Following is the fifteenth in a series of posts about recent changes to the California Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC). This one falls under the category of “Counselor,” and is found in Chapter 2 of the new rules. The topic of Rule 2.1 is “advisor.”
As with other new RPC rules, Rule 2.1 does not directly correspond to a prior rule. It provides:
Rule 2.1 Advisor
In representing a client, a lawyer shall exercise independent professional judgment and render candid advice.
This rule may be brief, but the guidelines given in Rule 2.1 – as set forth above – are important. The first – “exercise independent professional judgment” – reminds the lawyer to not allow themselves to be unduly swayed by others’ opinions as they make decisions about a client’s case. The second – “render candid advice” – reminds the lawyer of the need to be honest with the client.
The first sentence of Rule 2.1 in the American Bar Association’s (ABA) RPC is identical to the CBA’s RPC. The ABA, however, has added a sentence, clarifying the conditions surrounding the advice given. The ABA’s Rule 2.1 states that a lawyer can refer not only to the law when giving advice, but that they can also take into account “moral, economic, social and political factors” which may be relevant to a client’s situation.
Benefit: Generally speaking, this rule clarifies a lawyer’s duty to his client, improving the client’s chances of being represented well.
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Rules of Professional Conduct, California Bar Association, American Bar Association, Legal Malpractice, Breach of Fiduciary, Client Rights, Legal Advice