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NYCLA ISSUES REPORT COMMENTING ON NYSBA COMMITTEE REPORT ON PROPOSED NEW YORK RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 8, 2006 – The New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) has issued a report declaring its support of the New York State Bar Association’s (NYSBA) Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct (‘COSAC”) report that recommends the adoption of the Proposed New York Rules of Professional Conduct. The Proposed Rules, released in September 2005 following a two-year review, follow the format and, in large measure, the wording of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which was revised in 2002. The Proposed Rules also retain substantive New York law as developed under the New York Lawyer’s Code of Professional Responsibility.
The NYCLA report was prepared by the Task Force on Ethics Reform, created in November 2005 and comprised of private attorneys representing various practice areas, public sector attorneys and judges. The Task Force’s co-chairs are Martin Minkowitz, Chair of the Professional Ethics Committee, and Lewis F. Tesser, Co-Chair of the Professional Discipline Committee. During the preparation of the report, discussions were held with members of State Bar, which is planning to vote on the adoption of the Model Rules format at its April 1 House of Delegates meeting.
Among the elements of COSAC’s work that the Task Force supports is the Model Rules’s intent to facilitate the research of ethical issues by New York and out-of-state lawyers. It also supports the adoption of a Model Rules format “[that] would eliminate the need to initially determine which Model Rule correlates to the appropriate Disciplinary Rule or Ethical Canon under the Code.” In addition, the report acknowledged that by adopting this format, it would be easier for lawyers to find provisions addressing particular ethical issues.
The Task Force expressed its concern that the Proposed Rules have not been widely reported by the media and, consequently, many New York lawyers are unaware of the pending changes. In an effort to enhance awareness and knowledge of the Proposed Rules, the Task Force recommends that NYSBA establish and fully fund continuing legal education programs throughout the State that would be of no cost to attendees.
The New York County Lawyers’ Association (www.nycla.org) was founded in 1908 as the first major bar association in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or gender. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.
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