Some question whether existing antidiscrimination laws, such as those addressing employment and discrimination, are sufficient to address the concerns that are the focus of Model Rule 8.4(g).
Our professional rules already address misconduct that is also governed by other areas of the law, such as fraud and misrepresentation. “The scope of proposed 8.4(g) is actually narrower and more limited than is the scope of other Model Rules. … For example, paragraph (c) to Rule 8.4 declares that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct ‘involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.’ Such conduct need not be related to the lawyer’s practice of law but may reflect adversely on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law or involve moral turpitude.” (ABA Report to the House of Delegates, Page 9 of Report.) There are certain important issues that affect the practice of law, and our professional rules directly address those issues, even where otherwise addressed by law. Protecting the public from discrimination, representing the public we serve, protecting lawyers from discrimination, and ensuring equal access to and advancement in our profession should be among those important issues.