Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct

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3 7 Lawyer as Witness 127,3 8 Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor 130. 3 9 Advocate in Nonadjudicative Proceedings 132,Transactions with Persons Other Than Clients. 4 1 Truthfulness in Statements to Others 133, 4 2 Communication with Person Represented by Counsel 135. 4 3 Dealing with Unrepresented Person 137,4 4 Respect for Rights of Third Persons 139. Law Firms and Associations, 5 1 Responsibilities of Partners Managers and Supervisory Lawyers 141.
5 2 Responsibilities of a Subordinate Lawyer 143, 5 3 Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants 144. 5 4 Professional Independence of a Lawyer 146, 5 5 Unauthorized Practice of Law Multijurisdictional Practice of Law 148. 5 6 Restrictions on Right to Practice 154, 5 7 Responsibilities Regarding Law Related Services 155. Public Service, 6 1 Voluntary Pro Bono Publico Service Action Deferred See Note 159. 6 2 Accepting Appointments 160, 6 3 Membership in Legal Services Organization Not Adopted See Note 161.
6 4 Law Reform Activities Affecting Client Interests Not Adopted See Note 162. 6 5 Nonprofit and Court Annexed Limited Legal Services Programs 163. Information About Legal Services, 7 1 Communications Concerning a Lawyer s Services 165. 7 2 Advertising and Recommendation of Professional Employment 167. 7 3 Solicitation of Clients 170, 7 4 Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization 176. 7 5 Firm Names and Letterheads 178, 7 6 Political Contributions to Obtain Government Legal Engagements or 180. Appointments by Judges Not Adopted See Note,Maintaining the Integrity of the Profession. 8 1 Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters 181,8 2 Judicial Officials 183.
8 3 Reporting Professional Misconduct 185,8 4 Misconduct 187. 8 5 Disciplinary Authority Choice of Law 189, Form of Citation Effective Date and Application 192. Note Except for Latin terms words and phrases that appear in italicized type in each. rule denote terms that are defined in Rule 1 0,PREAMBLE A LAWYER S RESPONSIBILITIES. 1 As an officer of the court a lawyer not only represents clients but has a. special responsibility for the quality of justice, 2 In representing clients a lawyer performs various functions As advisor a. lawyer provides a client with an informed understanding of the client s legal rights and. obligations and explains their practical implications As advocate a lawyer asserts the. client s position under the rules of the adversary system As negotiator a lawyer seeks. a result advantageous to the client and consistent with requirements of honest dealings. with others As an evaluator a lawyer examines a client s legal affairs and reports about. them to the client or to others, 3 In addition to these representational functions a lawyer may serve as a.
third party neutral a nonrepresentational role helping the parties to resolve a dispute or. other matter See e g Rules 1 12 and 2 4 In addition there are rules that apply to. lawyers who are not active in the practice of law or to practicing lawyers even when they. are acting in a nonprofessional capacity For example a lawyer who commits fraud in. the conduct of a business is subject to discipline for engaging in conduct involving. dishonesty fraud deceit or misrepresentation See Rule 8 4. 4 In all professional functions a lawyer should be competent prompt diligent. and loyal A lawyer should maintain communication with a client concerning the. representation A lawyer should keep in confidence information relating to representation. of a client except so far as disclosure is required or permitted by the Ohio Rules of. Professional Conduct or other law, 5 Lawyers play a vital role in the preservation of society A lawyer s conduct. should conform to the requirements of the law both in professional service to clients and. in the lawyer s business and personal affairs A lawyer should use the law s procedures. only for legitimate purposes and not to harass or intimidate others A lawyer should. demonstrate respect for the legal system and for those who serve it including judges. other lawyers and public officials Adjudicatory officials not being wholly free to defend. themselves are entitled to receive the support of the bar against unjustified criticism. Although a lawyer as a citizen has a right to criticize such officials the lawyer should do. so with restraint and avoid intemperate statements that tend to lessen public confidence. in the legal system While it is a lawyer s duty when necessary to challenge the rectitude. of official action it is also a lawyer s duty to uphold legal process. 6 A lawyer should seek improvement of the law ensure access to the legal. system advance the administration of justice and exemplify the quality of service. rendered by the legal profession As a member of a learned profession a lawyer should. cultivate knowledge of the law beyond its use for clients employ that knowledge in reform. of the law and work to strengthen legal education In addition a lawyer should further. the public s understanding of and confidence in the rule of law and the justice system. because legal institutions in a constitutional democracy depend on popular participation. and support to maintain their authority A lawyer should be mindful of deficiencies in the. administration of justice and of the fact that the poor and sometimes persons who are. not poor cannot afford adequate legal assistance Therefore all lawyers should devote. professional time and resources and use civic influence to ensure equal access to our. system of justice for all those who because of economic or social barriers cannot afford. or secure adequate legal counsel A lawyer should aid the legal profession in pursuing. these objectives and should help the bar regulate itself in the public interest. 7 RESERVED,8 RESERVED, 9 The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct often prescribe rules for a lawyer s. conduct Within the framework of these rules however many difficult issues of. professional discretion can arise These issues must be resolved through the exercise of. sensitive professional and moral judgment guided by the basic principles underlying the. 10 RESERVED, 11 The legal profession is self governing in that the Ohio Constitution vests in. the Supreme Court of Ohio the ultimate authority to regulate the profession To the extent. that lawyers meet the obligations of their professional calling the occasion for. government regulation is obviated Self regulation also helps maintain the legal. profession s independence from government domination An independent legal. profession is an important force in preserving government under law for abuse of legal. authority is more readily challenged by a profession whose members are not dependent. on government for the right to practice,12 RESERVED. 13 RESERVED, 14 The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct are rules of reason They should.
