A Rule to Forbid Bias and Harassment in Law Practice: A Guide for State Courts Considering Model Rule 8.4(g)
46 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 2, 2017
After twenty-two years of failed efforts to add a rule forbidding bias and harassment in law practice to the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the ABA’s House of Delegates approved one by voice vote in August 2016. Model Rule 8.4(g) will now move to the states. The goal of this Article is to aid state courts and bar groups as they debate whether to adopt Rule 8.4(g) as is, with changes, or not at all. Their deliberations should assess earlier ABA efforts to pass an anti-bias and anti-harassment rule, similar provisions now in the rules of American jurisdictions, and the legislative history of Rule 8.4(g) itself. Anti-bias and anti-harassment provisions in the ABA’s Code of Judicial Conduct will offer guidance. This Article discusses each of these sources of information and then identifies at least ten issues that must be addressed as the states review Rule 8.4(g). The Article also addresses objections to Rule 8.4(g) from religious communities and challenges under the First Amendment’s Speech Clause.
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