HWG Regulatory Advisory: October 2015 Amendments to the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct

October 13, 2015

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued an order on October 8, 2015, amending the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct.  The amendments concerned three rules.

  1. Rule 1.10 was amended to permit lateral screening of lawyers moving from one firm to another.  See Rule 1.10(b)(3).
  2. The Court added a new Comment to Rule 1.15, numbered Comment [2].  The Comment addressed the requirement that a lawyer keep “complete records” of how the lawyer handles client and third party funds pursuant to Rule 1.15(a). The Comment stressed that the records themselves should be sufficiently accurate and clear that Bar Counsel can assess compliance with Rule 1.15(a) without even needing to consult the lawyer
  3. Finally, the Court amended Rule 7.1 to authorize participation in lawyer referral services and non-exclusive reciprocal referral arrangements provided that no money is paid. The Court also eliminated payments by lawyers to non-employees/non-partners for recommending the lawyers services.  Previously, the Rules had only prohibited such payments for recommendations made through in-person contact.  See D.C. Rule 7.1(c).

The amendments are effective immediately, i.e., October 8, 2015.  The full text of the Court’s Order can be found here. The Court declined to adopt proposed Rule 8.6 which would have required disclosure by lawyers of information that “raises a substantial question about the innocence of a convicted person.”

Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis will hold a CLE on the new amendments to the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct on October 30, 2015.  We are applying for CLE credit for this program from the Virginia Bar.  For further information, please contact Ashley Mills at CLE@hwglaw.com.

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For more information regarding the October 2015 Amendments to the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct sanctions or Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP’s Legal Ethics practice, please contact Thomas Mason at +1 (202) 730-1302 or by e-mail at tmason@hwglaw.com, or contact the HWG lawyer with whom you regularly work.

This client advisory is not intended to convey legal advice.  It is circulated to our clients as a convenience and is not intended to reflect or create an attorney-client relationship as to its subject matter.

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