At the State Bar’s request, the Supreme Court returned to the Bar for further consideration and revision proposed amendments and additions to the California Rules of Professional Conduct drafted by the Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct and submitted to the Court in 2012. With its order, the Clerk of the Court included recommendations to assist the Bar in its task of revising the Rules of Professional Conduct, including a request that the Bar establish a second Commission. On November 7, 2014, the Board of Trustees adopted the following charter for the second Commission. Members of the 2d Commission will carry out a comprehensive study of the California Rules of Professional Conduct and will recommend amendments in accordance with the principles adopted by the Board of Trustees.
The Commission is charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the existing California Rules of Professional Conduct and preparing a new set of proposed rules and comments for approval by the Board of Trustees and submission to the Supreme Court no later than March 31, 2017. In conducting its review of the existing Rules and developing proposed amendments to the Rules, the Commission should be guided by the following principles:
1. The Commission’s work should promote confidence in the legal profession and the administration of justice, and ensure adequate protection to the public.
2. The Commission should consider the historical purpose of the Rules of Professional Conduct in California, and ensure that the proposed rules set forth a clear and enforceable articulation of disciplinary standards, as opposed to purely aspirational objectives.
3. The Commission should begin with the current Rules and focus on revisions that (a) are necessary to address changes in law and (b) eliminate, when and if appropriate, unnecessary differences between California’s rules and the rules used by a preponderance of the states (in some cases in reliance on the American Bar Association’s Model Rules) in order to help promote a national standard with respect to professional responsibility issues whenever possible.
4. The Commission’s work should facilitate compliance with and enforcement of the Rules by eliminating ambiguities and uncertainties
5. Substantive information about the conduct governed by the rule should be included in the rule itself. Official commentary to the proposed rules should not conflict with the language of the rules, and should be used sparingly to elucidate, and not to expand upon, the rules themselves.
The proposed amendments developed by the Commission should be accompanied by a report setting forth the Commission’s rationale for retaining or changing any rule and related commentary language.