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RULE 19-305.2. RESPONSIBILITIES OF A SUBORDINATE ATTORNEY (5.2)

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 19-305.2
RULE 19-305.2. RESPONSIBILITIES OF A SUBORDINATE ATTORNEY (5.2)
(a) An attorney is bound by the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct notwithstanding that the attorney acted at the direction of another person.
(b) A subordinate attorney does not violate the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct if that attorney acts in accordance with a supervisory attorney's reasonable resolution of an arguable question of professional duty.
COMMENT
[1] Although an attorney is not relieved of responsibility for a violation by the fact that the attorney acted at the direction of a supervisor, that fact may be relevant in determining whether an attorney had the knowledge required to render conduct a violation of the Rules. For example, if a subordinate filed a frivolous pleading at the direction of a supervisor, the subordinate would not be guilty of a professional violation unless the subordinate knew of the document's frivolous character.
[2] When attorneys in a supervisor-subordinate relationship encounter a matter involving professional judgment as to ethical duty, the supervisor may assume responsibility for making the judgment. Otherwise a consistent course of action or position could not be taken. If the question can reasonably be answered only one way, the duty of both attorneys is clear and they are equally responsible for fulfilling it. However, if the question is reasonably arguable, someone has to decide upon the course of action. That authority ordinarily reposes in the supervisor, and a subordinate may be guided accordingly. For example, if a question arises whether the interests of two clients conflict under Rule 19-301.7 (1.7), the supervisor's reasonable resolution of the question should protect the subordinate professionally if the resolution is subsequently challenged.
Model Rules Comparison: Given that the Ethics 2000 Amendments to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct made no changes to this Rule, Rule 19-305.2 (5.2) has not been amended and remains substantially similar to Model Rule 5.2.

Credits

[Adopted June 6, 2016, eff. July 1, 2016.]
MD R Attorneys, Rule 19-305.2, MD R ATTORNEYS Rule 19-305.2
Current with amendments received through July 15, 2020.
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