New York

ABA Model Rule 8.4(g) Efforts in New York

Status of Action in New York

No known active consideration of ABA Model Rule 8.4(g) at this time. We are actively monitoring the situation and will post updates as they become available.


Current Rule 8.4 Misconduct
A lawyer or law firm shall not:

(a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;

(b) engage in illegal conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer;

(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;

(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;

(e) state or imply an ability: (1) to influence improperly or upon irrelevant grounds any tribunal, legislative body or public official; or (2) to achieve results using means that violate these Rules or other law;

(f) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law;

(g) unlawfully discriminate in the practice of law, including in hiring, promoting or otherwise determining conditions of employment on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability, marital status or sexual orientation. Where there is a tribunal with jurisdiction to hear a complaint, if timely brought, other than a Departmental Disciplinary Committee, a complaint based on unlawful discrimination shall be brought before such tribunal in the first instance. A certified copy of a determination by such a tribunal, which has become final and enforceable and as to which the right to judicial or appellate review has been exhausted, finding that the lawyer has engaged in an unlawful discriminatory practice shall constitute prima facie evidence of professional misconduct in a disciplinary proceeding; or

(h) engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness as a lawyer.

Current Comment
[1] Lawyers are subject to discipline when they violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another, as when they request or instruct an agent to do so on their behalf. Paragraph (a), however, does not prohibit a lawyer from advising a client concerning action the client is legally entitled to take.

[2] Many kinds of illegal conduct reflect adversely on fitness to practice law. Although a lawyer is personally answerable to the entire criminal law, a lawyer should be professionally answerable only for illegal conduct that indicates lack of those characteristics relevant to law practice. Violations involving violence, dishonesty, fraud, breach of trust, or serious interference with the administration of justice are illustrative of illegal conduct that reflects adversely on fitness to practice law. Other types of illegal conduct may or may not fall into that category, depending upon the particular circumstances. A pattern of repeated offenses, even ones of minor significance when considered separately, can indicate indifference to legal obligation.

[3] The prohibition on conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice is generally invoked to punish conduct, whether or not it violates another ethics rule, that results in substantial harm to the justice system comparable to those caused by obstruction of justice, such as advising a client to testify falsely, paying a witness to be unavailable, altering documents, repeatedly disrupting a proceeding, or failing to cooperate in an attorney disciplinary investigation or proceeding. The assertion of the lawyer’s constitutional rights consistent with Rule 8.1, Comment [2] does not constitute failure to cooperate. The conduct must be seriously inconsistent with a lawyer’s responsibility as an officer of the court.

[4] A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a goodfaith belief that no valid obligation exists.

[4A] A lawyer harms the integrity of the law and the legal profession when the lawyer states or implies an ability to influence improperly any officer or agency of the executive, legislative or judicial branches of government.

[5] Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer’s abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of lawyers. The same is true of abuse of positions of private trust such as trustee, executor, administrator, guardian, agent and officer, director or manager of a corporation or other organization.

[5A] Unlawful discrimination in the practice of law on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation is governed by paragraph (g).