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Flashcards in Lawyers’ Public Duties & Judicial Conduct Deck (29)
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A lawyer should aspire to render at least ____ hours of pro bono legal services per year.



Rule 6.1

⚠️ Note: Lawyers should aspire to 50 hours of pro bono work, but they are not required to perform 50 hours. There is no disciplinary action for failure to meet 50 hours. States can increase this goal.


A substantial portion of a lawyer’s pro bono hours should be provided to which groups of people or organizations?

  1. Persons of limited means; or
  2. Charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations that primarily address the needs of persons of limited means

Rule 6.1(a)


If a lawyer is appointed to represent a client, can she decline the appointment?


Only for good cause, such as:

  1. Representation is likely to result in violation of the Rules or other law;
  2. Representation is likely to result in an unreasonable financial burden on the lawyer; or
  3. The client or the cause is so repugnant to the lawyer as to be likely to impair the client-lawyer relationship or the lawyer’s ability to represent the client.

Rule 6.2


What obligations does an appointed lawyer have to a client?


The same obligations as retained counsel (ex. obligations of loyalty & confidentiality, duty to avoid assisting client in violating the Rules).

Rule 6.2 (comment)


Does an attorney have a lawyer-client relationship with members served by an organization they are a member or officer of?


Can a lawyer serve as an officer, director, or member of a law reform organization if their interests will affect the lawyer’s client?


Yes, but if lawyer knows that the interests of a client may be materially benefitted by a decision in which the lawyer participates, the lawyer must disclose that fact but need not identify the client.

Rule 6.4


If a lawyer provides short-term limited legal services to a client through a nonprofit organization or the court, and neither party expects continued legal representation, does the lawyer need to screen for conflicts of interest?


No, unless the lawyer:

  1. Knows that the representation of the client involves a conflict of interest (then subject to rules 1.7 and 1.9(a)); and
  2. Knows that another lawyer associated with the lawyer in a law firm is disqualified by Rule 1.7 or 1.9(a)

Rule 6.5


When is a lawyer prohibited from knowingly participating in a decision or action of a legal services organization in which they are a member of?



  1. Participating in the decision or action would be incompatible with the lawyer’s obligations to a client under Rule 1.7; or
  2. The decision or action could have a material adverse effect on the representation of a client of the organization whose interests are adverse to a client of the lawyer

Rule 6.3


Can a lawyer or law firm accept government legal engagement or an appointment by a judge?


No, if the lawyer or law firm makes a political contribution or solicits political contributions for the purpose of obtaining or being considered for that type of legal engagement or appointment.

Rule 7.6


Rule 8.2 prohibits lawyers from making what kind of statements concerning judges and judicial candidates?


Statements that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge or judicial candidate.

Rule 8.2(a)


When asked to evaluate the professional or personal fitness of candidates for judicial office, lawyers must express what type of opinions?


Honest and candid opinions because it contributes to improving the administration of justice.

Rule 8.2, comment 1


T/F A judge should uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and avoid impropriety, including the appearance of impropriety


False, a judge must uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and avoid impropriety, including the appearance of impropriety


What is the test for whether conduct creates an appearance of impropriety?


Whether the conduct would create in reasonable minds a perception that the judge violated this Code or engaged in other conduct that reflects adversely on the judge’s honesty, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge.

Canon 1.2, comment 5


Is it proper for a judge to use his or her position to gain personal advantage or deferential treatment?



This includes things like alluding to judicial status to gain favorable treatment in traffic stops or using judicial letterhead to gain an advantage in conducting personal business.

Canon 1.3, comment 1


Can a judge use official letterhead to provide a reference or recommendation for an individual?


Yes, as long as the judge indicates that the reference is personal and if there is no likelihood that use of the letterhead could be reasonably perceived as an attempt to exert pressure by reason of the judicial office.

Canon 1.3, comment 2


Is a judge allowed to initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications concerning a pending or impending proceeding?


