The Rules of Professional Conduct cover many different topics as they pertain to lawyers and how they handle their profession. Section 1.1 deals with the lawyer’s competency. The two sections contained under competency explain that lawyers must handle legal matters ethically; they cannot neglect a matter which has been entrusted to them in any way that constitutes gross negligence. Lawyers must be competent in their handling of legal matters in general such that they do not show evidence of patterns of neglect.
Every New Jersey attorney is required to handle all their professional legal matters according to the Rules of Professional Conduct. The RPC outlines how lawyers are to conduct themselves in an ethical manner. Following these rules of conduct can help protect clients from lawyer’s unethical practices but they are also in place to provide protection for lawyers. Rule 7.3 offers the guidelines by which lawyers should handle personal contact with their clients or prospective clients. Lawyers must be allowed to initiate contact with clients but only for obtaining employment, however, there are certain requirements which must be met. An attorney cannot accept a client if they know that the individual is trying to obtain the lawyer’s services in a way that is prohibited by RPC Rule 7.3.
The NJ attorney is bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct as they are outlined to provide protection for both the client and the legal professional. Lawyers must conduct all of their business in an ethical and honest way. Some of the rules contain wording which states either “shall” or “shall not”; while other portions use the kinder terms, “may” or “may not.” The rules which state a lawyer “may” or “may not” participate in a specific action are largely left up to the attorney’s professional and personal discretion. However, those Rules of Professional Conduct which state specifically that a lawyer “shall” or “shall not” participate in a specified action or activity can bear repercussions for the lawyer if they are not followed.