Court Adopts Professional Conduct Rule Amendments
The Ohio Supreme Court adopted amendments to the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct concerning technology, confidentiality, client development, client solicitation, and other matters. The rules take effect April 1.
An update to the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct spurred the Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Conduct to review and recommend adoption of the changes.
A few of the more significant changes 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 inadvertently 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.
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