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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


District of Columbia Legal Ethics

1.14   Rule 1.14 Client With Diminished Capacity

1.14:100   Comparative Analysis of DC Rule

· Primary DC References: DC Rule 1.14
· Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.14, Other Jurisdictions
· Commentary:

1.14:101      Model Rule Comparison

The DC Rule as originally adopted was identical to the Model Rule except it did not include one of the Comments to that rule -- Comment [4], regarding the possible obligation of a lawyer representing a guardian, as distinct from a ward, to prevent or rectify the guardian's misconduct. The Jordan Committee considered the Comment language too vague and expressed concern that it would conflict with Rule 1.6 obligations to the guardian. The DC Rules Review Committee did not revisit this omission, which remains at the end of a revised Comment [4] in the Model Rule.

One other variance between the DC Rule and the Model Rule was the addition to the latter, in 1997, of two new Comments, following the last of the previous Comments, under the caption Emergency Legal Assistance; these are now numbered [9] and [10] in the Model Rule's Comments, and were added by the DC Rules Review Committee, in identical form and numbering, to the DC Rule.

The Ethics 2000 Commission recommended substantial changes to Model Rule 1.14, including a change in the caption of the Rule, to say Clients With Diminished Capacity instead of Clients Under a Disability; adding a new paragraph (c) to the Rule, addressing the relationship of the rule to Rule 1.6; and making substantial revisions in both of the other paragraphs of the black letter Rule and in addition all of the Comments. The DC Rules Review Committee recommended, and the Court of Appeals agreed, that all of the substantive changes in the Model Rule and virtually of its Comments be made also in the DC Rule and its Comments, so that the two Rules are again identical, with only a few minor differences in the Comments, including continued omission from the DC Comments of the substance of the original Comment [4] to the Model Rule (discussed in the first paragraph above).

1.14:102      Model Code Comparison

There was no counterpart to this Rule in the Model Code.

1.14:200   Problems in Representing a Partially or Severely Disabled Client

· Primary DC References: DC Rule 1.14
· Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.14, Other Jurisdictions
· Commentary: ABA/BNA § 31:601, ALI-LGL § 24, Wolfram § 4.4

DC Ethics Opinion 252 (1994) considered Rule 1.14, inter alia, in discussing the authority and obligations of a lawyer who had been appointed as a guardian ad litem of a minor in a child abuse and neglect proceeding, with respect to potential tort claims of the child. The Opinion concluded that the lawyer does not have an obligation to pursue such claims on the child's behalf, but is obligated to notify the child or those responsible for the child's care of the potential claims, and when necessary to preserve the claim is also obligated to take reasonable steps to file required notices. The Opinion also stated that the lawyer/guardian ad litem cannot enter into a retainer agreement in a tort action on the child's behalf or represent the child in such a case unless a disinterested third party represents the child's interests.

1.14:300   Maintaining Client-Lawyer Relationship with Disabled Client

· Primary DC References: DC Rule 1.14(a)
· Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.14(a), Other Jurisdictions
· Commentary: ABA/BNA § 31:601, ALI-LGL § 24, Wolfram § 4.4

There appear to be no pertinent DC court decisions or ethics opinions on this subject.

1.14:400   Appointment of Guardian or Other Protective Action

· Primary DC References: DC Rule 1.14(b)
· Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.14(b), Other Jurisdictions
· Commentary: ABA/BNA § 31:601, ALI-LGL § 24, Wolfram § 4.4

See discussion of DC Ethics Opinion 252 under 1.14:200 above.