Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 08‑0001 (Gifts from Clients).
The State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) is charged with the task of issuing advisory opinions on the ethical propriety of hypothetical attorney conduct. In accordance with Tab 19, Article 2, Section 6(g) of the State Bar Board Book the Committee shall publish proposed formal opinions for a public comment period of no less than 60 days.
Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 08‑0001 considers when an attorney violates rule 4-400 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct by accepting a gift from a client.
The opinion interprets rules 1-100(B)(2) and 4-400 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California.
The opinion digest states: An attorney who demonstrates by words or conduct an intent to cause a client to give the attorney a substantial gift violates rule 4-400. Whether a gift is substantial must be determined by examining the value of the gift from the perspective of both the client and the attorney. If the gift is substantial, from either perspective, and the attorney said or did something with the intent to cause the gift to be given, the attorney violates rule 4-400.
At its January 15, 2010 meeting and in accordance with its Rules of Procedure (State Bar Board Book Tab 19, Art. 2, Sec. 6(g)), the State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct tentatively approved Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 08‑0001 for a 90‑day public comment distribution.
The Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) welcomes oral comments on formal opinion interim nos. 06-0004 (re Confidential Information and Unsolicited E-Mail Correspondence) and 08-0001 (re Gifts from Clients) at its June 11 meeting, 2 - 3 p.m., at the Los Angeles office of the State Bar (1149 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015). Contact Audrey Hollins, 415-538-2167, to provide oral comment on these opinions.
State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct
July 16, 2010
The State Bar of California
Office of Professional Competence, Planning and Development
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105