Roy Simon, the Chair of the NY State Bar Association Committee on Standards on Attorney Conduct, was kind enough to include me on an email last week and, as a result, I learned that New York’s proposed adoption of certain aspects of the ABA Ethics 20/20 revisions was approved, effective January 1, 2017. Back in 2015, New York adopted certain revisions to Comments to the Rules consistent with Ethics 20/20, but the proposal to change the rules themselves required Court action. You can read the details of the revisions that were adopted in this PDF: order-adopting-black-letter-amendments-to-part-1200-eff-jan-1-2017. As with many jurisdictions, New York has picked up the move to a black letter duty in Rule 1.6 to “make reasonable efforts” to safeguard confidential information but not adopted several of the other Ethics 20/20 black-letter revisions For example, New York has not adopted the Ethics 20/20 revision to acknowledge in Rule 1.6 the need to disclose certain information in connection with lateral moves and mergers in order to comply with the concomitant duty to avoid conflicts under Rule 1.7. The Comments adopted in 2015 in New York did pick up the Ethics 20/20 revisions to the Comment to Rule 1.6 on that topic, however.
The Comments adopted back in 2015 also included the new paragraphs in Rule 1.1 that are touted by many as establishing a duty of technological competence for lawyers.
I wrote back in the late part of the summer about the TBA’s petition to the Tennessee Supreme Court proposing that Tennessee adopt almost all of the ABA Ethics 20/20 revisions. The deadline for public comments expired in November 2016, but not before our disciplinary body, the Board of Professional Responsibility, filed comments proposing a number of additional amendments to be layered upon the TBA proposal. Several of the BPR proposals, all of which you can read here (starting at page 2 of the linked PDF), are puzzling.
The TBA filed a response/reply to the BPR’s comment arguing against the majority of the BPR proposals. The TBA’s response is not yet up at the Court’s website, but as I was one of the signers of it, I happen to have a copy, and you can read it at this link: petition-bpr-comment-response
This situation regarding the pending proposal is one of the 12 developments I’ll be covering, including a detailed discussion of some of the puzzling pieces of the BPR proposal, during this year’s Ethics Roadshow.