RPC07.01. Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services. AMEND. Rule 7.1 was recently circulated for comment in response to a petition to the Supreme Court. That petition expressed concern about the direct solicitation of potential clients soon after traumatic events. The petition proposed returning to the Rules of Professional Conduct a ban on direct solicitation. Such a ban previously appeared in Rule 7.3 and still appears in the ABA Model Rule. The Utah Supreme Court eliminated the ban on direct solicitation in 2020. The proposed amendments that were drafted in response to the petition generated a large number of comments in opposition. Using Fla. Bar v. Went For It, Inc., 515 U.S. 618, 620–21 (1995) as a guide, the rule was redrafted to more narrowly address the petition’s concerns. That rule proposal is now the subject of this comment period.
RPC08.04. Misconduct. AMEND. Rule 8.4 circulated for comment last year. The proposal attempted to codify in a new paragraph (2) Ethics Advisory Opinion 02-05, which concluded that 8.4(1)(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation) does not apply to government attorneys overseeing an otherwise legal undercover criminal investigation. The proposal as written received a number of comments in opposition. A new proposal, which is now the subject of this comment period, provides that while it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, a lawyer may participate in lawful investigatory activities employing deception for the purpose of detecting ongoing violations of law. Those lawful investigatory activities include governmental “sting” operations; use of testers in fair-housing cases to determine whether landlords or real estate agents discriminate against protected classes of applicants; and gathering evidence of copyright violations.