Monday, September 26, 2022

Vermont approves multiple amendments to its Rules of Professional Conduct

Mike Kennedy, Vermont's Bar Counsel, reports that about two weeks ago, the Vermont Supreme Court approved several amendments to the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct.  The Court’s order is here.  Some of the amendments are pretty significant.  They include:

Paragraph (c) of Rule 1.2 has been amended to require a lawyer who assists a person to prepare documents that the lawyer knows the person will file in court to comply with any court rules that might require a seemingly self-represented litigant to disclose having received legal assistance.  

Rule 1.6 has been amended to create exceptions to the duty of confidentiality that allow disclosure of information to secure guidance from bar counsel and to detect conflicts of interest when changing jobs.

Rule 1.6 was also amended to adopt an affirmative duty to make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of or unauthorized access to client information.  This provision is in Model Rule 1.6(c).

The duty (in Rule 4.4) to notify the sender upon receiving information that the lawyer knows or should know was inadvertently sent has been expanded to “information” from “document.”

A paragraph was added to the comment to Rule 5.5 to clarify that lawyers who are not admitted to practice law in Vermont do not necessarily engage in the unauthorized practice of law by working remotely from Vermont. 

Rule 8.4(b) prohibits lawyers from engaging in conduct that involves a “serious crime.”  The amendment broadens the definition of “serious crime.”

For the complete run down, go to Mike's post or watch this video in which he discusses amendments (which had not yet been adopted at the time of the video).

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