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RULE 19-302.1. ADVISOR (2.1)

West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland Rules

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 19. Attorneys
Chapter 300. Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct
Counselor [Rules 19-302.1 to 19-302.4]
MD Rules Attorneys, Rule 19-302.1
RULE 19-302.1. ADVISOR (2.1)
In representing a client, an attorney shall exercise independent professional judgment and render candid advice. In rendering advice, an attorney may refer not only to law but to other considerations such as moral, economic, social and political factors, that may be relevant to the client's situation.
Scope of Advice--[1] A client is entitled to straightforward advice expressing the attorney's honest assessment. Legal advice often involves unpleasant facts and alternatives that a client may be disinclined to confront. In presenting advice, an attorney endeavors to sustain the client's morale and may put advice in as acceptable a form as honesty permits. However, an attorney should not be deterred from giving candid advice by the prospect that the advice will be unpalatable to the client.
[2] Advice couched in narrow legal terms may be of little value to a client, especially where practical considerations, such as cost or effects on other people, are predominant. Purely technical legal advice, therefore, can sometimes be inadequate. It is proper for an attorney to refer to relevant moral and ethical considerations in giving advice. Although an attorney is not a moral advisor as such, moral and ethical considerations impinge upon most legal questions and may decisively influence how the law will be applied.
[3] A client may expressly or impliedly ask the attorney for purely technical advice. When such a request is made by a client experienced in legal matters, the attorney may accept it at face value. When such a request is made by a client inexperienced in legal matters, however, the attorney's responsibility as advisor may include indicating that more may be involved than strictly legal considerations.
[4] Matters that go beyond strictly legal questions may also be in the domain of another profession. Family matters can involve problems within the professional competence of psychiatry, clinical psychology or social work; business matters can involve problems within the competence of the accounting profession or of financial specialists. Where consultation with a professional in another field is itself something a competent attorney would recommend, the attorney should make such a recommendation. At the same time, an attorney's advice at its best often consists of recommending a course of action in the face of conflicting recommendations of experts.
Offering Advice--[5] In general, an attorney is not expected to give advice until asked by the client. However, when an attorney knows that a client proposes a course of action that is likely to result in substantial adverse legal consequences to the client, the attorney's duty to the client under Rule 19-301.4 (1.4) may require that the attorney offer advice if the client's course of action is related to the representation. Similarly, when a matter is likely to involve litigation and, in the opinion of the attorney, one or more forms of alternative dispute resolution are reasonable alternatives to litigation, the attorney should advise the client about those reasonable alternatives. An attorney ordinarily has no duty to initiate investigation of a client's affairs or to give advice that the client has indicated is unwanted, but an attorney may initiate advice to a client when doing so appears to be in the client's interest.
Model Rules Comparison: Rule 19-302.1 (2.1) is substantially similar to the language of the Ethics 2000 Amendments to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.


[Adopted June 6, 2016, eff. July 1, 2016.]
MD R Attorneys, Rule 19-302.1, MD R ATTORNEYS Rule 19-302.1
Current with amendments received through February 1, 2024. Some sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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