January 30, 2014
Comments Sought on Proposed Amendment to Rule of Professional Conduct 1.10
Pursuant to Part Six: Section IV, Paragraph 10-2(C) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics (“Committee”) is seeking public comment on a proposed amendment to Rule 1.10 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
This proposed Rule amendment is intended to avoid a situation in which a lawyer avoids the imputation of a conflict of interest by avoiding the knowledge that another lawyer in the firm has a conflict as to the representation. Under the current standard of “knowing” that another lawyer in the firm is prohibited from undertaking the representation, a lawyer can avoid the application of Rule 1.10(a), which would impute a conflict to him, by willfully failing to learn the information that establishes the existence of the conflict. The proposed Rule amendment imputes a conflict if the lawyer “knows or reasonably should know” that another lawyer in the firm is prohibited from representing the client. The proposed amendment adds a new Comment [2a] to explain that the failure to maintain or use a system for identifying conflicts may be deemed a violation of Rule 1.10(a), if proper use of the system would have identified the conflict.
Inspection and Comment
The proposed amendments may be inspected at the offices of the Virginia State Bar, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219-2800, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Copies of the proposed amendments can be obtained from the offices of the Virginia State Bar by contacting the Office of Ethics Counsel at 804-775-0557, or can be downloaded from the Virginia State Bar’s website as a PDF.
Any individual, business, or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed amendments with Karen A. Gould, the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than March 7, 2014. Comments may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.Updated: Jan 30, 2014