A teaser: Why would the District of Nebraska reject the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct or the Code adopted by the Nebraska Supreme Court?

Today, I have a question.  Tomorrow, I will provide my answer.

Our local rules state the following:

(b) Ethical Standards. The standards of conduct governing the members of this court’s bar follow.
(1) Rules. Attorneys must comply with this court’s rules.
(2) Conduct. Attorneys must refrain from conduct unbecoming of a member of the bar.
(A) The court declines to adopt other codes of professional responsibility or ethics.
(B) However, and in addition to any other material, the court may consult other codes of professional responsibility or ethics to determine whether a lawyer has engaged in conduct
unbecoming of a member of the bar.

NeGenR 1.7(b) (emphasis added).

Why do you think our court adopted the foregoing rule, particularly the emphasized portion?


12 responses

  1. Not withstanding the Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Uniform Code of Military Justice standard ” unbecoming an officer and a gentleman” in Parker v. Levy ……..
    (b) (2) might be a little vague. 😄😄😄

  2. With respect to 2: perhaps because the District of Nebraska chooses (properly, in my mind) to reserve to itself the definition of conduct unbecoming regarding its proceedings.

    With respect to 2A: perhaps because the District has had done with corner cases, boundary explorations, and other excuses to quibble, and so has limited the discussion strictly to its own definition.

    Further, with respect to the ABA: perhaps because the District recognizes the Model Rules as being just so much officious buffoonery.

    With respect to the Nebraska Supremes: perhaps because the District recognizes that the latter (in fashion similar with (nearly) all hierarchical bodies) need the occasional reminder that the former is bound by the latter’s rulings, not by the latter’s officiousness.

    Eric Hines

  3. Yes, if you’re trying to encourage bar members to err on the side of caution. Conduct refrained from is conduct that need not be reviewed by an already very busy judge. Vagueness here is a win-win: the attorney holds herself to higher standard than she might if given specific rules to govern her conduct, and the court conserves scarce resources.

  4. A less-is-more approach. The Nebraska District Court recognizing that its lawyers could understand how to comport themselves ethically without needing to be dictated the exact behaviors that are allowed/forbidden.

    BTW, my favorite Model Rule has always been 1.8(j): “A lawyer shall not have sexual relations with a client unless a consensual sexual relationship existed between them when the client-lawyer relationship commenced.”

    I like the idea of a lawyer saying to himself, “I want to have sex with my client, but first let’s see what the rules have to say. Damn! It says here I can’t. It’s a good thing I checked.”

  5. PDB,

    Every ethics rule ought to have a sex part. It would insure that someone might read the stupid damn things. All the best.


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