In 2017, the Utah Supreme Court held a public comment period on a proposal that would have adopted much of ABA Model Rule 8.4(g). Fortunately, the Court did not adopt ABA Model Rule 8.4(g).
Now, in 2019, a committee has recommended two new proposals for the Court’s consideration – one relating to Utah Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.4; the other relating to the Utah Standards of Professionalism and Civility. The Court’s public comment period on these proposals ends Sunday, May 5.
In very basic terms, the complicated and confusing proposals would –
- Add a new Utah Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(g) that is a hybrid of scattered elements of ABA Model Rule 8.4(g), Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the Utah Antidiscrimination Act;
- Add a new Utah Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(h) that would make it professional misconduct to violate the Standards of Professionalism and Civility in certain instances; and
- Make changes that would implicate attorneys’ speech in ways that would seem to be in serious tension with the United States Supreme Court’s recent decisions in NIFLA and Matal.
Christian Legal Society has filed its comments, recommending that the revised proposals be rejected if for no other reason than that they are so complicated and confusing that Utah lawyers will have difficulty knowing whether their speech might trigger disciplinary action. In addition to First Amendment concerns, numerous other practical reasons exist for rejecting the revised proposals as well, which are briefly noted in the CLS comments.
Comments may be posted in two places – one is for the Rules of Professional Conduct and the second is for the Standards of Professionalism and Civility. To post comments, click on a link and scroll down until past the last comment. There will be a box for you to put your comment, as well as boxes for your name and email address.