News and Information
February 28, 2020

VSB Ethics Committee Seeks Comments on RPC Rule Amendments

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics seeks public comment on proposed amendments to Rules 1.8, 1.10, 1.15, and 3.3, of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The proposed amendment to Rule 1.8(b) amends the rule to mirror the standard for confidentiality set out in Rule 1.6(a), rather than the broader standard of “information relating to representation of a client,” and adds proposed new Comment [2] to explain the purpose and application of Rule 1.8(b). 

The proposed amendment to Rule 1.10(d) is a companion to the proposed amendments to Rule 1.8(k) (also currently pending public comment); if the amendment to Rule 1.8 is adopted, it will renumber the paragraphs of Rule 1.8 and Rule 1.10(d) will need to be amended to refer to Rule 1.8(l) instead of Rule 1.8(k). The proposed amendments to Rule 1.10 Comment [1] and to Rule 1.15 Comment [1] replace uses of “should” with “must” where the comments are describing mandatory duties. 

Finally, the proposed amendment to Rule 3.3 Comment [11] removes the potentially confusing phrase “except in the defense of a criminal accused,” since the comment as written could imply that the rules for remedying a client’s perjury differ in a criminal case; the proposed revision clarifies and streamlines the comment to be clear that a lawyer must take reasonable remedial measures when a client commits perjury, regardless of the nature of the representation.

The proposed rule amendments may be inspected here, or at the office of the Virginia State Bar, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0060, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or by contacting the Office of Ethics Counsel at 804-775-0557.

Any individual, business, or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed opinion with Karen A. Gould, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than April 3, 2020. Comments may be submitted via email to publiccomment@vsb.org.

Updated: Feb 28, 2020