Contact: Jon Sullivan
Manager, Media Services & Public Affairs
November 6, 2007
NYSBA Completes Five-Year Study on Rules for Attorneys
Findings Are to be Forwarded to Presiding Justices of the Appellate Division for Final Adoption
Following an exhaustive, five-year study of the rules governing lawyers' ethics by the New York State Bar Association's Committee on the Standards of Attorney Conduct , the Association's House of Delegates (the policy making body of the association) has formally approved the final proposed set of Rules of Professional Conduct and authorized their transmittal to the Presiding Justices of the Appellate Division for their review and adoption in place of the existing Code of Professional Responsibility. The proposed rules are not effective until adopted by the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, which has historically given significant weight to the recommendations of the Bar Association in determining the rules for attorney conduct in New York State.
The proposals being put forth by the Bar Association include the adoption of the format of the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
"We are proud of the comprehensive and collaborative process undertaken by our Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct, chaired by NYSBA Past President Steven C. Krane (Proskauer Rose LLP), in consultation with NYSBA committees and sections, particularly the Committee on Professional Ethics, the Committee on Legal Aid, as well as the local bars, especially the New York County Lawyers' Association and the New York City Bar," said New York State Bar Association President Kathryn Grant Madigan (Levene Gouldin & Thompson LLP). "This was a massive undertaking, which succeeded in large measure due to the extraordinary expertise of the members. They also exhibited an ability to work cooperatively with opposing views, thus achieving a consensus on some of the more contentious issues relating to confidentiality of information, conflicts of interest and special duties of criminal prosecutors."
"We look forward to assisting the Presiding Justices in their consideration of the proposed Rules and Comments, as we believe that the model rule format, which will carry forward much of the substance of the current Code of Professional Responsibility, will enable lawyers here in New York State, and beyond our borders to have clear and accessible ethical guidance so essential in maintaining the highest levels of ethics and professionalism."
Steven C. Krane, Chair of the Committee on the Standards of Attorney Conduct said that the rules are designed to provide assistance to attorneys in terms of understanding their responsibilities to clients, and to the profession.
"The new rules, when adopted, will infuse an increased sense of clarity and consistency for New Yorklawyers. Among other things, there will be greater guidance for dealing with current, former and prospective clients," Mr. Krane said. "We believe that these standards are appropriate and achievable and are prepared to work with the Presiding Justices of the Appellate Division, as we have in the past, to answer any questions they have in making their decision on whether to adopt these rules."
A complete copy of the rules adopted by the Bar Association's House of Delegates will be made available on the Association website at www.nysba.org/cosacreport.
The 72,000-member New York State Bar Association, founded in 1876, is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New Yorkand the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. NYSBA programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.