6.4 Law Reform Activities Affecting Client Interest

A lawyer may serve as a director, officer or member of an organization involved in reform of the law or its administration notwithstanding that the reform may affect the interests of a client of the lawyer. When the lawyer knows that the interests of a client may be materially affected by a decision in which the lawyer participates, the lawyer shall disclose that fact to the organization, but need not identify the client.


COMMENT

[1] Lawyers involved in organizations seeking law reform generally do not have a client-lawyer relationship with the organization. Otherwise, it might follow that a lawyer could not be involved in a bar association law reform program that might indirectly affect a client. See also Rule 1.2(b). For example, a lawyer specializing in antitrust litigation might be regarded as disqualified from participating in drafting revisions of rules governing that subject. In determining the nature and scope of participation in such activities, a lawyer should be mindful of obligations to clients under other Rules, particularly Rule 1.7. A lawyer is professionally obligated to protect the integrity of the program by making an appropriate disclosure within the organization when the lawyer knows a private client might be materially affected.


REPORTER’S NOTES:

Model Rule 6.4 (2002) addresses issues that are analogous to the issues raised by Model Rule 6.3: facilitating lawyers’ service on boards of “law reform organizations.” The Rule recognizes that serving as a member of the board of such an organization can be distinguished from representing it. Accordingly, Rule 6.3 authorizes such service on law reform organization boards, notwithstanding the fact that a reform effort may affect the interests of the lawyer’s clients. Disclosure to the organization is required in the event the board member/lawyer’s clients are materially affected by a decision of the board.

There is no comparable provision under the Maine Bar Rules. Because Model Rule 6.4 (2002) provides beneficial guidance, the Task Force recommended adoption as written.