URCP 011

Advisory Committee Notes

The 1997 amendments conform state Rule 11 with federal Rule 11. One difference between the rules concerns holding a law firm jointly responsible for violations by a member of the firm. Federal Rule 11(c)(1)(A) states: "Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm shall be held jointly responsible for violations committed by its partners, associates, and employees." Under the federal rule, joint responsibility is presumed unless the judge determines not to impose joint responsibility. State Rule 11(c)(1)(A) provides: "In appropriate circumstances, a law firm may be held jointly responsible for violations committed by its partners, members, and employees." Under the state rule, joint responsibility is not presumed, and the judge may impose joint responsibility in appropriate circumstances. What constitutes appropriate circumstances is left to the discretion of the judge, but might include: repeated violations, especially after earlier sanctions; firm-wide sanctionable practices; or a sanctionable practice approved by a supervising attorney and committed by a subordinate.