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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


Pennsylvania Legal Ethics

1.3   Rule 1.3 Diligence

1.3:100   Comparative Analysis of Pennsylvania Rule

Primary Pennsylvania References: PA Rule 1.3
Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.3, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

1.3:101      Model Rule Comparison

In 1987, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the exact language of MR 1.3 including the commentary thereto.

1.3:102      Model Code Comparison

DR 6-101(A)(3) requires that a lawyer not "neglect a legal matter entrusted to him." EC 6-4 states that a lawyer should "give appropriate attention to his legal work." Canon 7 states that "[a] [l]awyer [s]hould [r]epresent a [c]lient [z]ealously [w]ithin the [b]ounds of the [l]aw." DR 7-101(A)(1) provides that "A lawyer shall not intentionally ... Fail to seek the lawful objectives of his client through reasonably available means permitted by law and the Disciplinary Rules...." DR 7-101(A)(3) provides that "A lawyer shall not intentionally ... Prejudice or damage his client during the course of the professional relationship...."

1.3:200   Diligence and "Zeal"

Primary Pennsylvania References: PA Rule 1.3
Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.3, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA 31:401, ALI-LGL 28, Wolfram 10.3

An attorney has the duty to represent his or her client to the fullest extent possible within the bounds of the law. Commonwealth v. Rubright (1980).

1.3:300   Promptness

Primary Pennsylvania References: PA Rule 1.3
Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.3, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA 31:401, ALI-LGL 28, Wolfram 10.3

Persistent neglect.

The offense of neglecting a legal matter is aggravated when the neglect is persistent. See, e.g., Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Knepp (1982) (a pattern of neglect would tend to offset the mitigating effect of an otherwise clean disciplinary record).

Failure to timely inform client of appealable matter.

Failure to inform client that his appeal to Superior Court was denied within time to file a petition for allowance of appeal to the Supreme Court violates the Rules of Professional Conduct requiring attorney to act with reasonable diligence and promptness. See, e.g., Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Duffield (1994).