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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


Rhode Island Legal Ethics

INTRODUCTION

0.1:100   Sources of Law and Guidance

0.1:101      Professional Codes

Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct, adopted 1988. Article V of Rhode Island Supreme Court Rules. (All references to "Articles" are to the Rhode Island Supreme Court Rules unless otherwise indicated.)

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has established an Ethics Advisory Panel to assist lawyers in complying with the Rules of Professional Conduct by providing opinions upon the request of any lawyer concerning a proposed action and its propriety. A lawyer who acts in accordance with an opinion shall be conclusively presumed to have abided by the Rules of Professional Conduct. Article IV Rule 1.1.

Panel Staff Attorney
Ethics Advisory Panel
Rhode Island Supreme Court
John E. Fogarty Judicial Annex
24 Weybosset Street
Second Floor
Providence, RI 02903
Tel. No.: 401-222-3270

0.1:102      "Other" Law and Moral Obligation

Generally, see Rhode Island Supreme Court Rules: Article II, Admission of Attorneys and Others to Practice of Law; Article III, Disciplinary Procedure for Attorneys; and Article IV, Periodic Registration of Attorneys.

Continuing Legal Education Requirement: Attorneys admitted to practice in Rhode Island are required to complete ten (10) hours of continuing legal education in each reporting year, two (2) hours of which shall be legal ethics.

If an attorney fails to comply with the CLE requirement, he or she will be sent a delinquency notice. The attorney is required to file a makeup plan with the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission within thirty (30) days of the date of the notice. The attorney shall correct his or her failure to comply with the CLE requirements within ninety (90) days of the date of the notice or the attorney shall be subject to suspension by the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Article IV Rule 3 and Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Regulations.

Rhode Island Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission
Rhode Island Supreme Court
250 Benefit Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
(401) 222-4942
Chair - Hon. Robert G. Flanders, Associate Justice, Supreme Court
Executive Director - Holly Hitchcock

0.1:103      Background of the Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct

The Rhode Island Supreme Court adopted the "Rules of Professional Conduct" by order dated November 1, 1988, effective November 15, 1988. Prior thereto, the Rhode Island Code of Professional Responsibility governed.

0.1:104      Unusual Aspects of the Rhode Island Ethics Rules

Rhode Island has adopted the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct with certain variations in form and/or substance. Significant differences between the Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct and the ABA Model Rules ("Model Rules") are listed below under this heading. Significant transpositions that do not necessarily affect the tenor or meaning of a rule will also be noted. Since Rhode Island has not developed an historical record of the variations adopted, many of the revisions are not subject to explanations.

Variations between the Rhode Island Rules and the Model Rules

Preamble. In the fourth paragraph of the Preamble the standard of "appearance of professional impropriety" has been inserted. Reference to this phrase is also included in the Comment to Rule 1.11. This standard, used in the Model Code, was intentionally omitted from the Model Rules. Reference to this standard is also found in at least one opinion of the Rhode Island Ethics Advisory Panel (see Opinion 97-02). How the interpretation of the Rhode Island Rules will be affected by this Model Code standard has not yet been tested except in the cited Opinion where it did not appear to be determinative. The last sentence of the Scope portion of the Preamble regarding reference to research notes to compare counterparts of the ABA Model Code has been deleted. Research notes are not part of the Rhode Island Rules or Comments thereto.

Rule 1.4 on Communications was amended in 1998 to become effective July 1, 1998. A new paragraph (a) has been added to provide that when a lawyer has not regularly represented a client and has reason to believe that the client does not fully understand the nature of the attorney-client relationship, the lawyer shall take steps to inform the client of the nature of that relationship before the representation is undertaken. Appendix 2 referred to in the Rule includes a copy of the statement of client’s rights and responsibilities which if given to a client will satisfy the requirements of the Rule. Such a statement is being printed by and will be available through the Rhode Island Bar Association. The requirements of the Rule may also be satisfied in any other manner that will be the reasonable equivalent of the statement (including incorporating the required notices in the engagement letter).

