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.
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Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct
 Responsibility to a client requires a lawyer to subordinate the interests of others to those of the client, but that responsibility does not imply that a lawyer may disregard the rights of third persons. It is impractical to catalogue all such rights, but they include legal restrictions on methods of obtaining evidence from third persons and unwarranted intrusions into privileged relationships, such as the client-lawyer relationship.
 Division (b) recognizes that lawyers sometimes receive documents that were mistakenly sent or produced by opposing parties or their lawyers. If a lawyer knows or reasonably should know that such a document was sent inadvertently, then this rule requires the lawyer to promptly notify the sender. For purposes of this rule, “document” includes e-mail or other electronic modes of transmission subject to being read or put into readable form.
 Some lawyers may choose to return a document unread, for example, when the lawyer learns before receiving the document that it was sent inadvertently to the wrong address. Where a lawyer is not required by applicable law to do so, the decision to voluntarily return such a document is a matter of professional judgment ordinarily reserved to the lawyer. See Rules 1.2 and 1.4.
Comparison to former Ohio Code of Professional Responsibility
Rule 4.4(a) incorporates elements addressed by several provisions of the Ohio Code of Professional Responsibility. Specifically, it contains elements of: (1) DR 7-102(A)(1), which, in part, prohibits a lawyer from taking action on behalf of a client that serves merely to harass another; (2) DR 7-106(C)(2), which, in part, prohibits a lawyer from asking any question that the lawyer has no reasonable basis to believe is relevant and that is intended to degrade a third person; and (3) DR 7-108(D) and (E), which, in part, prohibit a lawyer from taking action that merely embarrasses or harasses a juror.
Rule 4.4(b) addresses the situation of when a lawyer receives a document that was inadvertently sent to the lawyer. There is no Disciplinary Rule comparable to Rule 4.4(b).
Comparison to ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 4.4(a) is identical to Model Rule 4.4(a), with the additional prohibition of actions that have no substantial purpose other than to “harass” a third person.
Rule 4.4(b) is identical to Model Rule 4.4(b).