Last month we began our exploration of NYRPC 8.4(h), which prohibits a lawyer from “engag[ing] in any other conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness as a lawyer.”
We discussed the origins of this vague provision, which we call the “Catch-all Rule,” in the old Canons of Professional Ethics and the Code of Professional Responsibility, and how the ABA dropped the Catch-all Rule from the Model Rules while New York has retained it.
We also discussed the contrasting approaches taken by the U.S. Supreme Court in Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, 501 U.S. 1030 (1991) (“Gentile”) and the New York Court of Appeals in In re Holtzman, 78 N.Y.2d 184 (1991) (“Holtzman”) to the Due Process issues raised by vague disciplinary rules such as the Catch-all Rule. In this issue, we examine an important later New York decision applying the Catch-all Rule, and discuss whether it is time for New York to abandon this vague, outdated provision.
Read the full article at the New York Legal Ethics Reporter website, here.