be interpreted with reference to the purposes of legal representation and of the law itself. Some of the rules are imperatives cast in the terms shall or shall not These define. proper conduct for purposes of professional discipline Others generally cast in the term. may are permissive and define areas under the rules in which the lawyer has discretion. to exercise professional judgment No disciplinary action should be taken when the. lawyer chooses not to act or acts within the bounds of such discretion Other rules define. the nature of relationships between the lawyer and others The rules are thus partly. obligatory and disciplinary and partly constitutive and descriptive in that they define a. lawyer s professional role Many of the comments use the term should Comments do. not add obligations to the rules but provide guidance for practicing in compliance with the. 15 The rules presuppose a larger legal context shaping the lawyer s role That. context includes court rules relating to matters of licensure laws defining specific. obligations of lawyers and substantive and procedural law in general The comments. are sometimes used to alert lawyers to their responsibilities under such other law. 16 Compliance with the rules as with all law in an open society depends. primarily upon understanding and voluntary compliance secondarily upon reinforcement. by peer and public opinion and finally when necessary upon enforcement through. disciplinary proceedings The rules do not however exhaust the moral and ethical. considerations that should inform a lawyer for no worthwhile human activity can be. completely defined by legal rules The rules simply provide a framework for the ethical. practice of law, 17 Furthermore for purposes of determining the lawyer s authority and. responsibility principles of substantive law external to these rules determine whether a. client lawyer relationship exists Most of the duties flowing from the client lawyer. relationship attach only after the client has requested the lawyer to render legal services. and the lawyer has agreed to do so But there are some duties such as that of. confidentiality under Rule 1 6 that attach when the lawyer agrees to consider whether a. client lawyer relationship shall be established See Rule 1 18 Whether a client lawyer. relationship exists for any specific purpose can depend on the circumstances and may. be a question of fact, 18 Under various legal provisions including constitutional statutory and. common law the responsibilities of government lawyers may include authority concerning. legal matters that ordinarily reposes in the client in private client lawyer relationships For. example a lawyer for a government agency may have authority on behalf of the. government to decide upon settlement or whether to appeal from an adverse judgment. Such authority in various respects is generally vested in the attorney general and the. state s attorney in state government and their federal counterparts and the same may. be true of other government law officers Also lawyers under the supervision of these. officers may be authorized to represent several government agencies in. intragovernmental legal controversies in circumstances where a private lawyer could not. represent multiple private clients These rules do not abrogate any such authority. 19 Failure to comply with an obligation or prohibition imposed by a rule is a. basis for invoking the disciplinary process The rules presuppose that disciplinary. assessment of a lawyer s conduct will be made on the basis of the facts and. circumstances as they existed at the time of the conduct in question and in recognition of. the fact that a lawyer often has to act upon uncertain or incomplete evidence of the. situation Moreover the rules presuppose that whether or not discipline should be. imposed for a violation and the severity of a sanction depend on all the circumstances. such as the willfulness and seriousness of the violation extenuating factors and whether. there have been previous violations, 20 Violation of a rule should not itself give rise to a cause of action against a. lawyer nor should it create any presumption in such a case that a legal duty has been. breached In addition violation of a rule does not necessarily warrant any other. nondisciplinary remedy such as disqualification of a lawyer in pending litigation The. rules are designed to provide guidance to lawyers and to provide a structure for regulating. conduct through disciplinary agencies They are not designed to be a basis for civil. liability Furthermore the purpose of the rules can be subverted when they are invoked. by opposing parties as procedural weapons The fact that a rule is a just basis for a. lawyer s self assessment or for sanctioning a lawyer under the administration of a. disciplinary authority does not imply that an antagonist in a collateral proceeding or. transaction has standing to seek enforcement of the rule Nevertheless since the rules. do establish standards of conduct by lawyers a lawyer s violation of a rule may be. evidence of breach of the applicable standard of conduct. 21 The comment accompanying each rule explains and illustrates the meaning. and purpose of the rule The Preamble and this note on Scope provide general. orientation The comments are intended as guides to interpretation but the text of each. rule is authoritative,RULE 1 0 TERMINOLOGY,As used in these rules. a Belief or believes denotes that the person involved actually supposed. the fact in question to be true A person s belief may be inferred from circumstances. b Confirmed in writing when used in reference to the informed consent of a. person denotes informed consent that is given in writing by the person or a writing that a. lawyer promptly transmits to the person confirming an oral informed consent See division. f for the definition of informed consent If it is not feasible to obtain or transmit the. writing at the time the person gives informed consent then the lawyer must obtain or. transmit it within a reasonable time thereafter, c Firm or law firm denotes a lawyer or lawyers in a law partnership.
professional corporation sole proprietorship or other association authorized to practice. law or lawyers employed in a private or public legal aid or public defender organization. a legal services organization or the legal department of a corporation or other. organization, d Fraud or fraudulent denotes conduct that has an intent to deceive and is. either of the following, 1 an actual or implied misrepresentation of a material fact that is made. OHIO RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT Effective February 1 2007 as amended effective February 11 2020 TABLE OF CONTENTS Preamble A Lawyer s Responsibilities Scope 1 1 0 Terminology 5 Client Lawyer Relationship 1 1 Competence 11 1 2 Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer 14 1 3 Diligence 18 1 4 Communication 20 1 5 Fees and Expenses 24 1 6

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