In response to a series of corporate scandals in recent years, the American Bar Association House of Delegates yesterday adopted new lawyer conduct rules based on three proposals submitted by the ABA Task Force on Corporate Responsibility.

The first amended Rule 1.6 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct to permit a lawyer to reveal confidential client information if the client is using the lawyer’s services to commit a crime or fraud that would cause financial harm to others. The second amended Rule 1.13 to permit a lawyer representing an organizational client to report up the corporate ladder violations by corporate officers of laws or legal duties that would harm the organization. The third endorsed structural and procedural reforms to improve corporate governance.

Lawyers looking for more background on these changes should visit the Web site of the Task Force on Corporate Responsibility. It includes the task force’s complete report, as well as details on each of the recommendations: Rule 1.13, Rule 1.6(b), and corporate governance.

A companion site serves as a clearinghouse of ABA activities dealing with corporate responsibility issues, including programs, projects, articles, reports and publications.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.