Ideas about what constitutes ethical conduct--and, more specifically, about what the law governing lawyers should be--would appear to be in a perpetual state of flux. Whether because of perceived problems with existing ethical rules, changes in the way law has come to be practiced, or a melange of other reasons including political expediency, it seems that a call goes out every fifteen years or so-for a reappraisal of the rules regulating the way lawyers conduct their affairs. One such call, put out in the late 1960s, ripened into the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility (1970). Thirteen short years later that Code was superseded by the markedly different ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (1983). Now those Model Rules, which some jurisdictions have only just gotten around to adopting, are poised to be supplanted by a substantially revised set of rules which are currently being drafted by the Commission on Evaluation of The Rules of Professional Conduct, colloquially known as the "Ethics 2000 Commission." The Commission's predisposition to work with what it had, rather than to consider whether to evaluate the Model Rules afresh, is particularly unfortunate when one considers the status of the Model Rules that are perhaps the most fundamental-the conflict of interest rules. As much of the remainder of this article will attempt to demonstrate, the rules the ABA has disseminated to deal with conflict problems (Rule 1.7-1.10), as presently constituted, are so flawed that, in many instances, they cause more harm than good. While the Commission has proposed a number of alterations to Rules 1.7-1.10, the vast majority of these have been cosmetic in nature; so much so that those who had hoped for more profound changes might be forgiven for being less than sanguine about the prospect that this Commission will be the one to "fix" the conflict rules.
Northern Illinois University Law Review
Flamm, Richard E.
"Looking Ahead to Ethics 2015: Or Why I Still do not Get the ABA Model Conflict of Interest Rules,"
Northern Illinois University Law Review: Vol. 19:
2, Article 7.
Richard E. Flamm, Looking Ahead to Ethics 2015: Or Why I Still do not Get the ABA Model Conflict of Interest Rules, 19 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 273 (1999).