The Ohio Supreme Court will accept public comment until October 15 on proposed amendments to the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and the Ohio Rules for the Government of the Bar.  Ohio becomes the latest state to consider incorporating some version of the Model Rule revisions that the ABA adopted in 2012 and 2013.

Here is a link to the announcement and to the complete language of the proposed amendments.

Proposed changes to confidentiality, solicitation rules

Proposed substantive amendments include:

  • Rule 1.1 (Competence) would add a comment addressing the duty to keep abreast of technology;
  • Rule 1.1 would also add a comment advising that outsourcing legal services should ordinarily require the client’s informed consent;
  • Rule 1.6 (Confidentiality) would require lawyers to make reasonable efforts to prevent unauthorized disclosure of or access to information relating to the client’s representation;
  • Rule 1.6 would also allow lawyers changing employment to make a limited disclosure of confidential information in order to help detect and resolve conflicts of interest created by the move;
  • Rule 7.3 (Solicitation of Clients) would bar in-person, live telephone or real-time electronic solicitation of a minor, an incompetent person or a person the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is unlikely to be able to exercise reasonable judgment in employing a lawyer.  (This proposed new rule was not part of the ABA’s recent revisions to the Model Rules.)

Proposed change to firm insurance coverage requirements

In addition, a proposed amendment to Rule III to the Rules for the Government of the Bar would increase the level of professional liability insurance that LPA’s corporations, legal clinics, LLC’s and LPA’s must maintain.  The existing rule requires coverage of $50,000 per lawyer/per claim and $100,00 per lawyer in the aggregate.  The proposed rule would increase the level to $100,000 per lawyer/per claim and $300,000 per lawyer in the aggregate.

Comments should be submitted to:  Richard A. Dove, Secretary, Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline, Ohio Supreme Court, 65 S. Front St., Fifth Floor, Columbus, OH 43215 or to