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March 08, 2021

Model Rule 1.3

Reporter's Explanation of Changes


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


[1] Several changes have been made to Comment [1] to clarify the lawyer's authority and duty to take certain actions on behalf of the client. No change in substance is intended.

[1] and [3] New material has been added to comments [1] and [3] to provide some support for the bar's civility initiatives. No change in substance is intended.

[2] This new Comment contains the substance of the last sentence in current Comment [1], with the reference to "should" being replaced with "must" because Rule 1.1 requires that a lawyer provide competent representation. No change in substance is intended.

[4] Current Comment [3] has been modified to sharpen its discussion of a lawyer's responsibilities with respect to taking an appeal from an adverse decision. No change in substance is intended.

[5] This new Comment has been added to alert sole practitioners to the need to have a plan in place to prevent client matters from being neglected in the event of the sole practitioner's death or disability. It also calls attention to the recommendation of the Senior Lawyers Division approved by the House of Delegates in 1997 that "urges state, local and territorial jurisdictions, that do not now have programs in place, to address the issue of the death or disability of lawyers and to develop and implement through court rule or other appropriate means effective procedures for the protection of clients' interests and property and the ethical closure or disposition of the practices." It is also consistent with Formal Ethics Opinion 92-369.

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