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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.
Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct
Confirmed in Writing
 If it is not feasible to obtain or transmit a written confirmation at the time the client gives informed consent, then the lawyer must obtain or transmit it within a reasonable time thereafter. If a lawyer has obtained a client’s informed consent, the lawyer may act in reliance on that consent so long as it is confirmed in writing within a reasonable time thereafter.
 Whether two or more lawyers constitute a firm within division (c) can depend on the specific facts. For example, a lawyer in an of-counsel relationship with a law firm will be treated as part of that firm. On the other hand, two practitioners who share office space and occasionally consult or assist each other ordinarily would not be regarded as constituting a firm for purposes of fee division in Rule 1.5(e). The terms of any agreement between associated lawyers are relevant in determining whether they are a firm, as is the fact that they have mutual access to information concerning the clients they serve. Furthermore, it is relevant in doubtful cases to consider the underlying purpose of the rule that is involved.
 With respect to the law department of an organization, there is ordinarily no question that the members of the department constitute a firm within the meaning of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. There can be uncertainty, however, as to the identity of the client. For example, it may not be clear whether the law department of a corporation represents a subsidiary or an affiliated corporation, as well as the corporation by which the members of the department are directly employed. A similar question can arise concerning an unincorporated association and its local affiliates.
 Similar questions can also arise with respect to lawyers in legal aid and legal services organizations. Depending upon the structure of the organization, the entire organization or different components of it may constitute a firm or firms for purposes of these rules.
[4A] Government agencies are not included in the definition of “firm” because there are significant differences between a government agency and a group of lawyers associated to serve nongovernmental clients. Of course, all lawyers who practice law in a government agency are subject to these rules. Moreover, some of these rules expressly impose upon lawyers associated in a government agency the same or analogous duties to those required of lawyers associated in a firm. See Rules 3.6(d), 3.7(c), 5.1(c), and 5.3. Identifying the governmental client of a lawyer in a government agency is beyond the scope of these rules.
 The terms “fraud” or “fraudulent” incorporate the primary elements of common law fraud. The terms do not include negligent misrepresentation or negligent failure to apprise another of relevant information. For purposes of these rules, it is not necessary that anyone has suffered damages or relied on the misrepresentation or failure to inform. Under division (d)(2), the duty to disclose a material fact may arise under these rules or other Ohio law.
 Many of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct require the lawyer to obtain the informed consent of a client or other person (e.g., a former client or, under certain circumstances, a prospective client) before accepting or continuing representation or pursuing a course of conduct. See, e.g., Rules 1.6(a) and 1.7(b). The communication necessary to obtain such consent will vary according to the rule involved and the circumstances giving rise to the need to obtain informed consent. The lawyer must make reasonable efforts to ensure that the client or other person possesses information reasonably adequate to make an informed decision. Ordinarily, this will require communication that includes a disclosure of the facts and circumstances giving rise to the situation, any explanation reasonably necessary to inform the client or other person of the material advantages and disadvantages of the proposed course of conduct and a discussion of the client’s or other person’s options and alternatives. In some circumstances it may be appropriate for a lawyer to advise a client or other person to seek the advice of other counsel. A lawyer need not inform a client or other person of facts or implications already known to the client or other person; nevertheless, a lawyer who does not personally inform the client or other person assumes the risk that the client or other person is inadequately informed and the consent is invalid. In determining whether the information and explanation provided are reasonably adequate, relevant factors include whether the client or other person is experienced in legal matters generally and in making decisions of the type involved, and whether the client or other person is independently represented by other counsel in giving the consent. Normally, such persons need less information and explanation than others, and generally a client or other person who is independently represented by other counsel in giving the consent should be assumed to have given informed consent.
