The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court have adopted substantial revisions to the Rules of Professional Conduct (Mass. R. Prof. C.) contained in SJC Rule 3.07. These revisions are announced in the Justices' Order dated March 26, 2015, and will be effective on July 1, 2015.
These revisions are based on the Justices' consideration of recommendations of the Court's Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct ("Committee"). At the request of the Justices, the Committee examined the current Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct in light of amendments to the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct adopted following the work of the ABA Ethics 2000 Commission and the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20. In July 2013, with the Court's permission, the Committee published its proposed rules for comment. Following careful review of the comments received, the Committee on May 14, 2014 submitted to the Justices revised Proposed Rules of Professional Conduct. This proposal included amendments to all of the Massachusetts Rules with the exception of Rules 5.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, and 8.5.
On October 29, 2014, the Justices announced their decisions concerning Rules 1.0 - 1.5, 1.7 - 1.9, 1.11 - 3.4, 3.6, 3.7, 3.9 - 5.0, 5.2, 5.4 - 6.2, 7.1 - 7.5, and 8.1 - 8.4. The Justices also announced that they would hear argument on certain issues pertaining to Rules 1.6, 1.10, 3.5, 5.1, and 5.3 on December 18, and that they were deferring action on Rule 3.8. The Justices' decisions on Rules 1.6, 1.10, 3.3, 5.1, and 5.3 are reflected in the Revised Rules adopted today and summarized in the Report of the Standing Advisory Committee on the Adoption of Revised Rules of Professional Conduct effective July 1, 2015.
The following documents are available for review on the Supreme Judicial Court website:
- The Order of the Justices adopting revised Rules of Professional Conduct 1.0 - 3.7, 3.9 - 5.1, 5.3 - 6.2, and 7.1 - 8.4 .
- Revised Mass. Rules of Professional Conduct 1.0 - 3.7, 3.9 - 5.1, 5.3 - 6.2, and 7.1 - 8.4 .
- A redlined version of the Revised Mass. Rules of Professional Conduct marked to show changes from the current Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct .
- A redlined version of the Revised Mass. Rules of Professional Conduct marked to show changes from the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct .
- The Report of the Standing Advisory Committee on the Adoption of Revised Rules of Professional Conduct effective July 1, 2015. This Report summarizes key changes in the rules as adopted .
- The Committee's Report dated July 1, 2013 and its Supplemental Report dated May 14, 2014 , describing to the Committee's proposed revisions to the rules. The Supreme Judicial Court did not adopt all of the Committee's recommendations, but these reports provide guidance on the rationale for many of the adopted revisions.
The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court appoint the members of the Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Committee is chaired by John L. Whitlock, Locke Lord LLP. The other members are Carol Beck, Committee for Public Counsel Services; Professor R. Michael Cassidy, Boston College Law School; Timothy J. Dacey, Goulston & Storrs, P.C.; Henry C. Dinger, Goodwin Procter LLP; Erin K. Higgins, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP; Professor Andrew L. Kaufman, Harvard Law School; Elizabeth Mulvey, Crowe & Mulvey LLP; Professor Andrew M. Perlman, Suffolk University Law School; James B. Re, Sally & Fitch LLP; Regina E. Roman, Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, PC; Professor Constance Rudnick, Massachusetts School of Law; and Massachusetts Bar Counsel Constance V. Vecchione, Office of Bar Counsel.