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RULE 19-303.1. MERITORIOUS CLAIMS AND CONTENTIONS (3.1)

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
Advocate [Rules 19-303.1 to 19-303.9]
MD Rules Attorneys, Rule 19-303.1
RULE 19-303.1. MERITORIOUS CLAIMS AND CONTENTIONS (3.1)
An attorney shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis for doing so that is not frivolous, which includes, for example, a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law. An attorney may nevertheless so defend the proceeding as to require that every element of the moving party's case be established.
COMMENT
[1] The advocate has a duty to use legal procedure for the fullest benefit of the client's cause, but also a duty not to abuse legal procedure. The law, both procedural and substantive, establishes the limits within which an advocate may proceed. However, the law is not always clear and never is static. Accordingly, in determining the proper scope of advocacy, account must be taken of the law's ambiguities and potential for change.
[2] The filing of an action or defense or similar action taken for a client is not frivolous merely because the facts have not first been fully substantiated or because the attorney expects to develop vital evidence only by discovery. What is required of attorneys, however, is that they inform themselves about the facts of their clients' cases and the applicable law and determine that they can make good faith arguments in support of their clients' positions. Such action is not frivolous even though the attorney believes that the client's position ultimately will not prevail. The action is frivolous, however, if the attorney is unable either to make a good faith argument on the merits of the action taken or to support the action taken by a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.
[3] The attorney's obligations under this Rule are subordinate to federal or state constitutional law that entitles a defendant in a criminal matter to the assistance of an attorney in presenting a claim that otherwise would be prohibited by this Rule.
Model Rules Comparison: This Rule substantially retains Maryland language as it existed prior to the Ethics 2000 Amendments to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct except for: (1) adding “for example” to the text of the Rule; and (2) incorporating ABA changes to Comments [2] and [3].

Credits

[Adopted June 6, 2016, eff. July 1, 2016.]
MD R Attorneys, Rule 19-303.1, MD R ATTORNEYS Rule 19-303.1
Current with amendments received through December 15, 2019.
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