LOCATION: 555 Capitol Mall, Suite 1230, Sacramento, CA 95814
PHONE: (916) 996-0400 | FAX: (916) 668-5760
LOCATION: 555 Capitol Mall, Suite 1230, Sacramento, CA 95814
PHONE: (916) 996-0400 | FAX: (916) 668-5760

Following is the 30th post in a series from Parker Taylor Law Group about recent changes to the California Bar Association (CBA)’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC). This rule is found in Chapter 3 – “Advocate,” focusing on the topic of meritorious claims or contentions. The Rule of Professional Conduct, as revised, is as follows:

Rule 3.1  Meritorious Claims and Contentions

(a)  A lawyer shall not:

(1)  bring or continue an action, conduct a defense, assert a position in litigation, or take an appeal, without probable cause and for the purpose of harassing or maliciously injuring any person; or

(2)  present a claim or defense in litigation that is not warranted under existing law, unless it can be supported by a good faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of the existing law.

(b)  A lawyer for the defendant in a criminal proceeding, or the respondent in a proceeding that could result in incarceration, or involuntary commitment or confinement, may nevertheless defend the proceeding by requiring that every element of the case be established.


One noticeable change to this rule, as set forth above, is in the title itself. Formerly titled “Prohibited Objectives of Employment,” this rule has also removed “… seek, accept, or continue employment if the member knows or should know that the objective of such employment is …” Sub-subdivisions (A) and (B) are now sub-subdivisions (1) and (2). The other noticeable change is the addition of a completely new subdivision (b). This subdivision explains one of the requirements involved with a lawyer who is defending someone in a criminal proceeding.

The first sentence of Rule 3.1 of the American Bar Association (ABA)’s RPC says the same thing CBA’s Rule 3.1(a) says – with fewer words. The second sentence of the ABA’s rule is nearly identical to CBA’s Rule 3.1(b).

Benefit: Generally speaking, the addition of language regarding a lawyer who represents a defendant in a criminal proceeding should help to protect that defendant’s rights by clarifying the lawyer’s responsibility.

The information provided herein is informational only and should not be construed as legal advice or as an agreement for representation. This is not an advertisement. If you have an issue or dispute with your attorney, or are seeking advice with respect to your obligations, you should consult with an experienced attorney. Parker Taylor Law Group is a full-service litigation and transactional law firm. Mr. Parker has represented clients in professional malfeasance disputes for over 22 years. If you would like to schedule an initial consultation with Mr. Parker or his team, you can reach them at (916) 996-0400 or at contact@parlawgroup.com. (An email to the law firm requesting a consultation does not create an attorney-client relationship or any agreement for representation by the firm.)

Rules of Professional Conduct, California Bar Association, American Bar Association, Legal Malpractice, Client Rights, Legal Representation, Defendant, Criminal Proceeding, Parker Taylor Law Group, Port Parker

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