John Barkett, a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, was recently selected by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to the U.S. Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules. He recently provided an overview of upcoming proposals for modifications to the American Bar Association's model rules.
Here's his intro ... you can read the full story here. (And watch for the August issue of Law Technology News magazine's August issue, which will have more analysis from Michael Arkfeld, Robert Ambrogi, and Stephanie Loquvam.)
Since 1908, the American Bar Association has published ethical rules to govern the conduct of lawyers. The Canons of Ethics became the Model Code of Professional Responsibility in 1969. The Model Rules of Professional Conduct replaced the Model Code in 1983. The model rules are not binding on lawyers in a jurisdiction until that state's supreme court adopts them. With variations in some of the rules, 49 states and the District of Columbia have done so. The one exception is California, which has its own ethics rules.
The ABA periodically reviews the model rules and their explanatory comments in relation to trends in the practice of law, and when necessary makes amendments to the rules or comments. States typically follow suit with conforming amendments.
In 2009, the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 was formed to, among other goals, adapt the model rules to technology innovations in the practice of law. To achieve this aim, the 20/20 Commission has proposed amendments to several rules or comments that will be voted on by the ABA House of Delegates, which meets during the organization’s upcoming annual meeting, August 2-7, in Chicago. The amendments appear modest but their import is significant.