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Rule 8.4. Misconduct.

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

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

(b) commit a criminal act thatreflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as alawyer in other respects;

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

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

(e) state or imply an ability toinfluence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results bymeans that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law; or

(f) knowingly assist a judge orjudicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicialconduct or other law.

Comment

[1] Lawyers are subject to discipline when they violateor attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or knowingly assist orinduce another to do so through the acts of another, as when they request orinstruct an agent to do so on the lawyer?s behalf. Paragraph (a), however, doesnot prohibit a lawyer from advising a client concerning action the client islegally entitled to take.

[1a] An act of professionalmisconduct under Rule 8.4(b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), or (h) cannot be countedas a separate violation of Rule 8.4(a) for the purpose of determining sanctions.Conduct that violates other Rules of Professional Conduct, however, may be aviolation of Rule 8.4(a) for the purpose of determining sanctions.

[2] Many kinds of illegal conduct reflect adversely onfitness to practice law, such as offenses involving fraud and the offense ofwillful failure to file an income tax return. However, some kinds of offensescarry no such implication. Traditionally, the distinction was drawn in terms ofoffenses involving "moral turpitude." That concept can be construedto include offenses concerning some matters of personal morality, such asadultery and comparable offenses, that have no specific connection to fitnessfor the practice of law. Although a lawyer is personally answerable to theentire criminal law, a lawyer should be professionally answerable only foroffenses that indicate lack of those characteristics relevant to law practice.Offenses involving violence, dishonesty, breach of trust or seriousinterference with the administration of justice are in that category. A patternof repeated offenses, even ones of minor significance when consideredseparately, can indicate indifference to legal obligation.

[3] A lawyer who, in the course of representing a client,knowingly manifests by words or conduct bias or prejudice based upon race, sex,religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, orsocioeconomic status, violates paragraph (d) when such actions are prejudicialto the administration of justice. Legitimate advocacy respecting the foregoingfactors does not violate paragraph (d). A trial judge?s finding that peremptorychallenges were exercised on a discriminatory basis does not alone establish aviolation of this rule.

[3a] The Standards of Professionalism and Civilityapproved by the Utah Supreme Court are intended to improve the administrationof justice.  An egregious violation or a pattern of repeated violations ofthe Standards of Professionalism and Civility may support a finding that thelawyer has violated paragraph (d).

[4] A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligationimposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. Theprovisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity,scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legalregulation of the practice of law.

[5] Lawyers holding public office assume legalresponsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer's abuse ofpublic office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role oflawyers. The same is true of abuse of positions of private trust such astrustee, executor, administrator, guardian, agent and officer, director ormanager of a corporation or other organization.

 

Effective December 19, 2018