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.
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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.
Maryland Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct
Comment - Rule 8.4
 Lawyers are subject to discipline when they violate or attempt to violate the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so or do so through the acts of another, as when they request or instruct an agent to do so on the lawyer’s behalf. Paragraph (a), however, does not prohibit a lawyer from advising a client concerning action the client is legally entitled to take.
 Many kinds of illegal conduct reflect adversely on fitness to practice law, such as offenses involving fraud and the offense of willful failure to file an income tax return. However, some kinds of offense carry no such implication. Traditionally, the distinction was drawn in terms of offenses involving “moral turpitude.” That concept can be construed to include offenses concerning some matters of personal morality, such as adultery and comparable offenses, that have no specific connection to fitness for the practice of law. Although a lawyer is personally answerable to the entire criminal law, a lawyer should be professionally answerable only for offenses that indicate lack of those characteristics relevant to law practice. Offenses involving violence, dishonesty, or breach of trust, or serious interference with the administration of justice are in that category. A pattern of repeated offenses, even ones of minor significance when considered separately, can indicate indifference to legal obligation.
 Sexual misconduct or sexual harassment involving colleagues, clients, or co-workers may violate paragraph (d) or (e). This could occur, for example, where coercion or undue influence is used to obtain sexual favor in exploitation of these relationships. See Attorney Grievance Commission v. Goldsborough, 330 Md. 342 (1993). See also Rule 1.7.
 Paragraph (e) reflects the premise that a commitment to equal justice under the law lies at the very heart of the legal system. As a result, even when not otherwise unlawful, a lawyer who, while acting in a professional capacity, engages in the conduct described in paragraph (e) and by so doing prejudices the administration of justice commits a particularly egregious type of discrimination. Such conduct manifests a lack of character required of members of the legal profession. A trial judge’s finding that peremptory challenges were exercised on a discriminatory basis does not alone establish a violation of this rule. A judge, however, must require lawyers to refrain from the conduct described in paragraph (e). See Md. Rule 16-813, Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3 B (11).
 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.
 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.
Model Rules Comparison
Rule 8.4 is substantially similar to the language of the Ethics 2000 Amendments to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, with the exception of adding Rule 8.4(e) and redesignating the subsections of Rule 8.4 as appropriate, adding Comment  above, and retaining Comment  above from existing Maryland language.