Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pennsylvania Revises Ethics Rules

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has announced substantial revisions to its Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Disciplinary Board web page has highlights

  • Rule 1.0, Terminology: definition of “writing” expanded to all electronic communications; minor change in comments.
  • Rule 1.1, Competence: changes to comments, including two new sections.
  • Rule 1.4, Communication: comment changed to indicate duty to respond promptly applies to all client communications.
  • Rule 1.6, Confidentiality of  Information: new language relating to detection and resolution of conflicts of interest, and efforts required to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure or access to client information. Extensive changes to comments.
  • Rule 1.17, Sale of Law Practice: changes to comments regarding confidentiality in negotiations of sale.
  • Rule 1.18, Duties to Prospective Clients: changes in wording of Rule, significant changes in comments.
  • Rule 4.4, Respect for Rights of Third Persons: Rule clarified to apply to electronically stored information; extensive changes to comments.
  • Rule 5.3, Responsibilities Regarding  Nonlawyer Assistance: extensive changes to comments.
  • Rule 5.5, Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice Of Law: changes to comments.
  • Rule 7.1, Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Service: change to comment regarding application of Rule to public, prospective clients.
  • Rule 7.2, Advertising: extensive changes to comments.
  • Rule 7.3, Solicitation of Clients: substantive changes in title and content of Rule; extensive changes in comments.

The new rules go into effect on November 21. (Mike Frisch)


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