Following is the nineteenth in a series of posts about recent changes to the California Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC). This rule is found in Chapter 4, which is titled “Transactions with Persons Other than Clients.”
As this is a new rule, it is not a revision of a previous rule. CBA’s Rule 4.1 addresses “truthfulness in statements to others” and can be seen here:
Rule 4.1 Truthfulness in Statements to Others
In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly:
(a) make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person; or
(b) fail to disclose a material fact to a third person when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by a client, unless disclosure is prohibited by Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e)(1) or rule 1.6.
CBA’s Rule 4.1, as set forth above, is broken down into two parts. Briefly, those parts state that during his or her representation of a client, an attorney shall not knowingly (1) make a false statement about a material fact to a third-party OR (2) fail to disclose a material fact to a third party when that disclosure could affect the outcome of a client’s matter … as long as the disclosure is not prohibited by Bus. & Prof. Code § 6068(e)(1) regarding confidentiality.
Rule 4.1 of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) RPC is titled the same as the CBA’s version of the same rule, but subsection (b) is simplified in the ABA’s version to say merely that the disclosure “is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by a client, unless disclosure is prohibited by Rule 1.6.” (That rule governs “confidentiality of information.”)
Benefit: Generally speaking, this rule reinforces the requirement for any attorney to be honest and to protect his or her client’s privacy and confidential statements at all costs.
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Rules of Professional Conduct, California Bar Association, American Bar Association, Legal Malpractice, Client Rights, Confidentiality