Need ethics help? ISBA members can call the ISBA Ethics Infoline at 217.747.1452.
The isba-ethics email list is open to discussions about ARDC rules and procedures, cases, bar regulation, professionalism, and related topics.
What should I do if supervising attorney assigns task that may violate conduct rules?
Q. What should I do if believe my supervising attorney has given me a task that I think violates the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct?
A. Rule 5.2(a) states that “a lawyer is bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct notwithstanding that the lawyer acted at the direction of another person.” However, the comments to that rule provide some limited protection for a subordinate lawyer in certain circumstances such as when the subordinate attorney files a frivolous motion at the request of a supervising attorney or the “lawyer is acting in accordance with a supervisory lawyer’s reasonable resolution of an arguable question of professional duty.” For more information, see IRPC 5.2.
These questions are representative of calls received on the ISBA’s ethics hotline. The information provided above is meant as an educational tool to highlight potentially applicable Illinois RPC or other ethics resources that might help the lawyer answer the question posed. The information provided isn’t legal advice. Because every situation is different, often complex, and the law is constantly evolving, you shouldn’t rely upon this general information without conducting your own research.