Following is the 25th post in a series from Parker Law Group about recent changes to the California Bar Association (CBA)’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC). This rule is found in Chapter 1 – “Lawyer-Client Relationship” and focuses on “diligence.” The Rule of Professional Conduct, as revised, is as follows:
Rule 1.3 Diligence
(a) A lawyer shall not intentionally, repeatedly, recklessly or with gross negligence fail to act with reasonable diligence in representing a client.
(b) For purposes of this rule, “reasonable diligence” shall mean that a lawyer acts with commitment and dedication to the interests of the client and does not neglect or disregard, or unduly delay a legal matter entrusted to the lawyer.
In the CBA’s previous version of this rule – Rule 310(B), “diligence” was merely the first of three categories listed in the subdivision describing “competence.” Now, the topic of “diligence” has been assigned a rule of its own: Rule 1.3.
As set forth above, this rule has been broken down into two parts. The first part – subdivision (a) – emphasizes that a lawyer must not fail to “act with reasonable diligence in representing a client.” Subdivision (b) then defines “reasonable diligence” by stating how a lawyer should act, as well as how they should NOT act in representing a client.
As with other rules in the American Bar Association (ABA)’s RPC, ABA’s Rule 1.3 is far more simplified than the CBA’s version of the same rule. One sentence sums up the ABA’s guidelines on “diligence.” In addition to “reasonable diligence,” the ABA rule says a lawyer shall act with promptness in representing a client.
Benefit: Generally speaking, the fact that “diligence” is now addressed in its own rule helps to not only clarify the term itself, but also draws attention to the importance it needs to have in any lawyer’s practice. This, in turn, benefits any client the lawyer represents.
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Rules of Professional Conduct, California Bar Association, American Bar Association, Legal Malpractice, Client Rights, Legal Representation, Diligence, Parker Law Group, Port Parker