Utah Courts

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2 thoughts on “Rules of Professional Conduct
  1. S. Hullinger

    Why on earth would anybody propose this? I think I understand the reason: when these government attorneys leave the government, they want to be able to sue or represent entities that their offices prosecuted or sued.
    Will the entirety of the rules be re-written so that government attorneys are each independent, solo practitioners, and the information given to each one of them is privileged and confidential to them only, and will they be sanctioned if they disclose to any other government lawyer? In the event that they cover a hearing for a colleague, or co-counsel a case, will they be required to disclose to their employing government agency that their fees are being divided?
    Most importantly, wouldn’t it be neat if all Officers of the Court were treated equally before the Courts and the Bar Association? What would the Rules Committee’s response be to a submission that ALL attorneys who at one time worked in a firm may just disregard any conflict of interest that interfered with the advancement of their career?

  2. John Fellows

    Dear Members of the Advisory Committee on the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct:
    I submit this comment on behalf of the lawyers in the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel (OLRGC). OLRGC supports the proposed amendment to Rule 1.10, but asks that the Committee consider expanding the list of specifically identified government offices to include offices in the legislative and judicial branches of government. More specifically, OLRGC recommends the Committee amend the proposed language to read as follows: “An office of government lawyers who serve as counsel to a governmental entity such as the Utah Attorney General, the United State Attorney, the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, the Administrative Office of the Courts, or a district, county, or city attorney does not constitute a ‘firm’ for purposes of Rule 1.10 conflict imputation.”
    OLRGC supports this amendment for four primary reasons. First, imputation under Rule 1.10 would unduly interfere with a government office’s ability to represent its clients. Unlike a private firm, a government office does not choose its clients.
    Second, imputation under Rule 1.10 would undermine a government office’s ability to recruit and hire the most qualified lawyers. As comment 7 to Rule 1.10 of the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct explains, “[t]he government . . . has a much wider circle of adverse legal interests than does any private law firm . . . . the government’s recruitment of lawyers would be seriously impaired if Rule 1.10 were applied to the government.” Often the most qualified applicant will represent clients adverse to the hiring government office.
    Third, this amendment will align Utah’s Rule 1.10 with the ABA Model Rule. Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 1.10 cmt. 11 (“[W]here a lawyer represents the government after having served clients in private practice, nongovernmental employment or in another government agency, former client conflicts are not imputed to government lawyers associated with the individually disqualified lawyer.”).
    Finally, this amendment will promote clarity and more uniformly apply the rule to lawyers who work for all three branches of government. OLRGC respectfully requests that the Committee add OLRGC and the Administrative Office of the Courts to the proposed amendment to Rule 1.10.
    John Fellows
    General Counsel, OLRGC