Proposed New Ethics Rules, and Their Impact on Solo Practitioners
By Neil J Wertlieb*
Neil J Wertlieb is an experienced transactional lawyer who provides expert witness services in litigation and arbitration matters. He has served as an expert witness in disputes involving business transactions and corporate governance, and in cases involving attorney malpractice and attorney ethics. He is a former Chair of the California State Bar’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct, a former Chair of the Business Law Section of the California State Bar, and a former Co-Chair of the Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section. He is also an Adjunct Professor at UCLA School of Law, the General Editor of Ballantine & Sterling: California Corporation Laws, and the Vice Chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee. For additional information, please visit wwwWertliebLawcom.
Seventy proposed new and amended Rules of Professional Conduct were recently submitted by the State Bar to the California Supreme Court for approval.1 If approved, these proposed Rules would replace the forty-six Rules of Professional Conduct that currently govern the conduct of attorneys in California.2 Several of the proposed Rules would implement controversial or important changes to the current Rules or impose new obligations in California. As a result, all attorneys in the State should be aware of these proposed changes.
The California Rules of Professional Conduct apply to all attorneys in the state. Failure to comply with the Rules may result in discipline, including being disbarred from the practice of law.3 Failure to comply in a litigation matter may also result in disqualification from that matter.