An Update: Rules of Professional Conduct


An Update: Rules of Professional Conduct

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

New Rules of Professional Conduct have been approved by the California Supreme Court. On May 10, 2018, the Court approved sixty-nine of the seventy proposed new and amended Rules of Professional Conduct that had been submitted to the Court by the California State Bar in March 2017. The new rules represent the first comprehensive rewrite of the Rules of Professional Conduct in almost thirty years. The Court’s Order containing the new rules can be found at http:// Supreme%20Court%20Order%202018-05-09.pdf.

In Volume 24, Issue 2 (Spring 2018) of the PRACTITIONER, I described the history of the proposed rules and highlighted a number of the proposed changes of particular interest to solo practitioners. The description of the proposed rules contained therein is applicable in full to the rules as approved (with the exception of Rule 1.2.1 [Advising or Assisting the Violation of Law], which appears to be subject to further modification). As a result, now that rules have been approved and will become effective later this year, I encourage every reader to refer to my article in the Spring 2018 issue, which can be found at http://WertliebLaw. com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Proposed-New-Ethics-Rules-and-Their-Impact-on-Solo-Practitioners.pdf.

The new Rules of Professional Conduct will be effective on November 1st. As a result, all attorneys in the State should be aware of the changes implemented by the new rules.

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