chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
March 08, 2021

Preamble and Scope

Reporter's Explanation of Changes


[1] This addition reflects the resolution that was adopted by the ABA House of Delegates at its Annual Meeting in New York in August 2000.

[2] The reference to the lawyer as intermediary was deleted in accordance with the Commission's decision to delete Rule 2.2. The change in the last sentence is stylistic only and conforms the style of this sentence to that of the preceding sentences.

[3] This is an entirely new paragraph. It addresses the lawyer's role as third-party neutral, a role that is now addressed in Rules 1.12 and 2.4. In addition, it reminds lawyers that there are other rules that apply to lawyers when they are not active in the practice of law or to practicing lawyers when they are acting in a nonprofessional capacity.

[6] The additions regarding the lawyer's duty to promote improved access to justice reflect the resolution that was adopted by the ABA House of Delegates at its Annual Meeting in New York in August 2000. The addition regarding the lawyer's duty to further the public's understanding of and confidence in law reflects the resolution that was adopted by the ABA House of Delegates at the Midyear Meeting in Dallas in February 2000.

[9] The change from "upright" to "ethical" is stylistic. The remainder of the changes reflect the Commission's belief that the Rules do not always prescribe terms for resolving conflicts between a lawyer's competing responsibilities and interests, although they often do. The last sentence is an attempt to give lawyers further guidance in how the basic principles underlying the Rules may help resolve such conflicts.


[14] The change in the third sentence is designed to clarify what is meant by "professional discretion."

[15] The addition describes material that was added to a number of Comments throughout the Rules. Given the growth in the law governing lawyers, the Commission believes that these references are helpful to practicing lawyers, particularly where the obligations under such law are more onerous than the obligations reflected in the Rules.

[16] The prior paragraph was split to better reflect the two separate thoughts in each paragraph.

[17] Under Rule 1.18 it is now clear that there are duties under these Rules that attach prior to the formation of the client-lawyer relationship.

[18] The Commission believes that the deleted sentence is an inaccurate statement of the responsibilities of government lawyers, who do not ordinarily represent "the public interest" at large. The Commission believes that the identity of a government client is more accurately described in the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility's Formal Opinion 97-405, which relies on the reasonable understandings of the lawyer and responsible government officials. The Commission intends to incorporate the principles underlying Opinion 97-405 in revisions to Comment [6] to Rule 1.13.

[20] These changes reflect the decisions of courts on the relationship between these Rules and causes of action against a lawyer, including the admissibility of evidence of violation of a Rule in appropriate cases.

[19] and [20] These paragraphs were deleted because they merely repeat what is stated elsewhere in the Rules, primarily in the Comment to Rule 1.6.

[21] This material was deleted because the research notes have been superseded by the Legal Background sections of the Annotated Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

Return to Report Home Page | Return to Ethics 2000 Home Page | Return to Center Home Page