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Cassidy Helps Draft Proposed Changes to Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct

2013 News Article

07/16/13

Newton, MA— The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct has submitted its final report to the SJC, prompting the Court to release the proposed rules for public comment. Following their appointment by the SJC, Committee members (including BC Law professor Michael Cassidy) examined the current Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct in light of changes made to the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct since the Massachusetts Rules were adopted fifteen years ago. The Committee also considered changes in law practice brought about by globalization and the profession’s increased use of technology.

For Cassidy and other members of the Committee, the submission culminates two years of studying, debating, and drafting the proposed amendments to the state’s rules for attorney conduct.

“The Massachusetts Rules have not been updated comprehensively since 1998 under [former BC Law Dean] Dan Coquillette’s leadership,” Professor Cassidy said, “so one of our primary objectives was to consider changes that the ABA made to the Model Rules and where to continue our state’s history of fierce but principled independence.” 

 Proposed rule changes include adopting rules that establish guidelines for identifying conflicts of interest during discussions between law firms and prospective hires, codify the law relating to a lawyer’s confidentiality obligations to prospective clients, and react to the effect of technological advancement on legal advertising and solicitation. The Committee was divided over several rules, including a rule that confirms a lawyer may reveal confidential information to secure legal advice about the lawyer’s own ethical obligations. Written comments on the proposed rules will be accepted until December 2, 2013.

SJC notice inviting comment

Professor Cassidy's full bio