New York City Bar Association – Formal Opinion 2015-5: Whether an Attorney May Threaten to File a Disciplinary Complaint Against Another Lawyer

New York City Bar Association – Formal Opinion 2015-5: Whether an Attorney May Threaten to File a Disciplinary Complaint Against Another Lawyer:

This is a thoughtful opinion on when a lawyer can ethically threaten another lawyer with disciplinary charges. Obviously, it is governed by New York law, not Illinois law.  Illinois rule 8.4(g) provides that: “It is professional misconduct  for a lawyer to present, participate in presenting, or threaten to present criminal or professional disciplinary charges to obtain an advantage in a civil matter.

My advice on this issue is never to threaten any charges against anyone. There is a risk of a claim of extortion or a violation of Rule 8.4(g). If the misconduct is really serious, a lawyer must report it to the ARDC.

Edward X. Clinton, Jr.

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