Every once in a while we see a change in a state’s ethics code that might be an indication of things to come. Earlier this year I think we saw that in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania amended the commentary to Rule 8.3 and expanded the requirement for reporting misconduct. Now it’s not enough for us to report misconduct of other lawyers, we may also have to report ourselves.
The new section, Rule 8.3 comment (8), stated that an attorney convicted of a crime must report him/herself with 20 days of conviction. The comment states that, “the term ”crime” means an offense that is punishable by imprisonment in the jurisdiction of conviction, whether or not a sentence of imprisonment is actually imposed.”
The idea of being required to self-report things that we do wrong doesn’t seem objectionable when we’re talking about crimes, but where do we draw the line? It’s going to be interesting to see if any states expand this idea.