PLEASE NOTE: Publication for public comment is not, and shall not be, construed as a recommendation or approval by the Board of Trustees of the materials published.
The State Bar’s Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct (Commission) is assigned to conduct a study of the current Rules of Professional Conduct and propose comprehensive amendments for consideration by the State Bar Board of Trustees. Pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 6076, the State Bar is authorized to formulate professional conduct rules that may be submitted to the California Supreme Court for approval. If approved by the California Supreme Court, the rules become binding upon all members of the State Bar and a violation of a rule subjects a member to discipline (Business and Professions Code section 6077).
The Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct invites interested persons to provide, by written comment, proposals for changes to the California Rules of Professional Conduct that should be studied by the Commission. The complete text of the current rules is posted here.
The State Bar’s deadline for completing the rule revision project is no later than March 31, 2017. The State Bar has adopted the following charter for guiding the Commission:
1. The Commission’s work should promote confidence in the legal profession and the administration of justice, and ensure adequate protection to the public.
2. The Commission should consider the historical purpose of the Rules of Professional Conduct in California, and ensure that the proposed rules set forth a clear and enforceable articulation of disciplinary standards, as opposed to purely aspirational objectives.
3. The Commission should begin with the current Rules and focus on revisions that (a) are necessary to address changes in law and (b) eliminate, when and if appropriate, unnecessary differences between California’s rules and the rules used by a preponderance of the states (in some cases in reliance on the American Bar Association’s Model Rules) in order to help promote a national standard with respect to professional responsibility issues whenever possible.
4. The Commission’s work should facilitate compliance with and enforcement of the Rules by eliminating ambiguities and uncertainties.
5. Substantive information about the conduct governed by the rule should be included in the rule itself. Official commentary to the proposed rules should not conflict with the language of the rules, and should be used sparingly to elucidate, and not to expand upon, the rules themselves. The proposed amendments developed by the Commission should be accompanied by a report setting forth the Commission’s rationale for retaining or changing any rule and related commentary language.
At its April 24, 2015 meeting, the Board of Trustees Regulation and Discipline Committee authorized a 45-day public comment period to seek general input on possible amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct that ought to be considered by the Commission.
5 p.m., June 16, 2015
Or send written comments to:
Office of Professional Competence, Planning and Development
State Bar of California
180 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639