3.2 Expediting Litigation

A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation consistent with the interests of the client.


COMMENT

[1] Dilatory practices bring the administration of justice into disrepute. Although there will be occasions when a lawyer properly may seek a postponement for personal reasons, it is not proper for a lawyer to routinely fail to expedite litigation solely for the convenience of the advocates. Nor will a failure to expedite be reasonable if done for the purpose of frustrating an opposing party’s attempt to obtain rightful redress or repose. It is not a justification that similar conduct is often tolerated by the bench and bar. The question is whether a competent lawyer acting in good faith would regard the course of action as having some substantial purpose other than delay. Realizing financial or other benefit from otherwise improper delay in litigation is not a legitimate interest of the client.


REPORTER’S NOTES:

Model Rule 3.2 (2002), prohibiting dilatory practices of lawyers, has no direct analog in the Maine Bar Rules, although it overlaps and is consistent with M. Bar R. 3.6(a)(3) (proscribing a lawyer’s neglect of a legal matter entrusted to him or her). In light of the Maine trial courts’ time-focused management of dockets, Model Rule 3.2 will have limited effect on the progress of litigation. However, it remains the lawyer’s obligation to move litigation to conclusion in a timely manner. The Task Force recommended the adoption of Model Rule 3.2 (2002), as written.