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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

New rules revision commission to begin work

Justice Lee Edmon, presiding justice of the 2nd District Court of Appeal, will chair a 19-member commission to revise California’s ethical rules for attorneys. The first meeting is set for March 27.

Lee Edmon

State Bar President Craig Holden also named Jeffrey L. Bleich, a former bar president who recently served as ambassador to Australia, and Dean J. Zipser, an Orange County litigator, as co-vice-chairmen of the Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The other 16 commission members include legal ethics experts, a public member and lawyers and judges from a variety of practice areas. The commission will also receive input from six non-voting advisers, including a liaison from the California Supreme Court.

“I’m confident that we’ve chosen a capable and diverse group to take a fresh look at the issues with a strong eye toward public protection,” Holden said.

The current rules have been in effect since 1987. A previous State Bar commission had proposed a new set of rules. However, last year the bar requested the recommendations be returned. The Supreme Court granted the request in September 2014 and called for the appointment of a new commission to finish the work by March 31, 2017.

Holden also thanked those who served on the previous commission, three of whom will be returning to the new commission.

California is the only state whose professional conduct rules for lawyers are not adapted from the American Bar Association Model Rules. While the ABA rules may provide guidance, the Supreme Court urged the commission to keep the rules as a set of minimum disciplinary standards, avoiding rules that are purely aspirational and limiting the use of comments. The commission’s proposed rules must undergo public comment, be adopted by the State Bar Board of Trustees and approved by the Supreme Court before they go into effect.

Attorneys and members of the public who want to engage in the process may sign up for notification of the commission’s meetings and agendas by email to Angela Marlaud,