On September 7, 2018, the Advisory Committee on Rules voted 12-3 to recommend that the NH Supreme Court amend Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4 by adopting the following provision, according to the secretary of the committee, Carolyn Koegler, which would make it professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
(g) engage in conduct while acting as a lawyer in any context that that the lawyer knew or reasonably should have known is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, or gender identity. Statutory or regulatory exemptions, based upon the number of personnel in a law firm, shall not relieve a lawyer of the requirement to comply with this Rule. This paragraph shall not limit the ability of the lawyer to accept, decline, or withdraw from representation consistent with other Rules, nor does it infringe on any Constitutional right of a lawyer, including advocacy on matters of public policy, the exercise of religion, or a lawyer’s right to advocate for a client.”
The Committee also recommended that the Supreme Court hold a hearing on the proposal; both recommendations will be included in Koegler’s bi-annual report to the court on February 1, 2019.
Advisory Committee on Rules
To learn more about the committee, visit www.courts.state.nh.us/committees/adviscommrules/index.htm
Supreme Court’s Rule-Making Procedures
To learn more about Rule 51, visit https://www.courts.state.nh.us/rules/scr/scr-51.htm
ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4
New Hampshire Bar News Coverage & Dialogue
I write in support of the amendment to Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(g) now pending before our Supreme Court. Like virtually all of us, I am against harassment and discrimination. This is not a controversial position. Yet there are serious parties of all stripes that have voiced objections to amended Rule 8.4(g). Upon reviewing the arguments against the amendment, respectfully, I find them overstated.
January 16, 2019
Charla Bizios Stevens, Sabrina C. Beavens, Heather M. Bums, Joni N. Esperian, Lauren Simon Irwin, Linda S. Johnson, Katie Kieman Marble, Terri L. Pastori and Connie Rakowsky
December 10, 2018
Proposed Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(g) is a reasonable and appropriate way to address the problem of harassment and discrimination in our profession, a problem which continues to exist despite state and federal anti-discrimination laws which have been on the books in New Hampshire for over 100 years and for 50 years at the federal level.
Sara B. Shirley
November 1, 2018
Christina Ferrari, NH Women’s Bar Association
September 19, 2018
The New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association (NHWBA) strongly supports the adoption of Proposed Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(g), which the New Hampshire Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules recently recommended after a 12-3 vote.
Eugene Van Loan
September 19, 2018
The NH Bar Ethics Committee and the Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Rules have recently been considering a proposal to add a provision to our Rules of Professional Conduct which would punish lawyers who engage in “harassment” or “discrimination.” The impetus for the proposed rule is a recent amendment by the American Bar Association to its Model Rules of Professional Responsibility. Because the deliberations surrounding this issue have pretty much been conducted under the radar of most NH Bar members, it is time to sound the alarm about this misguided proposal.
June 20, 2018
April 19, 2017