- La. Rules of Cond.
- Historical Background
- ABA Model Rules Preface, Preamble and Scope
- Article 1. Client-Lawyer Relationship
- Rule 1.0. Terminology
- Rule 1.1. Competence
- Rule 1.2. Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority between Client and Lawyer
- Rule 1.3. Diligence
- Rule 1.4. Communication
- Rule 1.5. Fees
- Rule 1.6. Confidentiality of Information
- Rule 1.7. Conflict of Interest: Current Clients
- Rule 1.8. Conflict of Interest: Current Clients – Specific Rules
- Rule 1.9. Duties to Former Clients
- Rule 1.10. Imputation of Conflicts of Interest: General Rule
- Rule 1.11. Special Conflicts of Interest for Former and Current Government Officers and Employees
- Rule 1.12. Former Judge, Arbitrator, Mediator or Other Third-Party Neutral
- Rule 1.13. Organization as Client
- Rule 1.14. Client with Diminished Capacity
- Rule 1.15. Safekeeping Property
- Rule 1.16. Declining or Terminating Representation
- Rule 1.17. Sale of Law Practice [Reserved]
- Rule 1.18. Duties to Prospective Client
- Article 2. Counselor
- Article 3. Advocate
- Rule 3.1. Meritorious Claims and Contentions
- Rule 3.2. Expediting Litigation
- Rule 3.3. Candor Toward the Tribunal
- Rule 3.4. Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel
- Rule 3.5. Impartiality and Decorum of the Tribunal
- Rule 3.6. Trial Publicity
- Rule 3.7. Lawyer as Witness
- Rule 3.8. Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor
- Rule 3.9. Advocate in Nonadjudicative Proceedings
- Article 4. Transactions with Persons Other Than Clients
- Article 5. Law Firms and Associations
- Rule 5.1. Responsibilities of Partners, Managers, and Supervisory Lawyers
- Rule 5.2. Responsibilities of a Subordinate Lawyer
- Rule 5.3. Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants
- Rule 5.4. Professional Independence of a Lawyer
- Rule 5.5. Unauthorized Practice of Law: Multijurisdictional Practice of Law
- Rule 5.6. Restrictions on Right to Practice
- Rule 5.7. Responsibilities Regarding Law-Related Services [Reserved]
- Article 6. Public Service
- Article 7. Information About Legal Services
- Rule 7.1. General
- Rule 7.2. Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services
- Rule 7.3. [Reserved]
- Rule 7.4. Direct Contact With Prospective Clients
- Rule 7.5 Advertisements In The Electronic Media Other Than Computer-Accessed Communications
- Rule 7.6. Computer-Accessed Communication
- Rule 7.7 Evaluation Of Advertisements
- Rule 7.8 Exemptions From The Filing and Review Requirement
- Rule 7.9 Information about a Lawyer’s Services Provided Upon Request
- Rule 7.10 Firm Names and Letterhead
- Article 8. Maintaining the Integrity of the Profession
- Dane S. Ciolino
Rule 8.1. Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters
An applicant for admission to the bar, or a lawyer in connection with a bar admission application or in connection with a disciplinary matter, shall not:
(a) Knowingly make a false statement of material fact;
(b) Fail to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension known by the person to have arisen in the matter, or knowingly fail to respond to a lawful demand for information from an admissions or disciplinary authority, except that this rule does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected by Rule 1.6; or
(c) Fail to cooperate with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel in its investigation of any matter before it except for an openly expressed claim of a constitutional privilege.
The Louisiana Supreme Court adopted this rule on January 20, 2004. It became effective on March 1, 2004, and has not been amended since.
Paragraphs (a) and (b) are identical to ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 8.1 (2002).[*1. The ABA made no changes to the corresponding Model Rule in 2002.*] Paragraph (c) is not contained in the Model Rules but has long been a part of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct. In 1985, the Louisiana Task Force on Adoption of the Model Rules recommended adoption of this paragraph “in order to facilitate the Committee on Professional Responsibility in its investigation and, most importantly, to expedite those investigations to the extent possible.” Report and Recommendation of the Task Force to Evaluate the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, at 23-24 (Nov. 23, 1985).
Comments to ABA Model Rule 8.1
 The duty imposed by this Rule extends to persons seeking admission to the bar as well as to lawyers. Hence, if a person makes a material false statement in connection with an application for admission, it may be the basis for subsequent disciplinary action if the person is admitted, and in any event may be relevant in a subsequent admission application. The duty imposed by this Rule applies to a lawyer’s own admission or discipline as well as that of others. Thus, it is a separate professional offense for a lawyer to knowingly make a misrepresentation or omission in connection with a disciplinary investigation of the lawyer’s own conduct. Paragraph (b) of this Rule also requires correction of any prior misstatement in the matter that the applicant or lawyer may have made and affirmative clarification of any misunderstanding on the part of the admissions or disciplinary authority of which the person involved becomes aware.
 This Rule is subject to the provisions of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and corresponding provisions of state constitutions. A person relying on such a provision in response to a question, however, should do so openly and not use the right of nondisclosure as a justification for failure to comply with this Rule.
 A lawyer representing an applicant for admission to the bar, or representing a lawyer who is the subject of a disciplinary inquiry or proceeding, is governed by the rules applicable to the client-lawyer relationship, including Rule 1.6 and, in some cases, Rule 3.3.
