RULE 1.0 - TERMS

Effective Date: 3/1/2016

(a) "Belief" or "believes" denotes that the person involved actually supposed the fact in question to be true. A person's belief may be inferred from the person's conduct in the circumstances.

(b) "Consent in writing", when used with reference to the consent of a person, denotes consent that is given in writing by the person or oral consent promptly confirmed in writing to the client by the lawyer.

(c) "Consult" or "consultation" denotes communication of information reasonably sufficient to permit the client to appreciate the significance of the matter in question.

(d) "Firm" or "law firm" denotes a lawyer or lawyers in a law partnership, professional corporation, sole proprietorship or other association authorized to practice law; or lawyers employed in a legal services organization or the legal department of a corporation or other organization.

(e) "Fraud" or "fraudulent" denotes conduct having a purpose to deceive and not merely negligent misrepresentation or negligent failure to apprise another of relevant information.

(f) "Jurisdiction" means this state, another state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or a territory or possession of the United States.

(g) "Knowingly", "known", or "knows" denotes actual knowledge of the fact in question. A person's knowledge may be inferred from the person's conduct in the circumstances.

(h) "Legal Assistant" (or paralegal) means a person who assists lawyers in the delivery of legal services, and who through formal education, training, or experience, has knowledge and expertise regarding the legal system and substantive and procedural law which qualifies the person to do work of a legal nature under the direct supervision of a licensed lawyer.

(i) "Matter", for purposes of Rules 1.7 through 1.12, includes any judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract claim, controversy, investigation, charge, accusation, arrest, or other transaction.

(j) "Notice of dishonor" refers to the notice that an eligible financial institution is required to give, under the laws of this jurisdiction, upon presentation of an instrument that the institution dishonors.

(k) "Partner" denotes a member of a partnership, a shareholder in a law firm organized as a professional corporation, or a member of an association authorized to practice law.

(l) "Properly payable" refers to an instrument that, if presented in the normal course of business, is in a form requiring payment under the laws of this jurisdiction.

(m) "Reasonable" or "reasonably" when used in relation to conduct by a lawyer denotes the conduct of a reasonably prudent and competent lawyer.

(n) "Reasonable belief" or "reasonably believes" when used in reference to a lawyer denotes that the lawyer believes the matter in question and that the circumstances are such that the belief is reasonable.

(o) "Reasonably should know" when used in reference to a lawyer denotes that a lawyer of reasonable prudence and competence would ascertain the matter in question.

(p) "Screened" denotes the isolation of a lawyer from any participation in a matter through the timely imposition of a firm's procedures that are reasonably adequate under the circumstances to protect information that the isolated lawyer is obligated to protect under these Rules or other law.

(q) "Substantial" when used in reference to degree or extent denotes a material matter of clear and weighty importance.

(r) "Tribunal" denotes a court, an arbitrator in a binding arbitration proceeding or a legislative body, administrative agency or other body acting in an adjudicative capacity. A legislative body, administrative agency or other body acts in an adjudicative capacity when a neutral official, after presentation of evidence or legal argument by a party or parties, will render a binding legal judgment directly affecting a party's interests in a particular matter.

(s) "Writing" or "written" denotes a tangible or electronic record of a communication or representation, including handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photography, audio or videorecording, and electronic communications. A "signed" writing includes an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a writing and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the writing.

Comment

Consent in Writing

[1] Where it is required by these Rules, a client's consent must be given in writing at the time consent is given or oral consent by the client must be promptly confirmed in writing to the client by the lawyer. If a lawyer has obtained a client's oral consent, the lawyer may act in reliance on that oral consent so long as it is promptly confirmed in writing.

Firm

[2] Whether two or more lawyers constitute a firm within paragraph (d) can depend on the specific facts. For example, two practitioners who share office space and occasionally consult or assist each other ordinarily would not be regarded as constituting a firm. However, if they present themselves to the public in a way that suggests that they are a firm or conduct themselves as a firm, they should be regarded as a firm for purposes of the Rules. The terms of any formal agreement between associated lawyers are relevant in determining whether they are a firm, as is the fact that they have mutual access to information concerning the clients they serve. Furthermore, it is relevant in doubtful cases to consider the underlying purpose of the Rule that is involved. A group of lawyers could be regarded as a firm for purposes of the Rule that the same lawyer should not represent opposing parties in litigation, while the same group of lawyers might not be regarded as a firm for purposes of the rule that information acquired by one lawyer is attributed to another.

[3] With respect to the law department of an organization, including the government, there is ordinarily no question that the members of the department constitute a firm within the meaning of these Rules. There can be uncertainty, however, as to the identity of the client. For example, it may not be clear whether the law department of a corporation represents a subsidiary or an affiliated corporation, as well as the corporation by which the members of the department are directly employed. A similar question can arise concerning an unincorporated association and its local affiliates.

[4] Similar questions can also arise with respect to lawyers in legal aid and legal services organizations. Depending upon the structure of the organization, the entire organization or different components of it may constitute a firm or firms for purposes of these Rules.

Fraud

[5] When used in these Rules, the terms "fraud" or "fraudulent" do not include merely negligent misrepresentation or negligent failure to apprise another of relevant information. For purposes of these Rules, it is not necessary that anyone has suffered damages or relied on the misrepresentation or failure to inform in order for the misrepresentation or failure to inform to constitute fraud.

Screened

[6] This definition applies to situations where screening of a personally disqualified lawyer is permitted to remove imputation of a conflict of interest under Rules 1.11, 1.12, and 1.18.

[7] The purpose of screening is to assure the affected parties that confidential information known by the personally disqualified lawyer remains protected. The personally disqualified lawyer should acknowledge the obligation not to communicate with any of the other lawyers in the firm with respect to the matter. Similarly, other lawyers in the firm who are working on the matter should be informed that the screening is in place and that they may not communicate with the personally disqualified lawyer with respect to the matter. Additional screening measures that are appropriate for the particular matter will depend on the circumstances. To implement, reinforce and remind all affected lawyers of the presence of the screening, it may be appropriate for the firm to undertake such procedures as a written undertaking by the screened lawyer to avoid any communication with other firm personnel and any contact with any firm files or other information, including information in electronic form, relating to the matter, written notice and instructions to all other firm personnel forbidding any communication with the screened lawyer relating to the matter, denial of access by the screened lawyer to firm files or other information, including information in electronic form, relating to the matter and periodic reminders of the screen to the screened lawyer and all other firm personnel.

Rule 1.0 amended effective 08/01/06, 08/01/09, 03/01/16.

Reference: N.D.C.C. 41-03-60; Minutes of the Professional Conduct Subcommittee of the Attorney Standards Committee on 01/10/86 and 01/31/86; Minutes of the Joint Committee on Attorney Standards Meetings of 06/13/95, 09/15/95, 12/01/95, 06/11/96, 09/24/04, 03/18/05, 06/14/05, 09/09/05, 06/10/08, 09/19/08, 11/07/08, 12/01/08, 09/13/13, 09/12/14. 

Effective Date Obsolete Date
03/01/2016 View