Revision to Model Policy for Law Firms Addressing Impairment addresses confidentiality concerns
The Board of Governors has revised the Model Policy for Law Firms Addressing Impairment to clarify language that could have led impaired lawyers and other lawyers in a firm to incorrectly believe that the policy removed an attorney’s duty to report violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct per Rule 4-8.1.
The Board took the action at its September 18 meeting after representatives from the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel, the Legal Ethics Counsel, the Intervention Committee, and The Bar Plan reviewed the existing language of the policy and suggested that it be revised.
The rule previously read as follows:
“Referral to the Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program is also STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL. The identity of the person contacting MOLAP will not be disclosed to any member of the law firm, nor will it result in a referral to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel.”
The amended rule now reads:
“Referral to the Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program is held STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL by the program. MOLAP will not disclose to any member of the firm the identity of the person contacting it, nor will the contact result in a referral to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel by MOLAP. Lawyers should review Rule 4-8.3 to determine which ‘known’ violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct must be reported to disciplinary authorities [see also Rule 4-1.0(f)].”
The Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program website is http://www.mobar.org/molap/. A copy of the updated model policy is available at http://www.mobar.org/molap/model-policy-for-law-firm.html.