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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.

Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct

Comment - Rule 4.04

1. Although in most cases a lawyer's responsibility to the interest of his client is paramount to the interest of other persons, a lawyer should avoid the infliction of needless harm.

2. Using or threatening to use the criminal process solely to coerce a party in a private matter improperly suggests that the criminal process can be manipulated by private interests for personal gain. However, giving any notice required by law or applicable rules of practice or procedure as a prerequisite to instituting criminal charges does not violate this Rule, unless the underlying criminal charges were made without probable cause.

3. Using or threatening to use the civil, criminal, or disciplinary processes to coerce a complainant, a witness, or a potential witness in a bar disciplinary proceeding is an implication that lawyers can manipulate the legal system to their personal advantage. Creating such false impressions is an abuse of the legal system that diminishes public confidence in the legal profession and in the fairness of the legal system as a whole.