May 19, 2023

VSB Seeks Comment on Rule Prohibiting Agreements Limiting Bar Complaints

The Virginia State Bar is seeking public comment on a proposed amendment to Rule 8.4 adding a new paragraph (f). The proposed rule prohibits a lawyer from making an agreement with a client or former client limiting the client or former client’s right to file or pursue a lawyer disciplinary complaint.

Inspection and Comment
The proposed rule may be inspected below or at the office of the Virginia State Bar, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0060, between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. 
Any individual, business, or other entity may submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed opinion with Cameron M. Rountree, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than August 31, 2023. Comments may be submitted via email to [email protected].

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Proposed new Rule 8.4(f) prohibiting agreement not to file bar complaint

RULE 8.4 Misconduct
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
(a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;
(b) commit a criminal or deliberately wrongful act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice law;
(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation which reflects adversely on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law;
(d) state or imply an ability to influence improperly or upon irrelevant grounds any tribunal, legislative body, or public official; or
(e) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law; or
(f) enter into an agreement with a client or former client limiting or purporting to limit the right of the client or former client to file or pursue any complaint before a lawyer regulatory or disciplinary authority.