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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.

New Jersey Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct

Comment - Rule 1.1

The Court, following the recommendation of the Debevoise Committee, has retained DR 6-101 ("Failing to Act Competently"), renumbered as RPC 1.1 and entitled "Competence," rather than adopt the ABA's Rule 1.1. As recognized by that committee, ensuring and improving professional competence is one of the most important responsibilities of the legal profession. The use of the terms "gross negligence" and "pattern of negligence or neglect" provides sufficiently definite standards of prohibited conduct so as to avoid the difficulties that the more vague ABA version would create. These terms have been applied and interpreted by the Court many times. See, e.g., In re Barry, 90 N.J. 286 (1982); In re Goldstaub, 90 N.J. 1 (1982); In re Barrett, 88 N.J. 450 (1982); In re Getchius, 88 N.J. 269 (1982). By retaining the text of DR 6-101, the relevance of that case law will be preserved.

To achieve and maintain the necessary levels of competence envisioned by this rule, the lawyer should engage in continuing legal study and education.