Ohio Rules of Proessional Conduct

Introduction

Howard RichshaferA. The legal profession is self-governing. The Ohio Constitution authorizes the Ohio Supreme Court to regulate lawyers and the legal profession.

B. The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct (hereafter the “Rule” or “Rules”) prescribes rules for a lawyer’s conduct. Failure to comply with them is a basis for invoking the disciplinary process. The Rules are designed to provide guidance to lawyers and to provide a structure for regulating their conduct through disciplinary process. Rule violations can provide a basis for suspending a lawyer’s license to practice law.

C. Ohio’s Rules contains four parts: (1) the Rule’s text, (2) the official Comments, (3) a comparison of the Ohio rule to the former Ohio Code of Professional Responsibility, and (4) a comparison to the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

D. The Ohio Supreme Court adopted new Rules effective February 1, 2007. The Court also adopted certain amendments to the Rules effective April 1, 2009.

E. Part V of the Rules concerns law firms and associations. Part V addresses responsibilities of partners and supervisory lawyers. And, in particular, Part V addresses the responsibilities of lawyers concerning nonlawyer assistants, such as paraprofessionals, paralegals, investigators, secretaries, and law student interns.

F. This outline addresses those Rules governing a lawyer’s conduct and duties concerning nonlawyer assistants such as paraprofessionals and other nonlawyer assistants.

G. Those Rules clearly provide that nonlawyer assistants, such as paraprofessionals, are not subject to discipline under Ohio’s Rules.1

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    Howard L. Richshafer

    Howard Richshafer joined Wood + Lamping in 2008, and his practice is focused on civil and criminal tax problems, estate planning and probate, tax court trial work, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate business matters. Howard is also a licensed Ohio CPA. Over the past 40 years, Howard has represented clients experiencing all types of civil and criminal tax problems with IRS. Those problems include IRS audits, IRS criminal investigations, enforced collection of unpaid tax liabilities involving levies, liens, and seizures of assets and income.

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