Rule 1.5 on Fees requires (a) the fee to be charged to be in writing in all cases where the lawyer has not regularly represented the client and (b) in all cases of a contingency fee. Comment to the Rule is revised accordingly. The obligation to provide written fee information does not apply to lawyers representing clients who are not paying the fees such as in an insurance defense practice. Bills for fees, costs and expenses must be submitted on a quarterly basis unless agreed otherwise. Contingent fees are allowed in domestic relations matters in cases other than for the original amount of alimony or support or property settlement in lieu thereof.

Rule 1.9 on Conflict of Interest: Former Client varies in form from the Model Rules. The substance of the Rule is unchanged. The Comment to the Rule, however, has been revised dramatically by deleting the sections Lawyers Moving Between Firms, Confidentiality, and Adverse Positions and incorporating the sections in Rule 1.10. The reason for the relocation is unknown, but the meaning and application of each Rule should not be changed thereby.

Rule 1.10 on Imputed Disqualification: General Rule varies from the Model Rules in form only. (Some of the language has been transposed.) In addition, as noted under Rule 1.9 above, Comment to the Rule includes, sections concerning Lawyers Moving Between Firms, Confidentiality, and Adverse Positions, all as stated in Model Rules 1.9. In view of the revised format, the second paragraph under Principles of Imputed Disqualification has been deleted.

Rule 1.11 on Successive Government and Private Employment provides in a new paragraph (b) that a lawyer employed by the government shall not represent a private client before the government office or agency by which he or she was employed for one year following termination. In view of that absolute Rule, the screening provision in paragraph (c) (formerly (b)) has been deleted. The Comment concerning paragraph (a)(2) adds a recommendation that in such cases all adverse parties should be notified in accordance with Rules 1.11(a)(1) and (2). As noted above under Preamble, reference to the "appearance of impropriety" is mentioned in the Comment to this Rule explaining the absolute prohibition in Rule 1.11(b). Paragraph (c) in the Rule is interpreted by the Comment to require actual knowledge. The Comment further provides that the Rule does not prohibit a lawyer from jointly representing a private party and a government agency if permitted by Rule 1.7 and is not otherwise prohibited by law; and that paragraph (d) does not disqualify the lawyers and the agency to which the lawyer has become associated.

Rule 1.12 on Former Judge or Arbitrator has deleted from the Comment the last sentence referring to part-time or retired judges being recalled to active duty. It appears this revision was made to make the Rule consistent with the then Rhode Island Code of Judicial Conduct.

Rule 1.14 on Client Under a Disability includes revision in the Comment so that reference in the third paragraph thereof refers to substantial property of a disabled client and deletes reference to the section on Emergency Legal Assistance.

Rule 1.15 on Safekeeping Property has been revised to (a) require a lawyer to maintain records of clients’ accounts and clients’ property for seven years after termination of representation; and (b) include provisions regarding the Rhode Island Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA accounts).

Rule 1.16 on Required Bookkeeping Records is an added Rule supplementing Rule 1.15. This Rule again provides that all financial records must be kept for seven years after the events which they record and mandates how records should be handled with respect to missing clients and when a law firm is dissolved.

Rule 1.17 on Declining or Terminating Representation is the same as Model Rule 1.16 except for paragraph (e) which allows in camera hearings under Rule 1.17 (a)(1) or (a)(2).

