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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.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 Mexico Rules of Professional Conduct
Comment - Rule 8.4
 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). This could occur, for example, where coercion or undue influence is used to obtain sexual favor in exploitation of these relationships. See also Attorney Grievance Commission v. Goldsborough, 330 Md. 342 (1993). See also Rule 1.7.
 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 Code Comparison
With regard to Rule 8.4(a)-(d) DR 1-102(A) provides that
"A lawyer shall not:
"(1) Violate a Disciplinary Rule.
"(2) Circumvent a Disciplinary Rule through actions of another.
"(3) Engage in illegal conduct involving moral turpitude.
"(4) Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
"(5) Engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
"(6) Engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law."
Rule 8.4(e) is substantially similar to DR 9-101(C).
There is no direct counterpart to Rule 8.4(f) in the Disciplinary Rules of the Code. EC 7-34 states in part that "A lawyer ... is never justified in making a gift or a loan to a judicial officer except as permitted by ... the Code of Judicial Conduct." EC 9-1 states that "A lawyer should promote public confidence in our legal system and in the legal profession."
Comment amended effective July 1, 1997.