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Bar trustees endorse changes to Rules of Professional Conduct

Tuesday, December 18, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Menden
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The State Bar of Montana Board of Trustees has endorsed Ethics Committee recommendations for changes to the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct. 

Starting in April 2017, the committee reviewed 29 Montana rules that are not identical to the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Of those, the committee recommended that 11 be amended to correspond with the Model Rules, 10 remain as currently written, and one ABA rule be rejected entirely. It also called for seven unique Montana rules to be amended to absorb ABA language.

This is the first comprehensive review of the MRPC since 2002-2003.

The board approved the recommendations at its Dec. 7 meeting. The board and the Ethics Committee now will jointly petition the Montana Supreme Court to adopt the proposals.

The rules addressed in the review are listed below. An article explaining the recommended changes will be in the February 2019 issue of the Montana Lawyer.

Recommend Adopting ABA Model Rule

  • Rule 1.2 Scope and Allocation of Authority
  • Rule 1.6, Confidentiality, with two additional commas;
  • Rule 1.13, Organization as a Client
  • Rule 1.20, Duties to Prospective Clients
  • Rule 4.2 Communication with Person Represented by Counsel
  • Rule 4.3 Dealing with Unrepresented Person
  • Rule 3.8, Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor
  • Rule 5.5, Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multi-jurisdictional Practice of Law
  • Rule 5.7, Responsibilities Regarding Law-Related Services
  • Rule 7.2, Advertising, with slight modification
  • Rule 7.4, Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization --eliminated, per ABA

Retain Montana Rule with Amendment

  • Rule 1.0, Terminology
  •  Rule 1.5, Fees
  • Rule 1.8, Conflicts: Specific Rules
  •   Rule 1.10, Imputation of Conflicts
  • Rule 1.15, Safekeeping Property
  • Rule 1.18 Montana’s Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Program
  • Rule 8.5, Jurisdiction and Certification

Retain Montana Rule with No Amendment

  • Rule 1.16, Declining or Terminating Representation
  • Rule 1.17, Government Employment
  • Rule 1.19, Sale of Practice (the ABA’s Rule is 1.17)
  • Rule 3.1, Meritorious Claims and Contentions
  • Rule 3.5, Impartiality and Decorum of Tribunal
  • Rule 5.1 Responsibilities of Partners, Managers
  • Rule 6.1, Voluntary Pro Bono
  • Rule 7.1, Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services
  • Rule 7.3, Direct Contact with Prospective Clients
  • Rule 7.5, Firm Names and Letterheads

Reject ABA Rule

  • Rule 7.6

Unique Montana Proposal

  • Preamble, paragraph 6 in lieu of requested amendment to Rule 1.2(d), addressing Cannabis