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RULE 19-305.1. RESPONSIBILITIES OF PARTNERS, MANAGERS, AND SUPERVISORY ATTORNEYS (5.1)

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
Law Firms and Associations [Rules 19-305.1 to 19-305.7]
MD Rules Attorneys, Rule 19-305.1
RULE 19-305.1. RESPONSIBILITIES OF PARTNERS, MANAGERS, AND SUPERVISORY ATTORNEYS (5.1)
(a) A partner in a law firm, and an attorney who individually or together with other attorneys possesses comparable managerial authority in a law firm, shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that all attorneys in the firm conform to the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct.
(b) An attorney having direct supervisory authority over another attorney shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the other attorney conforms to the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct.
(c) An attorney shall be responsible for another attorney's violation of the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct if:
(1) the attorney orders or, with knowledge of the specific conduct, ratifies the conduct involved; or
(2) the attorney is a partner or has comparable managerial authority in the law firm in which the other attorney practices, or has direct supervisory authority over the other attorney, and knows of the conduct at a time when its consequences can be avoided or mitigated but fails to take reasonable remedial action.
COMMENT
[1] Section (a) of this Rule applies to attorneys who have managerial authority over the professional work of a firm. See Rule 19-301.0 (d) (1.0). This includes members of a partnership, the shareholders in a law firm organized as a professional corporation, and members of other associations authorized to practice law; attorneys having comparable managerial authority in a legal services organization or a law department of an enterprise or government agency; and attorneys who have intermediate managerial responsibilities in a firm. Section (b) of this Rule applies to attorneys who have supervisory authority over the work of other attorneys in a firm.
[2] Section (a) of this Rule requires attorneys with managerial authority within a firm to make reasonable efforts to establish internal policies and procedures designed to provide reasonable assurance that all attorneys in the firm will conform to the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct. Such policies and procedures include those designed to detect and resolve conflicts of interest, identify dates by which actions must be taken in pending matters, account for client funds and property and ensure that inexperienced attorneys are properly supervised.
[3] Other measures that may be required to fulfill the responsibility prescribed in section (a) of this Rule can depend on the firm's structure and the nature of its practice. In a small firm of experienced attorneys, informal supervision and periodic review of compliance with the required systems ordinarily will suffice. In a large firm, or in practice situations in which difficult ethical problems frequently arise, more elaborate measures may be necessary. Some firms, for example, have a procedure whereby junior attorneys can make confidential referral of ethical problems directly to a designated senior partner or special committee. See Rule 19-305.2 (5.2). Firms, whether large or small, may also rely on continuing legal education in professional ethics. In any event, the ethical atmosphere of a firm can influence the conduct of all its members and the partners may not assume that all attorneys associated with the firm will inevitably conform to the Rules.
[4] Section (c) of this Rule expresses a general principle of personal responsibility for acts of another. See also Rule 19-308.4 (a) (8.4).
[5] Subsection (c)(2) of this Rule defines the duty of a partner or other attorney having comparable managerial authority in a law firm, as well as an attorney who has direct supervisory authority over performance of specific legal work by another attorney. Whether an attorney has supervisory authority in particular circumstances is a question of fact. Partners and attorneys with comparable authority have at least indirect responsibility for all work being done by the firm, while a partner or manager in charge of a particular matter ordinarily also has supervisory responsibility for the work of other firm attorneys engaged in the matter. Appropriate remedial action by a partner or managing attorney would depend on the immediacy of that attorney's involvement and the seriousness of the misconduct. A supervisor is required to intervene to prevent avoidable consequences of misconduct if the supervisor knows that the misconduct occurred. Thus, if a supervising attorney knows that a subordinate misrepresented a matter to an opposing party in negotiation, the supervisor as well as the subordinate has a duty to correct the resulting misapprehension.
[6] Professional misconduct by an attorney under supervision could reveal a violation of section (b) of this Rule on the part of the supervisory attorney even though it does not entail a violation of section (c) of this Rule because there was no direction, ratification or knowledge of the violation.
[7] Apart from this Rule and Rule 19-308.4 (a) (8.4), an attorney does not have disciplinary liability for the conduct of a partner, associate or subordinate. Whether an attorney may be liable civilly or criminally for another attorney's conduct is a question of law beyond the scope of these Rules.
[8] The duties imposed by this Rule on managing and supervising attorneys do not alter the personal duty of each attorney in a firm to abide by the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct. See Rule 19-305.2 (a) (5.2).
Model Rules Comparison: Rule 19-305.1 (5.1) is substantially similar to the language of the Ethics 2000 Amendments to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

Credits

[Adopted June 6, 2016, eff. July 1, 2016.]
MD R Attorneys, Rule 19-305.1, MD R ATTORNEYS Rule 19-305.1
Current with amendments received through July 15, 2020.
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