Rule 1.18 on Sale of Law Practice was adopted by the Rhode Island Supreme Court in 2002. In addition to the Model Rule's actual written notice requirement, the Rhode Island Rule also mandates that a lawyer obtain a written request for consent to transfer the client's representation. Unlike the Model Rule, the Rhode Island Rule does not require that actual written notice be given to each of the seller's clients regarding the terms of any proposed change in the fee arrangement authorized by paragraph (d). In paragraph (d), Rhode Island did not adopt the Model Rule's language stating that the purchaser may refuse to undertake the representation unless the client consents to pay the purchaser fees at a rate not exceeding the fees charged by the purchaser rendering substantially similar services prior to the initiation of the purchase negotiation. Comments 9 and 10 to the Model Rule contain additional requirements for fee arrangements between clients and purchasers that are not included in the Comments to the Rhode Island Rule.

Rule 2.1 on Advisor, in the Comment headed Offering Advice, the standard in the second sentence has been revised from "believes" to "knows".

Rule 3.2 on Expediting Litigation has been revised by adding a sentence prohibiting a lawyer from refusing to stipulate documentary evidence whose authenticity is not questioned. In such cases, however, the lawyer may reserve the right to object on the grounds of materiality or relevance.

Rule 3.3 on Candor Toward the Tribunal has been revised by adding a sentence in the Comment headed Refusing to Offer Proof Believed to be False, to make reference to the case of Nix v. Whiteside, 475 US 157. (1986)

Rule 3.6 on Trial Publicity has been revised in form but the essence of the Rule remains the same.

Rule 3.8 on Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor was amended in paragraph (f), as stated in the amended Comment, due to the increasing incidence of grand jury and trial subpoenas directed towards attorneys. See the Comment for a complete explanation.

Rule 4.2 on Communication with Person Represented by Counsel has been amended in the Comment by providing that the Rule covers any person, whether a party to a formal proceeding, who is represented by counsel concerning the matter in question. For inexplicable reasons, the second, third, fifth and sixth paragraphs of the Comment have been deleted.

Rule 5.4 on Professional Independence of a Lawyer has been amended to delete section (a)(2) to eliminate reference to the purchase of the practice of another lawyer and refers instead to any lawyer who undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a deceased lawyer. (Reference to a disabled or disappeared lawyer have also been deleted). The Rhode Island Rule appears not to deal with the purchase or acquisition of a practice in the context of the Rules but only the permissible division of fees.

Rule 5.5 on Unauthorized Practice of Law has been revised by including therein Provisional Order No. 18 - Use of Legal Assistants which sets forth the guidelines for the use of legal assistants by members of the Rhode Island Bar Association. Rhode Island is one of a handful of states that has adopted such guidelines.

Rule 5.7 on Responsibilities Regarding Law-Related Services has been deleted in its entirety.

Rule 6.1 on Pro Bono Publico Service has been revised to eliminate reference to the aspirational pro bono standard of 50 hours per year and by further suggesting how the lawyer may discharge his or her pro bono responsibilities. The Comment to the Rule has been significantly revised.

Rule 7.1 on Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services has been revised by adding paragraphs (d) and (e) which place restrictions on advertisements that include testimonials, endorsements or dramatizations.

Rule 7.2 on Advertising has been amended by requiring in paragraph (b) that each advertisement (other than yellow page advertisements) be sent to the Supreme Court Disciplinary Counsel prior to or within 48 hours of the first dissemination of such advertisement in addition to the copy that is to be retained by the lawyer. Paragraph (c) has been revised in form and reference to the payment for a law practice which has been deleted since the Rhode Island Rules do not include the equivalent of Model Rule 1.17, Sale of Law Practice. Paragraphs (e) and (f) have been added: (e) requires that written communications which state no fee will be charged if no recovery, will also state that the client will be responsible for costs or expenses regardless of outcome; and (f) mandates that any lawyer who advertises his or her practice is limited or concentrated in certain fields of the law and then refers the majority of cases in those fields to other lawyers must clearly include a disclaimer specified in the Rule that the cases are likely to be referred.

