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

Model Rule 3.9

Reporter’s Explanation of Changes


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.


[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.

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