Cardozo Law Review


In January 1980, the American Bar Association's Commission on Evaluation of Professional Standards circulated a discussion draft of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. If adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, the Model Rules would replace the current ABA Code of Professional Responsibility. The 1980 discussion draft generated considerable controversy; Rule 8.1 of the 1980 draft, which Mr. Rosenfeld's Article bears upon, mandated a public interest legal service obligation for all practicing attorneys, and was one of the most controversial features of the Model Rules. Simultaneously, a Special Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York made a similar proposal. In December 1980, the Special Committee's proposal was modified by an official "Statement of Position" adopted by the Association's Executive Committee, which endorsed an affirmative requirement that every lawyer participate in public interest legal services, but broadened the scope of activities which would qualify and recommended enforcement "through self-evaluation and not disciplinary sanctions. " Meanwhile, the ABA's Commission has been revising the Model Rules and it is now expected that Model Rule 8.1 will undergo revision to eliminate the requirement of mandatory public interest legal service. But the debate over whether lawyers should be made to engage in public interest practice will continue.


Attorneys, Legal Profession, Professional Ethics in Law



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