Rule 7.3 on Direct Contact with Prospective Clients has been revised in a manner adopted by many states. The Comment makes particular reference to Florida Rule of Professional Conduct 4-7.3. The Rule requires that written communications to prospective clients with whom the lawyer has no family or prior professional relationship must be marked "advertisement" on the face of the envelope and at the top of each page in type a size larger than the largest type used in the written communication. A copy of each such communication must be sent to the Supreme Court Disciplinary Counsel and a copy retained by the lawyer for three years. If the same communication is sent to two or more prospective clients, compliance may be achieved by sending to the Disciplinary Counsel a single copy of the communication together with a list of the names and addresses of the persons to whom it was sent. The Comment to the Rule has been revised accordingly.

Rule 7.4 on Communication of Fields of Practice has been revised as to both form and substance. If a lawyer advertises his or her practice is limited to or concentrated in particular fields of law, the advertisement shall include the disclaimer specified in the Rule that Rhode Island does not certify lawyers as specialists. Although admiralty and patent lawyers may state they are specialists, it would appear that under this Rule the disclaimer is also required. The Comment to the Rule has been revised accordingly.

Rule 8.1 on Bar Admission, Disciplinary and Educational Matters has been revised to include reference to matters arising under the continuing legal education program (continuing legal education is mandatory in Rhode Island) in addition to disciplinary matters. The failure to respond required in paragraph (b) must be made "knowingly", the same standard as in paragraph (a). The concluding sentence in the first paragraph of the Comment requiring affirmative clarification of any misunderstanding by the admissions or disciplinary authority has been deleted.

Rule 8.3 on Reporting Professional Misconduct has been amended by adding paragraphs (d) and (e) which incorporate reference to the Confidential Assistance Committee of the Rhode Island Bar Association and excepts the Committee from the reporting requirements of the Rule in certain cases. The last paragraph in the Comment has been deleted.

Rule 8.4 on Misconduct has been amended by expanding paragraph (d) to include discriminatory treatment of litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers and others based on race, nationality or sex as professional misconduct.

Rule 8.5 on Jurisdiction has been significantly amended by deleting portions of the Model Rule and Comment thereto. The Rhode Island Rule appears to emphasize the authority of Rhode Island to discipline Rhode Island lawyers when they are practicing elsewhere as well as lawyers from other states who are specially admitted to appear before Rhode Island courts. The Comment to the Rule similarly emphasizes the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which the lawyer is licensed to practice as the dominant law for discipline purposes. The choice of law thrust of the Model Rules has been diminished as can be seen from eliminating the "choice of law" reference in the Rule title.

Rule 9.1 on Establishment and Authority of Panel refers to the Ethics Advisory Panel which has been created by the Rhode Island Supreme Court to furnish advisory opinions on the Rhode Island Rules. Acting in accordance with such opinions creates a "safe harbor" for the inquiring attorney.

Rule 9.2 on General Information sets out the address of the Ethics Advisory Panel.

Appendix I on Standards for Professional Conduct within the Rhode Island Judicial System sets forth asperational standards of behavior for lawyers and judges. They are not to be used as a basis for litigation, sanctions or penalties and do not supersede or detract from the Rules of Professional Conduct or the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Appendix II on Notification to Clients of Their Rights and Responsibilities is the statement referred to under Rule 1.4 above.

Ethics Advisory Panel

In order to assist lawyers in complying with the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Supreme Court has appointed an Ethics Advisory Panel. The panel consists of five members of the Rhode Island Bar who have the authority to interpret the rules as well as provide opinions at the request of any lawyer concerning a proposed action and its propriety in light of said rules. Any lawyer who acts in accordance with an opinion of the panel is presumed to have abided by the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Inquiries to the Ethics Advisory Panel (See RI Rule 9.1) should be sent to:

Panel Staff Attorney
Ethics Advisory Panel
Rhode Island Supreme Court
John E. Fogarty Judicial Annex
24 Weybosset Street, 2nd Floor
Providence, RI 02903

Appendix II is referred to and supplements RI Rule 1.4.

