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End-of-life notice: American Legal Ethics Library

As of March 1, 2013, the Legal Information Institute is no longer maintaining the information in the American Legal Ethics Library. It is no longer possible for us to maintain it at a level of completeness and accuracy given its staffing needs. It is very possible that we will revive it at a future time. At this point, it is in need of a complete technological renovation and reworking of the "correspondent firm" model which successfully sustained it for many years.

Many people have contributed time and effort to the project over the years, and we would like to thank them. In particular, Roger Cramton and Peter Martin not only conceived ALEL but gave much of their own labor to it. We are also grateful to Brad Wendel for his editorial contributions, to Brian Toohey and all at Jones Day for their efforts, and to all of our correspondents and contributors. Thank you.

We regret any inconvenience.

Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


Alabama Legal Ethics

VIII. MAINTAINING THE INTEGRITY OF THE PROFESSION

8.1 Rule 8.1 Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters

8.1:100 Comparative Analysis of Alabama Rule

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.1
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.1, Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary:
  • Alabama Commentary:

8.1:101   Model Rule Comparison

There are no differences between ARPC Rule 8.1 and the model rule.

8.1:102   Model Code Comparison

Inapplicable.

8.1:200 Bar Admission

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.1
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.1, Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA §§ 21:101, 10l:1, ALI-LGL § 2, Wolfram §§ 15.2, 15.3
  • Alabama Commentary:

8.1:210   Bar Admission Agency

The Alabama State Bar is charged with responsibility regarding bar admission.

8.1:220   Bar Admission Requirements

In order to be admitted to the Bar of the State of Alabama, an individual must have graduated from an accredited law school and successfully completed the bar exam.

8.1:230   Admission on Motion

See discussion at Section 8.1:240.

8.1:240   Admission Pro Hac Vice [see also 5.5:230]

Admission pro hac vice in the state courts of Alabama is governed by Rule VII, Rules Governing Admission to the Alabama State Bar. An individual who is currently a member in good standing of the bar of another state, the District of Columbia or other United States jurisdiction who have good moral character and who is familiar with the ethics, principals, practices and customs and uses of the legal profession in the State of Alabama may appear pro hac vice in a particular case. The attorney must have associated local counsel, must complete a verified application, the application must be served upon the Alabama State Bar, a hearing must be held and the court must approve admission. The foreign attorney by doing so, is subject to the jurisdiction of the Alabama State Bar.

8.1:300 False Statements of Material Fact in Connection with Admission or Discipline

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.1(a)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.1(a), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA §§ 21:301, 101:201, Wolfram § 15.3.1
  • Alabama Commentary:

In Annonymous v. Disciplinary Board of Alabama State Bar, 646 So.2d 580 (Ala. 1994), an accused lawyer was found guilty of making a false statement in connection with a Bar disciplinary matter that arose out of the lawyer's failure to timely file a complaint. The lawyer stated that he had mailed a complaint for filing when in fact he had not.

8.1:400 Duty to Volunteer Information to Correct a Misapprehension

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.1(b)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.1(b), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary:
  • Alabama Commentary:

In Lyerly v. Alabama State Bar, 725 So.2d 958 (Ala. 1998), Lyerly was found not guilty of violating ARCP Rule 8.1(b). Lyerly originally was investigated by the Bar based on a complaint made by some of his clients regarding a fee dispute. Lyerly failed to respond to a letter of inquiry from the Bar's disciplinary board, but received a letter from the General Counsel of the Bar acknowledging receipt of a response. The Court held that Lyerly's receipt of the acknowledgment letter precluded the Bar from establishing that Lyerly failed to respond to the disciplinary board's inquiry. Id. at 960.

8.1:410   Protecting Client Confidential Information

8.1:500 Application of Rule 8.1 to Reinstatement Proceedings

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.1(b)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.1(b), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary:
  • Alabama Commentary:

8.2 Rule 8.2 Judicial and Legal Officials

8.2:100 Comparative Analysis of Alabama Rule

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.2
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.2, Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary:
  • Alabama Commentary:

8.2:101   Model Rule Comparison

There are no substantial differences between ARPC Rule 8.2 and the model rule.

8.2:102   Model Code Comparison

Inapplicable.

8.2:200 False Statements About Judges or Other Legal Officials

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.2(a)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.2(a), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 101:601, ALI-LGL § 114, Wolfram § 11.3.2
  • Alabama Commentary:

In Alabama, judges are elected. Thus the expression of honest and forthright opinions by lawyers are important to improving the administration of justice. False statements by a lawyer can unfairly undermine public confidence in the administration of justice. A lawyer who is campaigning for judicial office must comply with Cannon 7 of the Alabama Cannon of Judicial Ethics. Lawyers should defend unjustly criticized judges and courts.

8.2:300 Lawyer Candidates for Judicial Office

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.2(b)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.2(b), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 101:601, ALI-LGL § 114, Wolfram § 17.2
  • Alabama Commentary:

A lawyer who is campaigning for a judicial office must comply with Cannon 7 of the Alabama Cannon of Judicial Ethics, which applies to candidates for judicial election as well as to elected judges.

8.3 Rule 8.3 Reporting Professional Misconduct

8.3:100 Comparative Analysis of Alabama Rule

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.3
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.3, Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary:
  • Alabama Commentary:

8.3:101   Model Rule Comparison

ARPC Rule 8.3 requires a lawyer to report unprivileged knowledge of any violation of Rule 8.4 rather than only those violations relating to honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness and imposes a duty on a lawyer to reveal knowledge of a lawyer or judge's conduct on proper request.

