8 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 137 (1994-1995)
You Dirty Rat - Model Rule 8.3 and Mandatory Reporting of Attorney Misconduct

handle is hein.journals/geojlege8 and id is 147 raw text is: You Dirty Rat!!
Model Rule 8.3 and Mandatory Reporting of
Attorney Misconduct
MICHAEL J. BURWICK*
From the schoolyard tattletale to the police officer's confidential
informant to the Pentagon whistle blower, our society is deeply
ambivalent toward those who report the wrongdoing of others to authori-
ties. On one hand, society values informers. Without informers, serious
misbehavior would certainly escape correction .... On the other hand,
society scorns informers as betrayers of confidence .... The ethos of the
legal profession is not one that emphasizes the importance of uncovering
the truth at the expense of other social values. Nevertheless, the codes of
professional conduct have uniformly required lawyers to report the miscon-
duct of fellow lawyers to the appropriate disciplinary bodies.'
INTRODUCTION
What should be the role of an attorney when she discovers another
attorney's misconduct? This question has been asked time and time again by
various bar organizations, oversight boards, and committees on professional
conduct. Some state bars have made disclosure mandatory2 while others
have left the role to the discretion of their individual members.'
From the 1908 Canons of Professional Ethics (1908 Canons)4 to the 1969
Model Code of Professional Responsibility (Model Code)5 to the 1983 Model
Rules of Professional Conduct (Model Rules),6 the American Bar Association
(ABA) has been consistent in advocating the policy of encouraging lawyers
to take necessary steps to maintain the integrity of the legal profession.
Although the emphasis on monitoring from within the legal community has
* J.D. 1995, Georgetown University Law Center. The Author wishes to thank Professor Robert F.
Drinan, S.J., Maureen Carr, the Bar Officials, and the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics Staff who
assisted in the preparation of this Note.
1. Gerard E. Lynch, The LawyerAs Informer, 435 DUKE L.J. 491 (1986).
2. See, e.g., FLORIDA RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT Rule 4-8.3 (1992).
3. See, e.g., WASHINGTON RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT Rule 8.3 (1986).
4. CANONS OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS Canon 29 [hereinafter 1908 CANONS] (requiring lawyers
generally to uphold the honor and maintain the dignity of the profession).
5. See MODEL CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY EC 1-4 and DR 1-103(A) (1969) [hereinaf-
ter MODEL CODE] (urging lawyers to maintain the integrity of the profession and requiring them to
report the misconduct of other lawyers).
6. MODEL RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT Rule 8.3 (1983) [hereinafter MODEL RULES]
(requiring the reporting of misconduct).

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