Ethics Regulations §§ 36-14-5006 and 36-14-5007 do not restrict the Grand Committee's authority pursuant to Article 4, Section 4 of the Rhode Island Constitution to select one of its own members to fill a vacancy in the office of Secretary of State. Secretary of State did not violate Article 3, Section 7 of the Rhode Island Constitution or R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-1 when he did not seek and advisory opinion from the Rhode Island Ethics Commission prior to accepting the election to the office of the Secretary of State. Rhode Island Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 4 does not preclude the Attorney General from representing Secretary of State and other state officials before the Commission. Inman v. Whitehouse, 2002 WL 169197, (R.I. Super. Jan. 17, 2002).

Doctrine of sovereign immunity does not bar claims by Rhode Island Ethics Commission members against Commission and state treasurer for compensation for attending commission meetings because the state of Rhode Island waived sovereign immunity when it enacted a statute providing for the compensation in question. Proper administrative procedure, however, requires that plaintiffs exhaust administrative remedies before the Commission and then appeal to Superior Court. Pellegrino v. Rhode Island Ethics Commission, 788 A.2d 1119 (2002).

0.2:200   Forms of Lawyer Regulation in Rhode Island

0.2:210      Judicial Regulation

Of Lawyers

Rhode Island lawyers are regulated solely by the judiciary through the Supreme Court and the Disciplinary Counsel and Disciplinary Board the Court appoints.

Of Judges

The Rhode Island judiciary is governed by the Code of Judicial Conduct. Article VI.

The Code of Judicial Conduct is implemented by the following Committees and Commissions:

Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline (R.I.G.L. Chapter 8-16-1)
Fogarty Judicial Annex
24 Weybosset Street, Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1188
Chair - Hon. Alice B. Gibney, Assoc. Justice, R.I. Superior Court

The Commission has the power to discipline, suspend or remove judges of all courts except the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court being a constitutional court under Article X, Section 4 of the Rhode Island Constitution, the Commission may only recommend appropriate discipline for Supreme Court justices and transmit its findings to the Speaker of the House of Representatives for impeachment proceedings in accordance with Article XI of the Rhode Island Constitution.

Advisory Committee on the Code of Judicial Conduct (Article VI, Rule 1)
24 Weybosset Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-3270
Chair - Hon. Dominic F. Cresto, Assoc. Justice, R.I. Superior Court
Staff Attorney - Elizabeth A. Del Padre

Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee (Article VI, Rule 4)
250 Benefit Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2500
Chair - Hon. Victoria Lederberg, Assoc. Justice, R.I. Supreme Court

Ethics Advisory Panel

In order to assist lawyers in complying with the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Supreme Court has appointed an Ethics Advisory Panel. The panel consists of five members of the Rhode Island Bar who have the authority to interpret the rules as well as provide opinions at the request of any lawyer concerning a proposed action and its propriety in light of said rules. Any lawyer who acts in accordance with an opinion of the panel is presumed to have abided by the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Inquiries to the Ethics Advisory Panel (See RI Rule 9.1) should be sent to:

Panel Staff Attorney
Ethics Advisory Panel
Rhode Island Supreme Court
John E. Fogarty Judicial Annex
24 Weybosset Street, 2nd Floor
Providence, RI 02903

Appendix II is referred to and supplements RI Rule 1.4.

0.2:220      Bar Organizations

The Rhode Island Bar Association has no formal disciplinary role in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island has an integrated bar. (All Rhode Island licensed attorneys must join the Rhode Island Bar Association).

The Bar Association, among other activities, has established (a) a client’s security fund which offers some protection against defalcating lawyers; (b) a voluntary program to arbitrate fee disputes; and (c) supported the creation of IOLTA clients’ accounts which are incorporated in Rule 1.15.

115 Cedar Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
(401) 421-5740
Executive Director - Helen D. MacDonald

0.2:230      Disciplinary Agency

Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island (Article III, Rule 4)
24 Weybosset Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
(401) 222-3270
Chair - Maryjo Carr, Esq.

