New York Court System Request for Public Comment on Proposed Amendments to the New York Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 1200) – mostly “technological amendments”

The New York State court system opens for public comments on some proposed amendments to the New York Rules of Professional Conducts. Comments can be sent within June 1,

The proposed amendments concern the following rules:

  • Rule l.0(x) (definition of “writing”) – enlargement of definition with reference to new technologies.
  • Rule l.6(c) (“Confidentiality of information”) – would broaden lawyers’ duties, binding them to use reasonable efforts to protect clients’ confidential information (for example against hackers). The rule would be as follows: “A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure or use of, or unauthorized access to, information protected by Rules 1.6, 1.9(c)), or 1.18(b).”
  • Rule 1.18(a) (defining “prospective client”) and Rule 1.18(e) (exceptions) – clarification of the definition and exceptions to the prospective client’s rule.
  • Rule 4.4(b) (“Respect for Rights of Third Persons”) – would extend beyond “document” providing the following: “A lawyer who receives a document, electronically stored information, or other writing relating to the representation of the lawyer’s client and knows or reasonably should know that it was inadvertently sent shall promptly notify the sender”.
  • Rule 7.3 (“Solicitation and Recommendation of Professional Employment”) – by amendments to letter (b) and (c) the reference would be no more to “prospective client” but to whatever “person”.

The proposed amendments – which aim at modernizing the Rules in line with the philosophy of the ABA Ethics 20/20 Commission — had been recommended last year by the New York State Bar Association (Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct’s initiative).

The relevant comments to the Rules have already been issued (since in New York the comments to the Rules are issued by the bar and not by the Court).

Full text of the Memorandum here.

For more information, Francesca Giannoni-Crystal