Public Comment Sought on Professional Conduct Rules Amendments
The Ohio Supreme Court will accept public comment until October 15 on proposed amendments to the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct concerning technology, confidentiality, client development, client solicitation, and other matters.
An update to the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct spurred the Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline to review and recommend adoption of the changes. The board also considered other changes – proposed by Ohio lawyers – to the professional conduct rules and Gov. Bar R. III.
A few of the more significant changes under consideration include:
- Requiring lawyers to maintain competency regarding the risks and benefits of technology (Rule 1.1), including making reasonable efforts to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of or access to confidential client information (Rule 1.6).
- Revising Rule 4.4 (Rights of Third Persons) to add electronically stored information to the scope of the rule and to expand on a lawyer’s duties if he or she mistakenly receives this type of information.
- Modifying Rules 7.1, 7.2, and 7.3 (Lawyer Advertising) to reflect advertising and solicitations that may be made via the Internet and in electronic format. In addition, the Ohio-specific portion of Rule 7.3 would be revised to correspond to references to telemarketing laws and rules contained in Board Advisory Op. 2013-2 (text message solicitations).
- Amending Rule 1.6 (Confidentiality) to allow lawyers to make a limited disclosure of confidential information to detect and resolve conflicts associated with a change in employment or a change in the ownership or composition of a law firm.
- Amending Rule 7.3 to prohibit the solicitation of potential clients who are minors or who are unable to make informed decisions regarding representation.
View the complete language of the proposed amendments. Comments should be submitted in writing to:
Richard A. Dove, Secretary, Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline
Ohio Supreme Court
65 S. Front St., Fifth Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
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