Chief Disciplinary Counsel
David Curtin, Esq.
24 Weybosset Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
(401) 222-3270

Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee (R.I.G.L. §11-27-19)
250 Benefit Street
Providence, Rhode Island
(401) 222-3272
Chair - Avram N. Cohen, Esq.

0.2:240      Disciplinary Process

Article III governs all disciplinary actions. All investigations are initiated and conducted by Disciplinary Counsel. Art. III, Rules 5-6.

Investigation

After investigation, the Disciplinary Counsel shall recommend (only after respondent - attorney has been given the opportunity to respond) to a screening panel consisting of three (3) members of the Disciplinary Board the disposition of all matters involving alleged misconduct either by dismissal or, if probable cause is found, by the prosecution of formal charges before the Board. The Screening Panel may dismiss the complaint, dismiss the complaint with an admonition, recommend the issuance of a letter of reprimand, delay disposition to allow for physical and/or psychiatric examination, attach conditions to the dismissal, or forward the complaint to the full Board for a formal hearing.

The Disciplinary Counsel may petition the Supreme Court for immediate suspension of an attorney prior to a formal hearing when it is necessary for the public’s protection.

Informal Hearing

If the Screening Panel recommends the issuance of a letter of reprimand, and a majority of the Disciplinary Board support the recommendation, the Board will consider the charges. The informal hearing consists of presentation of the evidence by the Disciplinary Counsel and a response under oath by the respondent-attorney. At the conclusion of the hearing the Board will determine whether to dismiss the complaint, dismiss the complaint with an admonition, issue the letter of reprimand, or authorize a formal hearing.

Formal Hearing

Formal disciplinary proceedings before the Board are instituted by Disciplinary Counsel filing with the Board a petition setting forth with specificity the charges of misconduct. A copy of the petition is served on the respondent-attorney. Within twenty (20) days thereafter, the respondent-attorney serves a copy of his or her answer upon Counsel and files the original with the Board. Failure to respond is deemed an admission to the charges.

Following the service of the answer, if issues of fact are raised, or at the respondent-attorney’s request, the matter is assigned to the Board, and Counsel serves a notice of hearing upon the respondent-attorney, indicating the date and place of the hearing at least fifteen (15) days in advance.

At the hearing, the Disciplinary Counsel presents evidence of misconduct. The respondent-attorney is entitled to respond and may be represented by counsel, summon and cross-examine witnesses and present evidence in his or her own behalf.

The Board submits its report to the Rhode Island Supreme Court within sixty (60) days after the conclusion of the hearing and the submission of briefs (if any), containing its findings of fact and recommendations.

The Court reviews the record and enters an appropriate order. The Court may conduct additional proceedings as necessary.

0.2:245      Mandatory Disbarment Upon Conviction of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude

An attorney admitted to practice in Rhode Island who is convicted of a crime which is punishable by imprisonment for more than one (1) year in this or any other jurisdiction may, in lieu of proceedings detailed above, be ordered to appear before the Supreme Court of Rhode Island to show cause why his or her admission to the bar should not be suspended or revoked.

The Clerk of any court within the state in which an attorney is convicted of any crime shall, within ten (10) days of said conviction, transmit a certificate thereof to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. If the certificate has not been forwarded by the Clerk, or if the conviction occurred outside Rhode Island, the Disciplinary Counsel shall obtain a certificate of the conviction and forward it to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

Upon the filing of a certificate of conviction with the Court, the Court may direct the respondent-attorney to show cause why he or she should not be suspended during the pendency of any appeal and until the final disposition of any disciplinary proceeding instituted against him or her based upon such conviction. (Article III Rule 12.) Disbarment in such cases although not mandatory, is likely to occur particularly in the case of an egregious crime. Interim suspension has been held to be constitutionally permissible and an attorney’s suspension or disbarment will not be suspended during the pendency of an appeal. Carter v. Wheeler, 461 A.2d 677 (R.I. 1983).

