PLEASE NOTE: Publication for public comment is not, and shall not, be construed as a recommendation or approval by the Board of Governors of the materials published.
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 does an attorney violate rule 4-400 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct by accepting a gift from a client?
The opinion interprets rules Rules 1-100(B)(2) and 4-400 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct
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 issues such as the value of the gift from the perspective of both the client and the attorney both financially and otherwise, as well as general standards of fairness.
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)), COPRAC tentatively approved Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 08‑0001 for a 90‑day public comment distribution with a July 16, 2010 deadline. Subsequently, at its November 5 & 6, 2010 meeting, COPRAC revised the opinion in response to the public comments received and, in further accordance with its Rules of Procedure, tentatively approved Formal Opinion Interim No. 08-0001 for an additional 45-day public comment distribution.
State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct
5 p.m., February 11, 2011
The State Bar of California
Office of Professional Competence, Planning and Development
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105