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Rules of Professional Conduct

Rule 8.1: Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters

 An applicant for admission to the Bar, or a lawyer in connection with a Bar admission application or in connection with a disciplinary matter, shall not:

   (a) Knowingly make a false statement of fact; or
   (b) Fail to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension known by the lawyer or applicant to have arisen in the matter, or knowingly fail to respond reasonably to a lawful demand for information from an admissions or disciplinary authority, except that this rule does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected by Rule 1.6.


   [1] The duty imposed by this rule extends to persons seeking admission to the Bar as well as to lawyers. Hence, if a person knowingly makes a false statement of fact in connection with an application for admission, it may be the basis for subsequent disciplinary action if the person is admitted, and in any event may be relevant in a subsequent admission application. Lack of materiality does not excuse a knowingly false statement of fact. The duty imposed by this rule applies to a lawyer’s own admission or discipline as well as that of others. Thus, it is a separate professional offense for a lawyer knowingly to make a misrepresentation or omission in connection with a disciplinary investigation of the lawyer’s own conduct. Paragraph (b) of this rule also requires correction of any prior factual misstatement in the matter that the lawyer or applicant may have made, including affirmative clarification of any factual misunderstanding on the part of the admissions or disciplinary authority of which the person involved becomes aware.

   [2] This rule is subject to the provisions of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and corresponding provisions of state constitutions. A person relying on such a provision in response to a question, however, should do so openly and not use the right of nondisclosure as a justification for failure to comply with this rule.
   [3] A lawyer representing an applicant for admission to the Bar, or representing a lawyer who is the subject of a disciplinary inquiry or proceeding, is governed by the Rules applicable to the client-lawyer relationship. For example, Rule 1.6 may prohibit disclosures, which would otherwise be required, by a lawyer serving in such representative capacity. Information that is a client confidence or secret under Rule 1.6 is “protected by Rule 1.6” within the meaning of Rule 8.1(b), even if a permissive disclosure option applies. Rule 1.6(c), (d), and (e) describe circumstances in which a lawyer may reveal information otherwise protected by 1.6. In such circumstances, a lawyer acting in a representative capacity may, but is not required to, make disclosures otherwise required by this rule. This rule refers to demands for information from an admissions or disciplinary authority. If a lawyer appears in an adjudicative proceeding regarding admission or bar discipline as a witness or client representative, the lawyer’s conduct is governed by Rule 3.3.