Archive for the tpoic: ‘Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct’

Proposals Would Affect Conflict-of-Interest Rules

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

(“Fish are our friends.” Photo composition of Bruce A. Campbell photos: shark and clown fish.)

The proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct could change the ethics rules for Texas lawyers. The State Bar of Texas published a second set of proposed rules on its website in April. Although each of the  proposed amendments is important, the conflict-of-interest rules are particularly worthy of discussion; space constraints permits discussion of only a few.

Five of the existing disciplinary rules primarily govern conflicts of interest.

  • Rule 1.06 governs current-client conflicts;
  • Rule 1.09 addresses former-client conflicts;
  • Rule 1.08 concerns prohibited transactions;
  • Rule 1.07 is sometimes known as the lawyer-intermediary rule; and
  • Rule 1.10 concerns lawyers who are, or were, employed in government service.

Read the full article published in Texas Lawyer 17 May 2010.

Comment on Disciplinary Rules’ Proposed Amendments

Monday, December 28th, 2009

The Texas Supreme Court proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct that are broad and extensive:

  • 5 newly defined terms that apply to the entire body of rules
  • 40 revised rules
  • 4 new rules — five if you count Rule 1.00, the new terminology rule
  • 11 rules that have not been amended except through the terminology changes added by Rule 1.00.

Not since January 1, 1990 have the Disciplinary Rules undergone this level of revision. Significantly, after the 1990 revisions to the Rules, the number of disciplinary sanctions against Texas lawyers experienced a substantial increase approximately a year after the rules changed. And, the number of sanctions did not return to normal even nine years later. (“Lady or the Tiger? Opening the Door to Lawyer Discipline Standards,” Bruce A. Campbell, Fla. Coastal L.J. Vol. 1, p.232-36 (1999). If there was one lesson to be learned from the last time the Rules were substantively amended, it is that it can take a decade or more for lawyers to conform their conduct to substantial changes in the Rules.

You may want to read my comments in Texas Lawyer on proposed changes to rules governing:

  • Informed Consent
  • Affiliated Lawyers and Entities
  • Prospective Clients

Sawdust and the 2 X 4

Friday, October 30th, 2009

While many Texas lawyers are focused on whether E&O insurance must be disclosed by lawyers to their clients, the Texas Supreme Court recently released for comment, a massive revision of the Texas Disciplinary Rules. The E&O issue is but a speck of sawdust in the eyes of Texas lawyers compared to the 2 X 4 of changes proposed to the D.R.’s.

Based on their depth and breadth, the changes in the Disciplinary Rules proposed on October 20 have a much greater potential for influencing the practice of law.

The changes affect areas such as:

  • who is an affiliated lawyer
  • what obligations are owed to prospective clients
  • conflicts of interest
  • safekeeping of property
  • candor to the tribunal
  • obligations of managerial attorneys
  • many, many more rule additions and changes

During the next months, I will be discussing the consequences of several of the rule changes.