As California changes ethics rules, surveyed lawyers express concern about integrity of the profession
Among the 38% of the respondents who said the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct should be revised, 65% called for revision of rule categories dealing with maintaining the integrity of the profession. Image from Shutterstock.
Lawyers who back ethics reform are most concerned about maintaining the integrity of the legal profession, according to a survey by Bloomberg Law.
Their concern could be be due to election-fraud claims and the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot, according to the Bloomberg Law writer who reported on the finding from the 2023 State of Practice survey.
Among the 38% of the respondents who said the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct should be revised, 65% called for revision of rule categories dealing with maintaining the integrity of the profession. Another area of concern was the client-lawyer relationship; 41% of lawyers said model rules in that area need revision.
Lawyer ethics is also the subject of a bill passed by the California lawmakers last week, Reuters reports.
Senate Bill 40 requires lawyers to report to the state bar when they think that other attorneys are engaging in seditious conspiracy, treason, rebellion or insurrection. The requirement does not apply to information protected by attorney-client privilege.
Democratic California State Sen. Tom Umberg, the bill’s author, told Reuters that he expects Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign the bill.
The legislation is a response to allegations against former Chapman University law professor John Eastman, according to prior reporting by Bloomberg Law. Eastman is facing ethics and criminal charges in connection with his stolen-election claims and theories on overturning election results.
In June, the California Supreme Court approved another revision to the state’s ethics rules. It requires lawyers to report to the state bar when other lawyers engage in fraud, misappropriation of funds and other misconduct that raises a substantial question about honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer.
California was the only state without such a rule before its adoption, according to previous reporting by Reuters.