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Rule 8.4. Misconduct.

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

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

(b) commit a criminal act that reflectsadversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer inother respects;

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

(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicialto 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 or judicialofficer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conductor other law.


[1] Lawyers are subject to discipline when they violate or attemptto violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or knowingly assist or induceanother to do so through the acts of another, as when they request or instructan agent to do so on the lawyer?s behalf. Paragraph (a), however, does notprohibit a lawyer from advising a client concerning action the client islegally entitled to take.

[1a] A violation of paragraph (a) basedsolely on the lawyer?s violation of another Rule of Professional Conduct shallnot be charged as a separate violation. However, this rule defines professionalmisconduct as a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct as the termprofessional misconduct is used in the Supreme Court Rules of ProfessionalPractice, including the Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions. In thisrespect, if a lawyer violates any of the Rules of Professional Conduct, theappropriate discipline may be imposed pursuant to Rule 14-605.

[2] Many kinds of illegal conduct reflect adversely on fitness topractice law, such as offenses involving fraud and the offense of willfulfailure to file an income tax return. However, some kinds of offenses carry nosuch implication. Traditionally, the distinction was drawn in terms of offensesinvolving "moral turpitude." That concept can be construed to includeoffenses concerning some matters of personal morality, such as adultery andcomparable offenses, that have no specific connectionto fitness for the practice of law. Although a lawyer is personally answerableto the entire criminal law, a lawyer should be professionally answerable onlyfor offenses that indicate lack of those characteristics relevant to lawpractice. 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 or socioeconomicstatus, violates paragraph (d) when such actions are prejudicial to theadministration of justice. Legitimate advocacy respecting the foregoing factorsdoes not violate paragraph (d). A trial judge?s finding that peremptorychallenges were exercised on a discriminatory basis does not alone establish a violationof this rule.

[3a] The Standards of Professionalism andCivility approved by the Utah Supreme Court are intended to improve theadministration of justice.? An egregiousviolation or a pattern of repeated violations of the Standards of Professionalismand Civility may support a finding that the lawyer has violated paragraph (d).

[4] A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed bylaw upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions ofRule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaningor application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of thepractice of law.

[5] Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilitiesgoing beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer's abuse of public office cansuggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of lawyers. The same istrue of abuse of positions of private trust such as trustee, executor,administrator, guardian, agent and officer, director or manager of acorporation or other organization.