The State Bar seeks public comment regarding Proposed Formal Opinion No. 14-0003 regarding settling a client's case before withdrawing from representation.
Deadline: 5 p.m. May 3, 2018
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 5.1, Article 2, Section 6(g) of the State Bar Board Book, the committee shall publish proposed formal opinions for public comment.
Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 14‑0003 considers: May an attorney who is required to withdraw from representing a client under rule 3-700(B) because the client's claim or defense lacks merit, ethically settle the action before withdrawing from the representation?
The opinion interprets rules 3-200 and 3-700 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California; and Business and Professions Code sections 6068(c), 6068(d), 6106, and 6128(a).
The opinion digest states:
An attorney who has concluded that a client's claim or defense lacks merit and cannot be pursued without violating the Rules of Professional Conduct or State Bar Act is required to withdraw from the representation. Before withdrawing, the attorney must take reasonable steps to avoid reasonably foreseeable prejudice to the client. Such reasonable steps may include settling the claim. However, the attorney may not make false statements to the opposing party about the merits of the client's case during the settlement process. Nor may the attorney settle if the attorney knows that information bearing on the merits, which had to be disclosed to the opposing party, was not disclosed.
At its Jan. 12, 2018 meeting and in accordance with its Rules of Procedure, the State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct tentatively approved Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 14‑0003 for a 90‑day public comment distribution.
Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 14-0003
Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct
5 p.m. May 3, 2018
Angela MarlaudOffice of Professional Competence, Planning and DevelopmentState Bar of California180 Howard St.San Francisco, CA 94105-1639Phone: 415-538-2116Fax: 415-538-2171Email: firstname.lastname@example.org