Ethics Rule Change Proves Divisive

Lines have been drawn over the recent Colorado Supreme Court decision that changed one of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Rule 8.4 stipulates that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, except that alawyer may advise, direct, or supervise others, including client, law enforcement officers, or investigators, who participate in lawful investigative activities.

The exception laid out in the rule’s new phrasing states explicitly that lawyers may oversee investigations to provide legal advice, including pretext investigations that may potentially involve misleading individuals or making false claims.

A statement from Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman praised the change, noting the importance for the office to be able to offer advice as well as supervise undercover investigations.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the October 9, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.