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Preliminary Note.

The Rules ofProfessional Conduct apply to lawyers and, where consistent with a licensedparalegal practitioner?s permitted scope of practice, to licensed paralegalpractitioners. Therefore, the term ?lawyer? as used in these Rules means bothlawyers and licensed paralegal practitioners unless the Rule specificallyrefers to one type of licensee or does not apply because of the limited scopeof the licensed paralegal practitioner?s practice.

Preamble: A Lawyer'sResponsibilities.

[1] A lawyer is arepresentative of clients, an officer of the legal system and a public citizenhaving special responsibility for the quality of justice. Every lawyer isresponsible to observe the law and the Rules of Professional Conduct, shalltake the Lawyer?s Oath upon licensure, and shall be subject to the Rules ofLawyer Discipline and Disability.

Lawyer?s Oath

"I do solemnlyswear that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the UnitedStates and the Constitution of Utah; that I will discharge the duties of lawyerand counselor at law as an officer of the courts of this State with honesty,fidelity, professionalism, and civility; and that I will faithfully observe theRules of Professional Conduct and the Standards of Professionalism and Civilitypromulgated by the Supreme Court of the State of Utah."

[2] As a representativeof clients, a lawyer performs various functions. As advisor, a lawyer providesa client with an informed understanding of the client's legal rights andobligations and explains their practical implications. As advocate, a lawyerzealously asserts the client's position under the rules of the adversarysystem. As negotiator, a lawyer seeks a result advantageous to the client butconsistent with requirements of honest dealings with others. As an evaluator, alawyer acts by examining a client's legal affairs and reporting about them tothe client or to others. A lawyer's representation of a client, includingrepresentation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of theclient's political, economic, social or moral views or activities.

[3] In addition to theserepresentational functions, a lawyer may serve as a third-party neutral, anonrepresentational role helping the parties to resolve a dispute or othermatter. Some of these Rules apply directly to lawyers who are or have served asthird-party neutrals. See, e.g., Rules 1.12 and 2.4. In addition, there arerules that apply to lawyers who are not active in the practice of law or topracticing lawyers even when they are acting in a nonprofessional capacity. Forexample, a lawyer who commits fraud in the conduct of a business is subject todiscipline for engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit ormisrepresentation. See Rule 8.4.

[4] In all professionalfunctions a lawyer should be competent, prompt and diligent. A lawyer shouldmaintain communication with a client concerning the representation. A lawyershould keep in confidence information relating to representation of a clientexcept so far as disclosure is required or permitted by the Rules ofProfessional Conduct or other law.

[5] A lawyer's conductshould conform to the requirements of the law, both in professional service toclients and in the lawyer's business and personal affairs. A lawyer should usethe law's procedures only for legitimate purposes and not to harass orintimidate others. A lawyer should demonstrate respect for the legal system andfor those who serve it, including judges, other lawyers and public officials.While it is a lawyer's duty, when necessary, to challenge the rectitude ofofficial action, it is also a lawyer's duty to uphold legal process.

[6] As a public citizen,a lawyer should seek improvement of the law, access to the legal system, theadministration of justice and the quality of service rendered by the legalprofession. As a member of a learned profession, a lawyer should cultivateknowledge of the law beyond its use for clients, employ that knowledge inreform of the law and work to strengthen legal education. In addition, a lawyershould further the public's understanding of and confidence in the rule of lawand the justice system because legal institutions in a constitutional democracydepend on popular participation and support to maintain their authority. Alawyer should be mindful of deficiencies in the administration of justice andof the fact that the poor, and sometimes persons who are not poor, cannotafford adequate legal assistance and therefore, all lawyers should devoteprofessional time and resources and use civic influence in their behalf toensure equal access to our system of justice for all those who because ofeconomic or social barriers cannot afford or secure adequate legal counsel. Alawyer should aid the legal profession in pursuing these objectives and shouldhelp the Bar regulate itself in the public interest.

[7] Many of a lawyer'sprofessional responsibilities are prescribed in the Rules of ProfessionalConduct, as well as substantive and procedural law. However, a lawyer is alsoguided by personal conscience and the approbation of professional peers. Alawyer should strive to attain the highest level of skill, to improve the lawand the legal profession and to exemplify the legal profession's ideals ofpublic service.

[8] A lawyer'sresponsibilities as a representative of clients, an officer of the legal systemand a public citizen are usually harmonious. Thus, when an opposing party iswell represented, a lawyer can be a zealous advocate on behalf of a client andat the same time assume that justice is being done. So also, a lawyer can besure that preserving client confidences ordinarily serves the public interestbecause people are more likely to seek legal advice, and thereby heed theirlegal obligations, when they know their communications will be private.

[9] In the nature of lawpractice, however, conflicting responsibilities are encountered. Virtually alldifficult ethical problems arise from conflict between a lawyer'sresponsibilities to clients, to the legal system and to the lawyer's owninterest in remaining an ethical person while earning a satisfactory living.The Rules of Professional Conduct often prescribe terms for resolving suchconflicts. Within the framework of these Rules, however, many difficult issuesof professional discretion can arise. Such issues must be resolved through theexercise of sensitive professional and moral judgment guided by the basicprinciples underlying the Rules. These principles include the lawyer'sobligation zealously to protect and pursue a client's legitimate interests, withinthe bounds of the adversarial system, while maintaining a professional,courteous and civil attitude toward all persons involved in the legal system.

[10] The legalprofession is largely self-governing. Although other professions also have beengranted powers of self-government, the legal profession is unique in thisrespect because of the close relationship between the profession and theprocesses of government and law enforcement. This connection is manifested inthe fact that ultimate authority over the legal profession is vested largely inthe courts.

