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In an era too often marked by acts of incivility, Robert’s Fund aims to elevate the way we treat one another in the legal profession and to inspire acts of courtesy, kindness, and compassion among members of the profession. Increased civility demonstrably improves outcomes for legal professionals and the people that they serve. And because legal professionals profoundly influence society, even outside their formal work, their behavior often sets the tenor of corporate, political, and social interactions. View information about who we are and what we do

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Apr092015

Abstracts of Relevant Washington Rules of Professional Conduct

Abstracts of Relevant Washington Rules of Professional Conduct

Preamble and Scope
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Summary

[1] [Washington revision] A lawyer, as a member of the legal profession, is a representative of clients, an officer of the court and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.

Rule 1.1 Competence
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Summary

A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

Rule 1.2 Scope of Representation & Allocation of Authority Between Client & Lawyer
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Summary

Rule 1.2(a) A lawyer shall abide by a client's decisions concerning the objectives of representation … and shall consult with the client as to the means by which they are to be pursued …

Rule 1.2(d) A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent, but a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law.

Comment, Criminal, Fraudulent and Prohibited Transactions, [13] If a lawyer comes to know or reasonably should know that a client expects assistance not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law or if the lawyer intends to act contrary to the client's instructions, the lawyer must consult with the client regarding the limitations on the lawyer's conduct. See Rule 1.4(a)(5).

Rule 1.3 Diligence: A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.
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Summary

Rule 1.3, Comment, Client-Lawyer Relationship:

[1] “A lawyer should pursue a matter on behalf of a client despite opposition, obstruction or personal inconvenience to the lawyer, and take whatever lawful and ethical measures are required to vindicate a client's cause or endeavor. A lawyer must also act with commitment and dedication to the interests of the client and with zeal in advocacy upon the client's behalf. A lawyer is not bound, however, to press for every advantage that might be realized for a client. For example, a lawyer may have authority to exercise professional discretion in determining the means by which a matter should be pursued…The lawyer's duty to act with reasonable diligence does not require the use of offensive tactics or preclude the treating of all persons involved in the legal process with courtesy and respect.”

Comment [3]: “A lawyer's duty to act with reasonable promptness, however, does not preclude the lawyer from agreeing to a reasonable request for a postponement that will not prejudice the lawyer's client.”

Rule 1.4: Communications
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Summary

Section (4) of this rule requires a lawyer to “promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.”

Rule 3.4: Fairness To Opposing Party And Counsel
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Summary

A lawyer shall not:

(a) unlawfully obstruct another party's access to evidence or unlawfully alter, destroy or conceal a document or other material having potential evidentiary value. A lawyer shall not counsel or assist another person to do any such act;

(b) falsify evidence, counsel or assist a witness to testify falsely, or offer an inducement to a witness that is prohibited by law;

(c) knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists;

(d) in pretrial procedure, make a frivolous discovery request or fail to make reasonably diligent effort to comply with a legally proper discovery request by an opposing party; or

(e) in trial, allude to any matter that the lawyer does not reasonably believe is relevant or that will not be supported by admissible evidence, assert personal knowledge of facts in issue except when testifying as a witness, or state personal opinion as to the justness of a cause, the credibility of a witness, the culpability of a civil litigant or the guilt or innocence of an accused.

Rule 4.4: Respect for Rights of Third Persons
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Summary

Rule 4.4(a) states that a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person, or use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of such a person.

Rule 4.4(b) states that a lawyer who receives a document relating to the representation of the lawyer's client and knows or reasonably should know that the document was inadvertently sent shall promptly notify the sender.

Rule 8.4: Misconduct: Maintaining The Integrity Of The Profession
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Summary

Contains broad provisions covering misconduct—including dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation—and, as stated in Rule 8.4(d), conduct “that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.”