of a client and a lawyer. On the other hand, a lawyer who receives such information would nevertheless be required to comply with the Rule 8.3 reporting provisions to report misconduct if the impaired lawyer or judge indicates an intent to engage in illegal activity, for example, the conversion of client funds to his or her use. These Rules do not otherwise address the confidentiality of information received by a lawyer or judge participating in an approved lawyers assistance program; such an obligation, however, may be imposed by the rules of the program or other law.

 

Model Rule 8.3

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

1. Paragraphs (a) and (b): Change "having knowledge" to "who knows"

 

In importing DR 1-103 of the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility into the Model Rules, the "having knowledge" formulation was used even though that term is undefined in the Rules. "Knows" and "knowingly," on the other hand, are defined terms, and the Commission is substituting them in this Rule for consistency and to put the mandate into the active voice. No change in substance is intended.

 

2. Paragraph (c): Substitute Rule 1.6 for "privilege"

 

The proposed change makes Rule 1.6 the operative standard as it is throughout the rest of the Model Rules.

 

3. Paragraph (c): Change "serving as a member of" to "participating"

 

This change expands the reporting exception to any lawyer or judge who participates in an approved lawyers assistance program, even if such participation is limited to a single instance.

 

4. Paragraph (c): Modify reference to information gained in lawyers assistance program

 

The Commission determined that the attempt to qualify or specify the conditions on which information gained by a lawyer or judge while participating in an approved lawyers assistance program is unnecessary and confusing. This modification makes it clear that this Rule does not require the reporting of information obtained during such participation.

 

COMMENT:

 

[5] The changes in the fourth sentence are intended to make clear that Rule 1.6 is the operative standard, not the attorney-client privilege. The last sentence of current Comment [5] has been deleted because it is inaccurate. It is not a violation of the Model Rules for a lawyer, impaired or otherwise, to "intend" to do something wrong, so it would not be reportable "professional misconduct" under any construction of the Rules. As drafted by the Commission, Rule 1.6 permits but does not require disclosure in certain circumstances. The changes also clarify that paragraph (c) of this Rule does not generally address the confidentiality obligations of a lawyer or judge who participates in a lawyers assistance program, but merely creates an exception to the reporting obligation under paragraphs (a) and (b). Whether an obligation of confidentiality is incurred depends on the rules of the particular program as well as law external to these Rules.

 

 

RULE 8.4: MISCONDUCT

 

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

 

(a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;

 

(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;

 

(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;

 

(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;

 

(e) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law; or

 

(f) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law.

 

 

Comment

 

 

[1] Lawyers are subject to discipline when they violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so or do so through the acts of another, as when they request or instruct an agent to do so on the lawyer's behalf. Paragraph (a), however, does not prohibit a lawyer from advising a client concerning action the client is legally entitled to take.

 

 

[1] [2] Many kinds of illegal conduct reflect adversely on fitness to practice law, such as offenses involving fraud and the offense of willful failure to file an income tax return. However, some kinds of offenses carry no such implication. Traditionally, the distinction was drawn in terms of offenses involving "moral turpitude." That concept can be construed to include offenses concerning some matters of personal morality, such as adultery and comparable offenses, that have no specific connection to fitness for the practice of law. Although a lawyer is personally answerable to the entire criminal law, a lawyer should be professionally answerable only for offenses that indicate lack of those characteristics relevant to law practice. Offenses involving violence, dishonesty, breach of trust, or serious interference with the administration of justice are in that category. A pattern of repeated offenses, even ones of minor significance when considered separately, can indicate indifference to legal obligation.

 

 

[2] [3] A lawyer who, in the course of representing a client, knowingly manifests by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, violates paragraph (d) when such actions are prejudicial to the administration of justice. Legitimate advocacy respecting the foregoing factors does not violate paragraph (d). A trial judge's finding that peremptory challenges were exercised on a discriminatory basis does not alone establish a violation of this rule.

 

 

[3] [4] A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law.

 

 

[4] [5] Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer's abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of lawyers. The same is true of abuse of positions of private trust such as trustee, executor, administrator, guardian, agent and officer, director or manager of a corporation or other organization.

 

 

Model Rule 8.4

Reporter's Explanation of Changes

 

TEXT:

 

 

Paragraph (e): Add material deleted from Rule 7.1

 

Rule 7.1 currently provides that a lawyer may not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's services and, further, that a communication is false or misleading, inter alia, if it "states or implies that the lawyer can achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law." The Commission recommends that this prohibition be moved out of Rule 7.1 and added to paragraph (e) in order to clarify that the prohibition is not limited to statements made in connection with marketing legal services.

 

COMMENT:

 

[1] The purpose of this new Comment is to explain when a lawyer is subject to discipline for violating or attempting to violate the Rules "through the acts of another" and to distinguish such conduct from advising a client concerning action the client is legally entitled to take.

 

 

RULE 8.5: DISCIPLINARY AUTHORITY; CHOICE OF LAW

 

(a) Disciplinary Authority. A lawyer admitted to practice in this jurisdiction is subject to the disciplinary authority of this jurisdiction, regardless of where the lawyer's conduct occurs. A lawyer not admitted in this jurisdiction is also subject to the disciplinary authority of this jurisdiction if the lawyer renders or offers to render any legal services in this jurisdiction. A lawyer may be subject to the disciplinary authority of both this jurisdiction and another jurisdiction where the lawyer is admitted for the same conduct.

 

(b) Choice of Law. In any exercise of the disciplinary authority of this jurisdiction, the rules of professional conduct to be applied shall be as follows:

 

(1) for conduct in connection with a proceeding in matter pending before a court before which a lawyer has been admitted to practice (either generally or for purposes of that proceeding) tribunal, the rules to be applied shall be the rules of the jurisdiction in which the court tribunal sits, unless the rules of the court tribunal provide otherwise; and

(2) for any other conduct, the rules of the jurisdiction in which the lawyer’s conduct occurred, or, if the predominant effect of the conduct is in a different jurisdiction, the rules of that jurisdiction shall be applied to the conduct. A lawyer is not subject to discipline if the lawyer’s conduct conforms to the rules of a jurisdiction in which the lawyer reasonably believes the predominant effect of the lawyer’s conduct will occur