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A proposed professional conduct rule that could subject attorneys to disciplinary action for behavior considered harassment or discrimination has been rejected by the states of Arizona and Idaho, the latest in a growing group of states that have refused to accept the rule.

The state supreme courts in Arizona and Idaho voted recently to shoot down a proposed anti-discrimination amendment to their states’ rules of professional conduct for lawyers. The Arizona Supreme Court rejected the rule on Aug. 30, while Idaho’s high court took a similar action on Sept. 6.

The decisions follow the American Bar Association’s adoption in 2016 of model rule 8.4(g), which specifies that it is “professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law.” While the ABA’s model rules of professional conduct are not binding on individual state bars, they are often looked to as a source of guidance for states considering whether to change their ethics rules.

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Scott Flaherty

Scott Flaherty, based in New York, covers the business of law with a focus on legal ethics, lawyer misconduct, conflicts-of-interest and litigation involving law firms. He can be reached at [email protected] On Twitter: @sflaherty18

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