The Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct (the “Committee”) invites comment on proposed amendments to Rule 3.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The amendments would add a new subparagraph (4) to Rule 3.5(c) and replace Comment 3 to that rule with proposed Comments 3, 3A and 3B. These proposed amendments are intended to conform Rule 3.5 to the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Commonwealth v. Moore, 474 Mass. 541 (2016).

At the request of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Committee has also proposed for comment a new Rule 1.16A on file retention and disposition and related comments. The rule is not based on an ABA Model Rule, but similar rules have been adopted in some other jurisdictions. The Court and the Committee believe that lawyers and clients will benefit from clearer guidance on the rules relating to client files. Paragraph (b) of the proposed rule incorporates and updates provisions found in current Rule 1.16(e). The adoption of proposed Rule 1.16A and its related comments would be accompanied by the repeal of Rule 1.16(e) and Comment 10 to Rule 1.16.

The Committee will make its final recommendation to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court following review of comments received. Comments are due by May 1, 2017, and should be directed to SJC Senior Attorney Barbara Berenson at barbara.berenson@jud.state.ma.us. Comments received will be made available to the public.

Proposed Amendments to Rule 3.5 of the Mass. Rules of Professional Conduct pdf format of Amendments to Professional Conduct Rule 3.5

Proposed New Rule 1.16A of the Mass. Rules of Professional Conduct pdf format of Proposed New Professional Conduct Rule 1.16A