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Public Comment

Professional conduct rules

Sixty-nine proposed new and amended Rules of Professional Conduct are the sixth group of proposed rules developed by the State Bar’s Special Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Among other things, the rules cover Duties to Prospective Client, Voluntary Pro Bono Publico Service, Purchase and Sale of a Law Practice and Disclosure of Professional Liability Insurance.

Fee arbitration rules

Nine proposed revisions to the Model Rules of Procedure for Fee Arbitrations include new and expanded definitions and requirements.

Rules of Procedure

Proposed revisions to the State Bar Rules of Procedure, intended to streamline the discipline process, would among other things revise the default process, require mandatory exchange of discovery, modify the evidence standard, schedule trials on consecutive days and limit the timing and length of briefs on review.

Admiralty and maritime law

Proposed amendment to the standards for certification of admiralty and maritime law establish additional requirements that specialization certification applicants must satisfy in lieu of passing a written exam.

Conflict of interest

Proposed amendments to the conflict of interest code for the State Bar Board of Governors would make the code compliant with financial disclosure requirements under the California Political Reform Act for persons involved in negotiating, recommending or approving any contracts or purchases of more than $75,000.

Discipline sanctions

Proposed revisions to the Standards for Attorney Sanctions for Professional Misconduct would among other things add five aggravating circumstances and amend three mitigating circumstances, impose disbarment in many instances in which an attorney defaults in a disciplinary proceeding, require compliance with rule 9.20 if an actual suspension exceeds 60 days, and specify suspension periods.

Unsolicited e-mails and confidential information

Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 06‑0004 asks: If an attorney receives from a non-party a confidential communication between opposing counsel and opposing counsel’s client what should the attorney do if he or she reasonably believes that the communication may not be privileged because of the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege. Oral comments may be submitted June 11 at a 2 p.m. hearing in Los Angeles. Contact Angela Marlaud (see below).

Gifts from clients

Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 08‑0001 considers when an attorney violates rule 4-400 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct by accepting a gift from a client. Oral comments may be submitted June 11 at a 2 p.m. hearing in Los Angeles. Contact Angela Marlaud (see below).