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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


Maryland Legal Ethics

I. CLIENT-LAWYER RELATIONSHIP

1.1   Rule 1.1 Competence

1.1:100   Comparative Analysis of Maryland Rule

Primary Maryland References: MD Rule 1.1
Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.1, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

1.1:101      Model Rule Comparison

Maryland Rule 1.1 is substantively identical to MR 1.1. The comments accompanying Maryland Rule 1.1 and MR 1.1 are also identical.

1.1:102      Model Code Comparison

Maryland Rule 1.1 is substantially similar to DR 6-101(A), except that the Code expressly permits a non-competent lawyer to "associate himself with a lawyer who is competent to handle [the matter]."

DR 6-101(A)(2) requires "preparation adequate in the circumstances"; Maryland Rule 1.1 more fully particularizes the elements of competence.

1.1:200   Disciplinary Standard of Competence

Primary Maryland References: MD Rule 1.1
Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.1, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA 31:201, ALI-LGL 28, Wolfram 5.1

Representation that is careless, indifferent and fails to fulfill the necessities and objectives of a client is a breach of the standard of competency outlined in Maryland Rule 1.1. Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Kemp, 335 Md. 1, 17 (1994). Accordingly, whether an attorney competently represents a client is decided based on the facts and circumstances of an individual case. Id. See, e.g., Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Brown, 308 Md. 219, 232 (1986) (holding that seven errors or omissions in handling a particular matter, when taken together, illustrate "collective incompetence").

In some cases, Maryland Rule 1.1 may not be violated where the allegation of incompetence stems from an attorney's use of alcohol and controlled dangerous substances, rather than misconduct in a particular case. See Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Keister, 327 Md. 56, 59 (1992). In Attorney Grievance Commission v. Kenney, 339 Md. 578, 594 (1995), however, the Court of Appeals held that, where an attorney's misconduct would ordinarily lead to disbarment, alcoholism, absent compelling circumstances, would not prevent finding of a violation or disbarment. See also Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Sachse, 345 Md. 578 (1997); Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Williams, 335 Md. 458 (1994), and Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. White, 328 Md. 412 (1992).

In Kemp, 335 Md. at 17, the Court of Appeals held that the attorney's behavior in failing to file a military affidavit or to comply with the rules in a default judgment proceeding, was not incompetent under Rule 1.1, but did raise questions of the attorney's skill, knowledge, thoroughness and preparation. Respondent had been retained to obtain an order of default. Kemp, 335 Md. at 2. Yet, he failed to take some of the basic steps necessary to obtain an order of default. During the course of his representation, the attorney failed to file a military affidavit, include within the body of the order the name of one of the parties, and include within the order the address of another party in the default. Id. at 9. Despite these failures, the Court of Appeals held that, at worst, the attorney's behavior was indicative of carelessness or negligence, id. at 17, which the Court refused to treat as a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

1.1:300   Malpractice Liability

Primary Maryland References: MD Rule 1.1
Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.1, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA 301:101, ALI-LGL 71-76 , Wolfram 5.6

1.1:310      Relevance of Ethics Codes in Malpractice Actions

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:320      Duty to Client

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:330      Standard of Care

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:335      Requirement of Expert Testimony

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:340      Causation and Damages

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:350      Waiver of Prospective Liability [see 1.8:910]

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:360      Settlement of Client's Malpractice Claim [see 1.8:920]

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:370      Defenses to Malpractice Claim

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:380      Liability to Client for Breach of Contract, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, and Other Liabilities

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:390      Liability When Non-Lawyer Would Be Liable

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:400   Liability to Certain Non-Clients

Primary Maryland References: MD Rule 1.1
Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.1, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA 71:1101, ALI-LGL 73, Wolfram 5.6

1.1:410      Duty of Care to Certain Non-Clients

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:420      Reliance on Lawyer's Opinion [see also 2.3:300]

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:430      Assisting Unlawful Conduct [see also 1.2:600-1.2:630]

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:440      Knowledge of Client's Breach of a Fiduciary Duty [see also 1.13:520]

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:450      Failing to Prevent Death or Bodily Injury

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:500   Defenses and Exceptions to Liability

Primary Maryland References: MD Rule 1.1
Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.1, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA 301:1001, ALI-LGL 76, 78, Wolfram 5.6

1.1:510      Advocate's Defamation Privilege

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:520      Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings; Abuse of Process; False Arrest

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:530      Assisting Client to Break a Contract

This section has not yet been completed.

1.1:600   Vicarious Liability [see 5.1:500]

Primary Maryland References: MD Rule 1.1
Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.1, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA 91:201, ALI-LGL 79, Wolfram 5.6

This section has not yet been completed.

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