In August 2016, the American Bar Association adopted Model Rule 8.4(g), which prohibits discrimination and harassment in a lawyer’s conduct related to the practice of law. Only one state, Vermont, has adopted this rule verbatim, but the bars of 24 states and the District of Columbia have some form of an anti-discrimination rule. Virginia does not have such a rule.
This seminar considers whether the Virginia State Bar should adopt an anti-discrimination rule, what Virginia’s Rules of Professional Conduct say about discrimination and harassment, and whether adoption of a new rule would result in disciplinary outcomes different from those under the current rules. Our discussion will include exploring lawyers’ obligations using several hypothetical situations involving discrimination, bias, or harassment.