0.2:250      Sanctions in Judicial Proceedings

In Rhode Island, the only sanctions available within a judicial proceeding are civil and criminal contempt. Criminal contempt may be imposed summarily by the court for actions that occur in the actual presence of the court. An attorney’s absence or tardiness from a courtroom, because the circumstances of such absence occur beyond the view and knowledge of the court, however, constitutes the offense of indirect, and not direct, contempt, and thus entitles the attorney to a hearing before the imposition of punishment. Peltier v. Peltier, 120 R.I. 447, 388 A.2d 22 (1978).

0.2:260      Criminal and Civil Liability

Violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct per se does not automatically establish a private cause of action for damages sounding in negligence for breach of fiduciary obligation. See Vallinoto v. DiSandro, 688 A.2d 830 (R.I., 1997).

0.2:270      Federal Courts and Agencies

Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Office of the Clerk
U.S. Court of Appeals - First Circuit
One Courthouse Way, Suite 2500
Boston, Massachusetts 02210
(617) 748-9057

Federal District Court for the District of Rhode Island

Office of the Clerk
119 Federal Building & Courthouse
One Exchange Terrace
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
(401) 528-5155

An attorney convicted of a crime against the United States or any State involving moral turpitude may be suspended, disbarred or otherwise disciplined except as provided below. Such action shall not be taken unless the attorney has been afforded an opportunity to be heard before a panel of all active judges of the Court and a majority concur in the disciplinary action taken.

An attorney who has been disbarred from practicing in the courts of Rhode Island or who has been convicted of a felony in any court of the United States or any State may be suspended without a hearing for a period of not more than 30 days. (Local Rule 4(e))

0.2:280      Ethics Rules Applied in Federal Courts in Rhode Island

The Rules of Professional Conduct of the Rhode Island Supreme Court are the standard of conduct for all attorneys practicing before the Federal District Court of Rhode Island. (Local Rule 4(d)).

0.3:300   Organization of This Library and the Model Rules

0.4:400   Abbreviations, References and Terminology

0.4:410      "Belief" or "Believe"

"Belief" or "believes" denotes that the person involved actually supposed the fact in question to be true. A person’s belief may be inferred from circumstances.

0.4:420      "Consults" or "Consultation"

"Consult" or "consultation" denotes communication of information reasonably sufficient to permit the client to appreciate the significance of the matter in question.

0.4:430      "Firm" or "Law Firm"

"Firm" or "law firm" denotes a lawyer or lawyers in a private firm, lawyers employed in the legal department of a corporation or other organization and lawyers employed in a legal services organization.

0.4:440      "Fraud"

"Fraud" or "fraudulent" denotes conduct having a purpose to deceive and not merely negligent misrepresentation or failure to apprise another of relevant information.

0.4:450      "Knowingly," "Known," or "Knows"

"Knowingly," "known," or "knows" denotes actual knowledge of the fact in question. A person’s knowledge may be inferred from circumstances.

0.4:460      "Partner"

"Partner" denotes a member of a partnership and a shareholder in a law firm organized as a professional corporation.

0.4:470      "Reasonable" or "Reasonably"

"Reasonable" or "reasonably" when used in relation to conduct by a lawyer denotes the conduct of a reasonably prudent and competent lawyer.

0.4:480      "Reasonable belief" or "Reasonably believes"

"Reasonable belief" or "reasonably believes" when used in reference to a lawyer denotes that the lawyer believes the matter in question and that the circumstances are such that the belief is reasonable.

0.4:490      "Substantial"

"Substantial" when used in reference to degree or extent denotes a material matter of clear and weighty importance.

0.4:500   Additional Definitions in Rhode Island

"Reasonably should know" when used in reference to a lawyer denotes that a lawyer of reasonable prudence and competence would ascertain the matter in question.