 Obtaining informed consent will usually require an affirmative response by the client or other person. In general, a lawyer may not assume consent from a client’s or other person’s silence. Consent may be inferred, however, from the conduct of a client or other person who has reasonably adequate information about the matter. A number of rules require that a person’s consent be confirmed in writing. See Rules 1.7(b) and 1.9(a). For a definition of “writing” and “confirmed in writing,” see divisions (p) and (b). Other rules require that a client’s consent be obtained in a writing signed by the client. See, e.g., Rules 1.8(a) and (g). For a definition of “signed,” see division (p).
 This definition applies to situations where screening of a personally disqualified lawyer is permitted to remove imputation of a conflict of interest under Rules 1.10, 1.11, 1.12, or 1.18.
 The purpose of screening is to assure the affected parties that confidential information known by the personally disqualified lawyer remains protected. The personally disqualified lawyer should acknowledge the obligation not to communicate with any of the other lawyers in the firm with respect to the matter. Similarly, other lawyers in the firm who are working on the matter should be informed that the screening is in place and that they may not communicate with the personally disqualified lawyer with respect to the matter. Additional screening measures that are appropriate for the particular matter will depend on the circumstances. To implement, reinforce, and remind all affected lawyers of the presence of the screening, it may be appropriate for the firm to undertake such procedures as a written undertaking by the screened lawyer to avoid any communication with other firm personnel and any contact with any firm files or other materials relating to the matter, written notice and instructions to all other firm personnel forbidding any communication with the screened lawyer relating to the matter, denial of access by the screened lawyer to firm files or other materials relating to the matter, and periodic reminders of the screen to the screened lawyer and all other firm personnel.
 In order to be effective, screening measures must be implemented as soon as practical after a lawyer or law firm knows or reasonably should know that there is a need for screening.
Substantial and “Substantially Related Matter”
 The definition of “substantial” does not extend to “substantially” as used in Rules 1.9, 1.10, 1.11, 1.12, 1.16, 1.18, and 7.4. The definition of “substantially related matter” is taken from Rule 1.9, Comment  and defines the term for purposes of Rules 1.9, 1.10, and 1.18. “Personally and substantially,” as used in Rule 1.11, originated in 18 U.S.C. Sec. 207. Rule 1.12, Comment  defines “personally and substantially” for former adjudicative officers.
Comparison to former Ohio Code of Professional Responsibility
Rule 1.0 replaces and expands significantly on the Definition portion of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Rule 1.0 defines fourteen terms that are not defined in the Code and alters the Code definitions of “law firm” and “tribunal.”
Comparison to ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 1.0 contains four substantive changes to the Model Rule terminology and revisions to the corresponding comments.
The definition in Model Rule 1.0(c) of “firm” and “law firm” is rewritten to expressly include legal aid and public defender offices. Comments  and  have been altered, and Comment [4A] has been added. Comment  is revised to address the status of of-counsel lawyers and practitioners who share office space. Comment  is amended to eliminate the reference to government lawyers. The rationale for this deletion and application of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct to lawyers in government practice are addressed in a new Comment [4A].
The Model Rule 1.0(d) definition of “fraud” or “fraudulent” is amended to replace the phrase “under the substantive or procedural law of the applicable jurisdiction” with the elements of fraud that have been established by Ohio law. See e.g., Domo v. Stouffer (1989), 64 Ohio App.3d 43, 51 and Ohio Jury Instructions, Sec. 307.03. Comment  is revised accordingly.
Added to Rule 1.0 is a definition of “illegal” in division (e). This definition clarifies that rules referring to “illegal or fraudulent conduct,” including Rules 1.2(d), 1.6(b)(3), 1.16(b)(2), 4.1(b), and 8.4(c), apply to statutory and regulatory prohibitions that are not classified as crimes.
Model Rule 1.0(l), which defines “substantial,” is relettered as Rule 1.0(m) and revised to incorporate a definition from Ohio case law. See State v. Self (1996), 112 Ohio App.3d 688, 693. The new definition of “substantially related” is taken from Rule 1.9, Comment . A new Comment  is added to state that the definition of “substantial” does not extend to the term “substantially,” as used in various rules, and to reference specific definitions in Rules 1.9, 1.11, and 1.12.