Every NJ attorney is compelled to be responsible to maintain the integrity of the legal profession. Every lawyer is bound by a set of legal ethics and they must adhere to them in order to protect the integrity of the profession. Many people have often asked what an attorney should do if they are aware of unethical actions committed on the part of another attorney or legal professional. Are they bound by the law to report these types of actions, or are they exempt? Whenever an attorney becomes aware of unethical actions committed by another legal professional they are required to report the professional misconduct to the ethics committee in New Jersey. Every NJ attorney is required to follow the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) including Rule 8.3 which states that a lawyer must report unethical behaviors.
The legal profession is a complex world and a NJ attorney must function in several capacities. He is not just a representative for his clients; he is also an officer of the legal system as well as a public citizen which carries the specific responsibility of protecting and preserving justice. The Rules of Professional Conduct are set into place to help a lawyer define his actions in each of these different roles. The lawyer must function as a representative for clientele but also must remember that they are an officer serving the legal system. As an acting public citizen, the lawyer is constantly seeking to improve the law and administer justice while continuing to provide quality service which is required of the legal profession. The Rules of Professional Conduct were developed in order to help define the legal responsibilities of the attorney and to create a consistent code of legal ethics.