Rule Changes & Updates
Disciplinary Board of Pennsylvania Makes it Easy for the Public to Know if Lawyers Have Professional Liability Insurance
(Harrisburg, Pa.) – By visiting the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s Web site, the public can now easily determine whether an attorney has professional liability insurance or not. While lawyers are not required to have this type of insurance, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently ordered that lawyers must disclose on their annual fee form whether or not they are insured. In addition, lawyers in private practice are required to notify clients if they do not have professional liability insurance.
The Disciplinary Board is publishing changes to Rule 301(e) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement, which deals with attorneys who assert mental disability defenses in disciplinary hearings.
(Harrisburg, Pa.) – Every attorney admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar is required to complete an annual fee form and pay the appropriate fee to the Attorney Registration Office at the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. However, this year’s annual fee form, due by July 1st, has a new requirement.
In an attempt to streamline the process and expedite reinstatement, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently adopted a series of changes regarding the procedure for attorneys wishing to become inactive.
HARRISBURG, April 16, 2009 — The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania today adopted a series of changes regarding the fees, reinstatement and categorization of the Commonwealth’s nearly 27,000 inactive attorneys.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has created a uniform process for eligible out-of-state lawyers to apply for permission to participate in a particular case in the Commonwealth.
On May 23, 2007, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued an order amending Rule 402 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement, concerning access to disciplinary information and confidentiality, to clarify the circumstances under which disciplinary proceedings will be confidential.
Lawyers who engage in legislative advocacy should be aware of the passage of the Pennsylvania Lobbying Disclosure Law, P.L. 2006-134 (November 1, 2006, effective January 1, 2007), 65 Pa.C.S. §13A01 et seq.
The Committee on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility of the Pennsylvania Bar Association has issued Formal Opinion 2007-100 regarding “Client Files – Rights of Access, Possession, and Copying, along with Retention Considerations.”
On December 11, 2006, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania adopted an amendment to Rule 217(j) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement. Previously, this section had defined the limits of activities which a formerly admitted attorney (disbarred, suspended, or on inactive status) could perform while "employed" by a law office.
(Lemoyne, Pa.) - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Disciplinary Board announces an amendment to the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys requiring lawyers to inform new clients in writing if the lawyer does not have professional liability insurance.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has amended the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules and the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement to provide for a new form of discipline, revocation of a law license. Revocation would be a penalty imposed upon those who deliberately make false statements or withhold material information in the process of application for admission to the bar.
On December 30, 2005, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania adopted new Rule 1.4(c) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, regarding communication with clients, which requires lawyers who do not have professional liability insurance coverage to disclose this fact to clients in writing.
On Saturday, February 25, 2006, the Disciplinary Board published amendments to the Rules of the Disciplinary Board to implement the Open System initiative adopted by changes to the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement announced on October 26, 2005.
The Disciplinary Board has amended Section 91.3(b) of the Rules of the Disciplinary Board regarding challenges to subpoenas. The new rule requires that all motions challenging subpoenas must be filed within ten (10) days after service of the subpoena.
On November 21, 2005, the Supreme Court adopted an extensive set of revisions to the rules of the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. The changes take into account several developments including the revision of Rule 1.15 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement and recent Supreme Court rulings.
(Camp Hill, Pa.) - Marvin J. Rudnitsky, Chairman of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, a 16-member agency created by the Supreme Court with oversight and investigative power to review the conduct of Pennsylvania lawyers, announced today that the Supreme Court has approved the Board's proposed amendments to the established process of disciplinary proceedings.
On October 26, 2005, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania adopted an order in which it changed a confidentiality policy that has been in effect since the founding of the Disciplinary Board thirty-three years ago, and ordered that disciplinary proceedings will become public matters, once a proceeding is initiated by a Petition for Discipline and the respondent-attorney has had an opportunity to answer the charges. This proposal was originally published by the Disciplinary Board in June 2004.
On May 24, 2005, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania adopted changes to Rule 215 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement which allow the entry of discipline by consent, bypassing the hearing process.
By order dated April 21, 2005, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania adopted changes to the Code of Civility, which is published at 204 Pa.Code Chapter 99.
On April 5, 2005, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania put in place the last major piece of its complete overhaul of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, adopting changes to Rule 1.15 of the RPC, and also amendments to Rule 221 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement, creating new standards of conduct governing the handling of property of others by lawyers.
On March 17, 2005, the Supreme Court adopted a number of changes to the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules and the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement related to limited licenses to practice law in Pennsylvania.
In an order dated January 6, 2005, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania approved the addition of a comment to Rule 1.6 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct.
On January 6, 2005, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania adopted a new Rule 1.18 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, dealing with prospective clients.
On August 23, 2004, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania entered an order adopting the most sweeping set of changes to the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct since the adoption of that ethical code in April 1988. As of January 1, 2005, these changes are now in effect and apply to all legal matters currently in progress.
On November 22, 2004, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania approved changes to Rule 213 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement, making new provisions for Supreme Court review of determinations on the validity of subpoenas issued in disciplinary matters.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has adopted a new Rule 229.1 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires that defendants released of liability in settlement agreements must deliver any settlement funds due to the plaintiff within twenty (20) days of receipt of an executed release.
On June 4, 2004, the Supreme Court adopted a new rule setting standards for experience and continuing legal education required of all criminal defense counsel representing defendants in proceedings involving possible capital punishment.
Continuing a trend toward recognizing limited law licenses for specific purposes in Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court has adopted a new Rule 303 of the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules, creating a limited admission for military attorneys.
By order dated April 30, 2004, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania adopted amendments to Rule 5.5 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, dealing with practice in Pennsylvania by lawyers not admitted in Pennsylvania, but admitted to practice in another jurisdiction of the United States or a foreign jurisdiction.
By order dated March 30, 2004, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has adopted a new Rule 302 of the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules, which allow attorneys not admitted to the bar of Pennsylvania to obtain a Limited In-house Corporate Counsel License to work for corporations in Pennsylvania.
“Foreign Legal Consultant” Status Proposed in Rule Amendments by Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners and Disciplinary Board
The Disciplinary Board and the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners (PBLE) have jointly proposed amendments to their respective governing rules which would allow individuals licensed to practice law in foreign countries to perform limited services in Pennsylvania as “foreign legal consultants,” providing information and advice on the law of the countries in which they are licensed.
The Disciplinary Board has published for comment a set of major revisions to Rule 1.15 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, which governs the handling of property of others, including money, by Pennsylvania lawyers. The proposal was published in the Legal Intelligencer on Monday, March 29, 2004, and will appear in the Pennsylvania Bulletin imminently.
Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ralph J. Cappy today announced the implementation of a new Supreme Court rule regarding lawyers who act as lobbyists. The new rule amends the Supreme Court’s Rules of Professional Conduct, the Court’s stringent standards that guide a lawyer’s professional and ethical conduct.