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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct

Comment - Rule 8.4

[1] A lawyer should maintain high standards of professional conduct and should refrain from all illegal and morally reprehensible conduct. Many kinds of illegal conduct reflect adversely on fitness to practice law, such as offenses involving fraud, violence, dishonesty, breach of trust, or serious interference with the administration of justice, and the offense of willful failure to file an income tax return. Because of the lawyer's position in society, even minor violations of law by the lawyer may tend to lessen public confidence in the legal profession. A pattern of repeated offenses, even ones of minor significance when considered separately, can indicate indifference to legal obligation.

[2] The South Carolina version of this Rule differs from the Model Rules in that it includes conduct involving moral turpitude as professional misconduct. This is carried over from DR1-102(A)(3).

[3] 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 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.

[4] 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 attorney. 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.