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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct

COMMENTS

Comment - Rule 8.4

[1] Lawyers are subject to discipline when they violate or attempt to violate the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so or do so through the acts of another, as when they request or instruct an agent to do so on the lawyer’s behalf. Paragraph (a), however, does not prohibit a lawyer from advising a client concerning action the client is legally entitled to take.

[2] Illegal conduct can reflect adversely on fitness to practice law. A pattern of repeated offenses, even ones of minor significance when considered separately, can indicate indifference to legal obligation.

[3] A lawyer who, in the course of representing a client, knowingly manifests, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, violates paragraph (d) when such actions are prejudicial to the administration of justice. Legitimate advocacy respecting the foregoing factors does not violate paragraph (d). A trial judge’s finding that peremptory challenges were exercised on a discriminatory basis does not alone establish a violation of this rule. For another reference to discrimination as professional misconduct, see paragraph (g).

[4] A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of rule 32:1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning, or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law.

[5] Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer’s abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of a lawyer. The same is true of abuse of positions of private trust such as trustee, executor, administrator, guardian, agent, and officer, director, or manager of a corporation or other organization.

[6] It is not professional misconduct for a lawyer to advise clients or others about or to supervise or participate in lawful covert activity in the investigation of violations of civil or criminal law or constitutional rights or in lawful intelligence-gathering activity, provided the lawyer’s conduct is otherwise in compliance with these rules. “Covert activity” means an effort to obtain information on unlawful activity through the use of misrepresentations or other subterfuge. Covert activity may be commenced by a lawyer or involve a lawyer as an advisor or supervisor only when the lawyer in good faith believes there is a reasonable possibility that unlawful activity has taken place, is taking place, or will take place in the foreseeable future. Likewise, a government lawyer who supervises or participates in a lawful covert operation which involves misrepresentation or deceit for the purpose of gathering relevant information, such as law enforcement investigation of suspected illegal activity or an intelligence-gathering activity, does not, without more, violate this rule.