Bar Rules

RULE 5.2 RESPONSIBILITIES OF A SUBORDINATE LAWYER

Ethics & Discipline / Current Rules / Part IV (After January 1 / 2001) - Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct (also includes Disciplinary Proceedings and Advisory Opinion rules) / CHAPTER 1 GEORGIA RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT AND ENFORCEMENT THEREOF

  1. A lawyer is bound by the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct notwithstanding that the lawyer acted at the direction of another person.
  2. A subordinate lawyer does not violate the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct if that lawyer acts in accordance with a supervisory lawyer's reasonable resolution of an arguable question of professional duty.

The maximum penalty for a violation of this Rule is disbarment.

Comment

[1] Although a lawyer is not relieved of responsibility for a violation by the fact that the lawyer acted at the direction of a supervisor, that fact may be relevant in determining whether a lawyer 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 lawyers 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 lawyers 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 1.7: Conflict of Interest, the supervisor's reasonable resolution of the question should protect the subordinate professionally if the resolution is subsequently challenged.



GO TO RULE 5.1 RESPONSIBILITIES OF PARTNERS, MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORY LAWYERS
GO TO RULE 5.3 RESPONSIBILITIES REGARDING NONLAWYER ASSISTANTS
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