8.3:102   Model Code Comparison

ARPC Rule 8.3 requires a lawyer to report unprivileged knowledge of any violation of Rule 8.4 rather than only those violations relating to honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness and imposes a duty on a lawyer to reveal knowledge of a lawyer or judge's conduct on proper request.

8.3:200 Mandatory Duty to Report Serious Misconduct

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.3(a)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.3(a), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 101:201, ALI-LGL § 5, Wolfram § 12.10
  • Alabama Commentary:

Lawyers are required to report misconduct where they possess "unprivileged knowledge of a violation of professional conduct rules." ARPC Rule 8.3(a).

8.3:300 Reporting the Serious Misconduct of a Judge

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.3(b)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.3(b), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 101:201, ALI-LGL § 5, Wolfram § 12.10
  • Alabama Commentary:

See Section 8.3:101 above.

8.3:400 Exception Protecting Confidential Information

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.3(c)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.3(c), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 101:201, ALI-LGL §§ 61-66, Wolfram § 12.10
  • Alabama Commentary:

See discussion at 8.3:200.

8.4 Rule 8.4 Misconduct

8.4:100 Comparative Analysis of Alabama Rule

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.4
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.4, Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary:
  • Alabama Commentary:

8.4:101   Model Rule Comparison

ARPC Rule 8.4 is the same as the model rule with an addition of subsection (g) which provides a catch-all provision for unprofessional conduct.

8.4:102   Model Code Comparison

Inapplicable.

8.4:200 Violation of a Rule of Professional Conduct

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.4(a)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.4(a), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 101:101, ALI-LGL § 2, Wolfram § 3.3
  • Alabama Commentary:

In Davis v. Alabama State Bar, 676 So.2d 306 (Ala. 1996) the Court found a violation of Rule 8.4(g) when the lawyers actual representation of its clients failed to meet the high standards set out in its advertising, when due to the high volume of cases many were neglected, and policies were put in place that prevented associate attorneys from providing quality legal services.

8.4:300 Commission of a Crime

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.4(b)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.4(b), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 101:301, ALI-LGL § 8, Wolfram § 3.3.2
  • Alabama Commentary:

See Section 0.2:245 above.

8.4:400 Dishonesty, Fraud, Deceit and Misrepresentation

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.4(c)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.4(c), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 101:401, ALI-LGL § 2, Wolfram § 3.3.3
  • Alabama Commentary:

Traditionally, a lawyer is answerable for offenses including moral turpitude that are relevant to the practice of law and not for matters concerning personal morality such as adultery.

8.4:500 Conduct Prejudicial to the Administration of Justice

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.4(d)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.4(d), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 101:501, ALI-LGL § 2, Wolfram § 3.3.2
  • Alabama Commentary:

See Section 8.4:400.

8.4:600 Implying Ability to Influence Public Officials

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.4(e)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.4(e), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 101:701, ALI-LGL § 113
  • Alabama Commentary:

ARPC Rule 8.4(e) prohibits a lawyer who serves as a hearing officer for a state agency to also represent clients before that same state agency. Opinion of General Counsel, 57 The Alabama Lawyer 30 (1996).

8.4:700 Assisting Judge or Official in Violation of Duty

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.4(f)
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.4(f), Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § , ALI-LGL § 113
  • Alabama Commentary:

Attorneys who hold public office assume greater legal responsibilities than other citizens.

8.4:800 Discrimination in the Practice of Law

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.4
  • Background References: Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 91:301
  • Alabama Commentary:

Alabama has not recognized illegal discrimination as a basis for lawyer discipline.

8.4:900 Threatening Prosecution

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.4
  • Background References: Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 1:801, 61:601
  • Alabama Commentary:

See Section 4.4:220 above.

8.5 Rule 8.5 Disciplinary Authority; Choice of Law

8.5:100 Comparative Analysis of Alabama Rule

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.5
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.5, Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary:
  • Alabama Commentary:

8.5:101   Model Rule Comparison

ARPC Rule 8.5 simply adopted the first sentence of the model rule with a slight alteration in the language. Both rules appear to have the same intent although the model rule contains substantial detail on the application of choice of law which the Alabama rule does not. If a lawyer is licensed to practice law in two jurisdictions which impose conflicting obligations, applicable choice of law rules may govern. The choice of law rule traditionally applied by Alabama courts in tort cases is lex loci delicti, the substantive law of the place of the alleged wrong. Bryant v. Cruises, Inc., 6 F.Supp.2d 1314, 1317 (N.D. Ala. 1998); Fitts v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 581 So.2d 819, 823 (Ala. 1991).

8.5:102   Model Code Comparison

Inapplicable.

8.5:200 Disciplinary Authority

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.5
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.5, Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 101:2001, ALI-LGL § 5, Wolfram § 3.2
  • Alabama Commentary:

See Section 8.5:101 above.

8.5:300 Choice of Law

  • Primary Alabama References: AL Rule 8.5
  • Background References: ABA Model Rule 8.5, Other Jurisdictions
  • Commentary: ABA/BNA § 101:2101, ALI-LGL § 2, Wolfram § 2.6.1
  • Alabama Commentary:

See Section 8.5:101 above.