No, unless:

  1. Circumstances require it (ex. scheduling, administrative, or emergency purposes that do not address substantive matters) AND (a) the judge believes no party will gain an unfair advantage and (b) the judge notifies all parties and gives them an opportunity to respond;
  2. Communication is for settlement purposes with the consent of both parties;
  3. Communication is authorized by law; or
  4. Communication is with court personnel whose function is to aid the judge in carrying out the judge’s adjudicative responsibilities

Canon 2.9


Can a judge independently investigate facts in a matter?


No, a judge can only consider the facts presented at trial and those that are judicially noticed

Canon 2.9(c)


True or false: Judges may make public statements that affect the outcome or fairness of a trial as long as the judge reasonably believes the statements to be true.


False. A judge shall not make any public statement that might reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending or impending in any court, or make any nonpublic statement that might substantially interfere with a fair trial or hearing.

Canon 2.10


Is a judge permitted to respond directly or through a third party to allegations in the media or elsewhere concerning the judge’s conduct in a matter?


Are judges required to inform the appropriate authority if they have knowledge that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Model Code or the Rules that raises a substantial question regarding their honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a judge or lawyer?


Yes, judges must inform the appropriate authority.

Canon 2.15


What happens if a judge suspects, but does not have actual knowledge, that another judge or lawyer has committed misconduct?


If there is a substantial likelihood that the lawyer or judge committed misconduct, the judge shall take appropriate action.

Canon 2.15


Can the parties agree to waive a judge’s disqualification based on personal bias or prejudice concerning a party?


Under what circumstances (6) must a judge disqualify himself from a proceeding?


A judge must disqualify herself if:

  1. Judge has a personal bias or prejudice against the parties or personal knowledge of facts that are in dispute;
  2. Judge, the judge’s spouse, or a person within the third degree of relationship to either of them, is:
    • A party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, general partner, managing member, or trustee of a party;
    • Acting as a lawyer in the proceeding;
    • Someone who has more than a de minimis interest that could be substantially affected by the proceeding; or
    • Likely to be a material witness
  3. The judge or the judge’s spouse, parent, child, or any other family member residing in the judge’s household has an economic interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding;
  4. Judge knows or learns by means of a timely motion that a party, a party’s lawyer, or the law firm of a party’s lawyer has made unreasonable or inappropriate contributions to the judicial campaign;
  5. Judge has made a public statement, other than in a court proceeding, judicial decision, or opinion, that commits or appears to commit the judge to reach a particular result;
  6. The judge:
    • Served as a lawyer in the matter in controversy, or was associated with a lawyer who participated substantially as a lawyer in the matter during such association;
    • Served in governmental employment, and participated personally and substantially as a lawyer or public official concerning the proceeding, or has publicly expressed in such capacity an opinion concerning the merits of the particular matter in controversy;
    • Was a material witness concerning the matter; or
    • Previously presided as a judge over the matter in another court

Canon 2.11


What must a judge refrain from doing when engaging in extrajudicial activities?


Participating in activities that:

  1. Interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties;
  2. Lead to frequent disqualification of the judge;
  3. Would appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality;
  4. Appear to a reasonable person to be coercive; or
  5. Make use of court premises, staff, stationery, equipment, or other resources, except for incidental use for activities that concern the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, or unless such additional use is permitted by law

Canon 3.1


Can a judge testify as a character witness in a legal proceeding?


No, except when duly summoned.

Canon 3.3


When can a judge accept an invitation for the judge and the judge’s spouse, domestic partner, or guest to attend an event without charge? (ex. transportation and lodging will be provided)


Only when the event is associated with a bar-related function or other activity relating to the law


Can a judge accept appointment to serve as a guardian for a member of the judge’s family?


Yes, but only if such service will not interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties


Can judges commend or criticize jurors for their verdicts?




When does a judge’s economic interest lead to disqualification?


When its more than a de minimis interest

Rule 2.11