This rule imposes a duty of candor in bar admissions and disciplinary matters similar to that imposed by Rule 3.3(a) in matters pending before tribunals. However, the duty of candor imposed by this rule is broader than the duty imposed by Rule 3.3 because it applies not only to licensed lawyers, but also to nonlawyers who eventually become licensed. La. Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.1 (2004).
Paragraph (a) prohibits a lawyer or bar applicant from making any false statement of material fact in connection with a bar application[*2. In addition to complying with this rule by supplying truthful information to the Committee on Bar Admissions, applicants for admission to the bar must pass the bar examination and have "good moral character and fitness" to obtain admission to practice. See, e.g., In re Thomas, 761 So. 2d 531 (La. 2000) (conditionally admitting applicant who had defaulted on student loans).*] or disciplinary matter. La. Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.1(a) (2004); see also In re Banks, 18 So.3d 57 (La. 2009) (attorney stole a $7 pair of shoes from Walmart, subsequently did not contest the fact that he committed theft, but then insisted during disciplinary proceedings that he was simply exchanging the shoes). Nonlawyers who make false or misleading statements in seeking admission to the Louisiana bar would be subject to discipline under this rule after admission. Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.1 cmt. 1.
Affirmative Duty to Disclose
Paragraph (b) requires a lawyer to disclose information when necessary either (1) to “correct a misapprehension” known to exist in connection with a bar admissions or disciplinary matter, or (2) to respond to a lawful request from an admissions or disciplinary authority. La. Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.1(b) (2004). Thus, a lawyer or bar applicant who unwittingly makes a false statement is bound to correct it if he or she later becomes aware of its falsity. However, a lawyer’s duty to disclose under this rule is subordinate to the lawyer’s confidentiality obligation to clients. Id. Therefore, a lawyer has no duty to disclose if doing so would result in the disclosure of information that is confidential under Rule 1.6. Id.
Duty to Cooperate With Office of Disciplinary Counsel
Paragraph (c) requires a lawyer to cooperate with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel in any investigation, unless the lawyer openly pleads the Fifth Amendment. La. Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.1(c) (2004); see also Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.1 cmt. 2 (stating that the rule is “subject to the provisions of the Fifth Amendment”). Louisiana lawyers who ignore subpoenas from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel or otherwise fail to cooperate in disciplinary investigations have been severely sanctioned by the Louisiana Supreme Court. See, e.g., In re Schnyder, 918 So. 2d 455 (La. 2006); In re Brown, 892 So. 2d 1 (La. 2005); In re Gilbert, 748 So. 2d 427 (La. 1999); In re Withers, 747 So. 2d 514 (La. 1999); In re Lyons, 722 So. 2d 998 (La. 1998); In re Lord, 654 So. 2d 1084 (La. 1995); In re Dowd, 644 So. 2d 372 (La. 1994); In re Cooper, 23 So. 3d 886 (La. 2009); In re Hatfield, 2 So.3d 425 (La. 2009).
Although a lawyer can assert the protections of the Fifth Amendment when appropriate, the assertion must be “reasonable under the facts.” The Louisiana Supreme Court has found such an assertion to be an unreasonable “failure to cooperate” when the respondent was reasonably in jeopardy because of a previous guilty plea. See In re Holliday, 15 So.3d 82 (La. 2009).
Depending on the nature of the violation of this rule, the applicable standard for determining an appropriate sanction is governed by either ABA Standard for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions standard 7.0 (violations of duties owed to the profession), or standard 5.1 (failure to maintain personal integrity). See ABA Stds. for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions stds. 7.0-7.4 (1986); id. stds. 5.1-5.14.
In most cases of misconduct in connection with the bar admissions or disciplinary process, the following sanctions are generally appropriate (absent aggravating or mitigating circumstances): disbarment, when the lawyer knowingly engages in conduct that is a violation of a duty owed to the profession with the intent to obtain a benefit for the lawyer or another, and causes serious or potentially serious injury to a client, the public, or the legal system; suspension, when the lawyer knowingly engages in conduct that is a violation of a duty owed to the profession, and causes injury or potential injury to a client, the public, or the legal system; reprimand, when the lawyer negligently engages in conduct that is a violation of a duty owed to the profession, and causes injury or potential injury to a client, the public, or the legal system; and, admonition, when the lawyer engages in an isolated instance of negligence that is a violation of a duty owed to the profession, and causes little or no actual or potential injury to a client, the public or the legal system. See ABA Stds. for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions stds. 7.0-7.4 (1986).
However, in cases involving misconduct in connection with the bar admissions or disciplinary process involving dishonesty, deceit, misrepresentation or similar conduct that calls into questions the lawyer’s fundamental fitness to practice law, the following sanctions are generally appropriate (absent aggravating or mitigating circumstances): disbarment, when the lawyer engages in intentional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation that seriously adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness to practice; suspension, when the lawyer knowingly engages in criminal conduct that seriously adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness to practice; reprimand, when the lawyer knowingly engages in any other conduct that involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation and that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law; and, admonition, when the lawyer engages in any other conduct that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law. See ABA Stds. for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions stds. 5.1-5.14 (1992).
*This page was updated on August 7, 2010.