Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealToday, I share some news from the Arizona Supreme Court on a topic that should catch lawyers’ attention: possible changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct. Here’s the Court:

A process that began six months ago has resulted in the submission of a petition to amend several Supreme Court Rules governing the practice of law in Arizona. The proposed changes are posted online for public comment.

In June 2014, the Supreme Court established the 13-member Committee on the Review of Supreme Court Rules Governing Professional Conduct and the Practice of Law, which was chaired by Justice Ann A. Scott Timmer. The proposed changes are the result of a series of public meetings, which included input from a variety of stakeholder groups and the State Bar of Arizona.

Changes in the practice of law, the emergence of global law firms, the evolution of technology and other factors affecting the modernized law office led the Committee to recommend rule changes. In some cases, the rules petition adds clarifying language while maintaining the text and intent of the rules.

Some of the recommendations include rules:

  • Allowing flexibility for new forms of legal teams, for example, allowing teams of lawyers from different firms to share responsibility and fees, while still ensuring adequate protections for the public;
  • Proposing language governing the admission of lawyers who relocate to Arizona due to a military spouse’s service commitment;
  • Providing guidance on safeguarding the storage, transmission, and security of client data in the modern digital law practice.

The Committee also submitted a report to the Supreme Court describing proposals the Committee had considered but rejected. For example, the Committee recommended that the Court not admit on motion lawyers from jurisdictions that do not have reciprocal admission rules for Arizona lawyers.

To view or comment on the proposed rule changes, go to the Arizona Supreme Court Rules Forum here. Comments are due on or before May 20, 2015. The earliest that the Supreme Court could take action on the proposed changes is August 2015.

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