Friday, July 6, 2012
A new ethical rule adopted in Pennsylvania will govern the conduct of lawyer-lobbyists.
The web page of the Disciplinary Board reports:
By order dated May 17, 2012, the Supreme Court extended Rule 1.19 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which deals with lawyers acting as lobbyists, to lobbying governed by ordinances or regulations of units of local government.
The substance of Rule 1.19 may not be familiar to all lawyers. The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct do not contain a corresponding provision. It requires lawyers acting as lobbyists before the Legislature, the Executive Branch, state agencies, and now units of local government to comply with all statutes, regulations, disclosure requirements, or other standards enacted by such bodies, to the extent they are consistent with the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Rule does not impose substantive requirements itself, but it does mean that violation of any applicable law can be grounds for discipline, even if it is not a criminal conviction subject to Rule 214, Pa.R.D.E., or a violation of any of the provisions of Rule 8.4., Pa.R.P.C.
Section (b) of Rule 1.19 provides that any disclosure required by such laws is a disclosure explicitly authorized to carry out the representation, not prohibited by the confidentiality provisions of Rule 1.6, Pa.R.P.C.