Saturday, April 18, 2020

Duty To Report

It continues to amaze me how well the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct are written. Although credit should properly go to the American Bar Association's model rules which interestingly, were created primarily as a result of unethical and criminal actions by lawyers during the Watergate scandal.

One of the rules, know as duty to report, requires lawyers to report the misconduct of other lawyers if they know that the lawyer has violated the rules. There is very little wiggle room to the rule.

Rule 8.3 Reporting Professional Misconduct
(a) A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.
(b) A lawyer who knows that a judge has committed a violation of the applicable Code of Judicial Conduct that raises a substantial question as to the judge's fitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority.
(c) This rule does not require disclosure of information that Rule 1.6 requires or allows a lawyer to keep confidential or information gained by a lawyer or judge while participating in a lawyers assistance program or other program providing assistance, support, or counseling to lawyers who are chemically dependent or have mental disorders.
So any lawyer who has seen the evidence I have agaisnt Nelly Wince, which is simply unquestionable, is obligated to report Wince's violation. Although I would be surprised if a lawyer has ever been disciplined for their failure to report another lawyer under this rule. Another example of a great rule which is ignored in practice.

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