Rule 8.3. ReportingProfessional Misconduct.
(a)A lawyer who knows that another legal professional has committed a violation ofthe applicable Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantialquestion as to that legal professional?s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness asa legal professional in other respects shall inform the appropriateprofessional authority.
(b)A lawyer who knows that a judge has committed a violation of applicable Rulesof Judicial Conduct that raises a substantial question as to the judge'sfitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority.
(c)This Rule does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected byRule 1.6 or information gained by a lawyer or judge while participating in anapproved lawyers assistance program.
Self-regulation of the legal profession requires that members of the professioninitiate disciplinary investigation when they know of a violation of the applicableRules of Professional Conduct. Lawyers have a similar obligation with respectto judicial misconduct. An apparently isolated violation may indicate a patternof misconduct that only a disciplinary investigation can uncover. Reporting aviolation is especially important where the victim is unlikely to discover theoffense.
A report about misconduct is not required where it would involve violation ofRule 1.6. However, a lawyer should encourage a client to consent to disclosurewhere prosecution would not substantially prejudice the client's interests.
If a lawyer were obliged to report every violation of the Rules, the failure toreport any violation would itself be a professional offense. Such a requirementexisted in many jurisdictions but proved to be unenforceable. This Rule limitsthe reporting obligation to those offenses that a self-regulating professionmust vigorously endeavor to prevent. A measure of judgment is, therefore,required in complying with the provisions of this Rule. The term"substantial" refers to the seriousness of the possible offense andnot the quantum of evidence of which the lawyer is aware. A report should bemade to the bar disciplinary agency unless some other agency, such as a peerreview agency, is more appropriate in the circumstances. Similar considerationsapply to the reporting of judicial misconduct.
The duty to report professional misconduct does not apply to a lawyer retainedto represent a legal professional whose professional conduct is in question.Such a situation is governed by the rules applicable to the client-lawyerrelationship.
Information about a lawyer?s or judge?s misconduct or fitness may be receivedby a lawyer in the course of that lawyer?s participation in an approved lawyersor judges assistance program. In that circumstance, providing for an exceptionto the reporting requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Rule encourageslawyers and judges to seek treatment through such a program. Conversely,without such an exception, lawyers and judges may hesitate to seek assistancefrom these programs, which may then result in additional harm to theirprofessional careers and additional injury to the welfare of clients and thepublic.
EffectiveMay 1, 2019