[11] To the extent thatlawyers meet the obligations of their professional calling, the occasion forgovernment regulation is obviated. Self-regulation also helps maintain thelegal profession's independence from government domination. An independentlegal profession is an important force in preserving government under law, forabuse of legal authority is more readily challenged by a profession whosemembers are not dependent on government for the right to practice.

[12] The legalprofession's relative autonomy carries with it special responsibilities ofself-government. The profession has a responsibility to ensure that itsregulations are conceived in the public interest and not in furtherance ofparochial or self-interested concerns of the Bar. Every lawyer is responsiblefor observance of the Rules of Professional Conduct. A lawyer should also aidin securing their observance by other lawyers. Neglect of theseresponsibilities compromises the independence of the profession and the publicinterest which it serves.

[13] Lawyers play avital role in the preservation of society. The fulfillment of this rolerequires an understanding by lawyers of their relationship to our legal system.The Rules of Professional Conduct, when properly applied, serve to define thatrelationship.


[14] The Rules ofProfessional Conduct are rules of reason. They should be interpreted withreference to the purposes of legal representation and of the law itself. Someof the Rules are imperatives, cast in the terms "shall" or"shall not." These define proper conduct for purposes of professionaldiscipline. Others, generally cast in the term "may," are permissiveand define areas under the Rules in which the lawyer has discretion to exerciseprofessional judgment. No disciplinary action should be taken when the lawyerchooses not to act or acts within the bounds of such discretion. Other Rulesdefine the nature of relationships between the lawyer and others. The Rules arethus partly obligatory and disciplinary and partly constitutive and descriptivein that they define a lawyer's professional role. Many of the Comments use theterm "should." Comments do not add obligations to the Rules butprovide guidance for practicing in compliance with the Rules.

[15] The Rulespresuppose a larger legal context shaping the lawyer's role. That contextincludes court rules and statutes relating to matters of licensure, lawsdefining specific obligations of lawyers and substantive and procedural law ingeneral. The Comments are sometimes used to alert lawyers to theirresponsibilities under such other law.

[16] Compliance with theRules, as with all law in an open society, depends primarily upon understandingand voluntary compliance, secondarily upon reinforcement by peer and publicopinion and finally, when necessary, upon enforcement through disciplinaryproceedings. The Rules do not, however, exhaust the moral and ethicalconsiderations that should inform a lawyer, for no worthwhile human activitycan be completely defined by legal rules. The Rules simply provide a frameworkfor the ethical practice of law.

[17] Furthermore, forpurposes of determining the lawyer's authority and responsibility, principlesof substantive law external to these Rules determine whether a client-lawyerrelationship exists. Most of the duties flowing from the client-lawyerrelationship attach only after the client has requested the lawyer to renderlegal services and the lawyer has agreed to do so. But there are some duties,such as that of confidentiality under Rule 1.6, that attach when the lawyeragrees to consider whether a client-lawyer relationship shall be established.See Rule 1.18. Whether a client-lawyer relationship exists for any specificpurpose can depend on the circumstances and may be a question of fact.

[18] Under various legalprovisions, including constitutional, statutory and common law, theresponsibilities of government lawyers may include authority concerning legalmatters that ordinarily reposes in the client in private client-lawyerrelationships. For example, a lawyer for a government agency may have authorityon behalf of the government to decide upon settlement or whether to appeal froman adverse judgment. Such authority in various respects is generally vested inthe attorney general and the state's attorney in state government, and theirfederal counterparts, and the same may be true of other government lawofficers. Also, lawyers under the supervision of these officers may beauthorized to represent several government agencies in intragovernmental legalcontroversies in circumstances where a private lawyer could not representmultiple private clients. These Rules do not abrogate any such authority.

[19] Failure to complywith an obligation or prohibition imposed by a Rule is a basis for invoking thedisciplinary process. The Rules presuppose that disciplinary assessment of alawyer's conduct will be made on the basis of the facts and circumstances asthey existed at the time of the conduct in question and in recognition of thefact that a lawyer often has to act upon uncertain or incomplete evidence ofthe situation. Moreover, the Rules presuppose that whether or not disciplineshould be imposed for a violation, and the severity of a sanction, depend onall the circumstances, such as the willfulness and seriousness of theviolation, extenuating factors and whether there have been previous violations.

[20] Violation of a ruleshould not itself give rise to a cause of action against a lawyer nor should itcreate any presumption in such a case that a legal duty has been breached. Inaddition, violation of a rule does not necessarily warrant any othernondisciplinary remedy, such as disqualification of a lawyer in pendinglitigation. The Rules are designed to provide guidance to lawyers and toprovide a structure for regulating conduct through disciplinary agencies. Theyare not designed to be a basis for civil liability. Furthermore, the purpose ofthe Rules can be subverted when they are invoked by opposing parties asprocedural weapons. The fact that a rule is a just basis for a lawyer'sself-assessment, or for sanctioning a lawyer under the administration of adisciplinary authority, does not imply that an antagonist in a collateralproceeding or transaction has standing to seek enforcement of the rule.Nevertheless, since the Rules do establish standards of conduct by lawyers, alawyer?s violation of a rule may be evidence of breach of applicable standardof conduct.

[21] The commentaccompanying each rule explains and illustrates the meaning and purpose of therule. The Preamble and this note on Scope provide general orientation. Thecomments are intended as guides to interpretation, but the text of each rule isauthoritative.

Effective May 1, 2021.