If any Maine lawyer or prosecutor violates any of the Rules of Conduct below
it’s time to FILE A COMPLAINT against them
Rule 1.1 Competence
A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.
Rule 1.3 Diligence
A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.
 A lawyer should pursue a matter on behalf of a client despite
opposition, obstruction or personal inconvenience to the lawyer, and take whatever
lawful and ethical measures are required to vindicate a client’s cause or endeavor.
A lawyer must also act with commitment and dedication to the interests of the
client. A lawyer is not bound, however, to press for every advantage that might be
realized for a client. For example, a lawyer may have authority to exercise
professional discretion in determining the means by which a matter should be
pursued. See Rule 1.2. The lawyer’s duty to act with reasonable diligence does
not require the use of offensive tactics or preclude the treating of all persons
involved in the legal process with courtesy and respect.
Rule 3.1 Meritorious Claims and Contentions
(a) A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a non-frivolous basis in law and fact for doing so, which includes a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law. A lawyer for the defendant in a criminal proceeding, or the respondent in a proceeding that could result in incarceration, may nevertheless so defend the proceeding as to require that every element of the case be established.
Rule 3.4 Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel
A lawyer shall not:
(c) knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists.
Rule 4.1 COMMUNICATION
A lawyer shall:
(1) promptly inform the client of any decision or circumstance with
respect to which the client’s informed consent, as defined in Rule
1.0(e), is required by these Rules;
(2) reasonably consult with the client about the means by which the
client’s objectives are to be accomplished;
(3) keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter;
(4) promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; and
(5) consult with the client about any relevant limitations set forth in
the Maine Rules of Professional Conduct, or other law with respect
to lawyers’ conduct, when the lawyer knows that the client expects
assistance not permitted by the Maine Rules of Professional
Conduct or other law.
(b) A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to
permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the
(b) requires that a lawyer explain a matter to a client sufficiently so
as to enable the client to make an informed decision. This includes advising a
client as to any adverse consequences of decisions, and any potential alternative
decisions. See Rule 2.1 addressing the role of lawyer as advisor.
 Reasonable communication between the lawyer and the client is
necessary for the client effectively to participate in the representation.
Communicating with Client
 If these Rules require that a particular decision about the
representation be made by the client, paragraph (a)(1) requires that the lawyer
promptly consult with and secure the client’s consent prior to taking action unless
prior discussions with the client have resolved what action the client wants the
lawyer to take. For example, a lawyer who receives from opposing counsel an
offer of settlement in a civil controversy or a proffered plea bargain in a criminal
case must promptly inform the client of its substance unless the client has
previously indicated that the proposal will be acceptable or unacceptable or has
authorized the lawyer to accept or to reject the offer. See Rule 1.2(a).
(a) Subject to paragraphs (c) and (d), a lawyer shall abide by a client’s
decisions concerning the objectives of representation and, as required by
Rule 1.4, shall consult with the client as to the means by which they are
to be pursued. A lawyer may take such action on behalf of the client as is
impliedly authorized to carry out the representation. Subject to the Rules
with respect to Declining or Terminating Representation (Rule 1.16), a
lawyer shall abide by a client’s decision whether to settle a matter. In a
criminal case, the lawyer shall abide by the client’s decision, after
consultation with the lawyer, as to a plea to be entered, whether to waive
jury trial and whether the client will testify.
Rule 2.1 ADVISOR
In representing a client, a lawyer shall exercise independent professional
judgment and render candid advice. In rendering advice, a lawyer may refer not
only to law but to other considerations such as moral, economic, social, emotional
and political factors, that may be relevant to the client’s situation.
In general, a lawyer is not expected to give advice until asked by the
client. However, when a lawyer knows that a client proposes a course of action that
is likely to result in substantial adverse legal consequences to the client, the
lawyer’s duty to the client under Rule 1.4 may require that the lawyer offer advice
if the client’s course of action is related to the representation. Similarly, when a
matter is likely to involve litigation, it may be necessary under Rule 1.4 to inform
the client of forms of dispute resolution that might constitute reasonable
alternatives to litigation. A lawyer ordinarily has no duty to initiate investigation of
a client’s affairs or to give advice that the client has indicated is unwanted, but a
lawyer may initiate advice to a client when doing so appears to be in the client’s
Rule 3.3 CANDOR TOWARD THE TRIBUNAL
A lawyer shall not knowingly:
(1) make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or fail to correct
a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the
tribunal by the lawyer;
(2) misquote to a tribunal the language of a book, statute, ordinance,
rule or decision or, with knowledge of its invalidity and without
disclosing such knowledge, cite as authority, a decision that has
been overruled or a statute, ordinance or rule that has been
repealed or declared unconstitutional;
(3) offer evidence that is false. If a lawyer, the lawyer’s client, or a
witness called by the lawyer, has offered material evidence and the
lawyer comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take
reasonable remedial measures, including, if necessary, disclosure
to the tribunal. A lawyer may refuse to offer evidence that the
lawyer reasonably believes is false, except a lawyer in a criminal
matter may not refuse to offer the testimony of a defendant, unless
the lawyer knows from the defendant that such testimony is false.
Lawyers have a special obligation to protect a tribunal against
criminal or fraudulent conduct that undermines the integrity of the adjudicative
process, such as bribing, intimidating or otherwise unlawfully communicating with
a witness, juror, court official or other participant in the proceeding, unlawfully
destroying or concealing documents or other evidence or failing to disclose
information to the tribunal when required by law to do so. Thus, paragraph (b)
162requires a lawyer to take reasonable remedial measures, including disclosure if
necessary, whenever the lawyer knows that a person, including the lawyer’s client,
intends to engage, is engaging or has engaged in criminal or fraudulent conduct
related to the proceeding.
Rule 3.4 FAIRNESS TO OPPOSING PARTY AND COUNSEL
A lawyer shall not:
(a) unlawfully obstruct another party’s access to evidence or unlawfully
alter, destroy or conceal a document or other material having potential
evidentiary value. A lawyer shall not counsel or assist another person to
do any such act;
(b) falsify evidence, counsel or assist a witness to testify falsely, or offer
an inducement to a witness that is prohibited by law;
(c)knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal except
for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists;
(e) in trial, allude to any matter that the lawyer does not reasonably
believe is relevant or that will not be supported by admissible evidence,
assert personal knowledge of facts in issue except when testifying as a
witness, or state a personal opinion as to the justness of a cause, the
credibility of a witness, the culpability of a civil litigant or the guilt or
innocence of an accused; or
(f) request a person other than a client to refrain from voluntarily giving
relevant information to another party unless:
(1) the person is a relative or an employee or other agent of a client;
(2) the lawyer reasonably believes that the person’s interests will not
be adversely affected by refraining from giving such information.
The procedure of the adversary system contemplates that the evidence
in a case is to be marshaled competitively by the contending parties. Fair
competition in the adversary system is secured by prohibitions against destruction
or concealment of evidence, improperly influencing witnesses, obstructive tactics
in discovery procedure, and the like.
Documents and other items of evidence are often essential to establish
a claim or defense. Subject to evidentiary privileges, the right of an opposing party,
including the government, to obtain evidence through discovery or subpoena is an
important procedural right. The exercise of that right can be frustrated if relevant
material is altered, concealed or destroyed. Applicable law in many jurisdictions
makes it an offense to destroy material for purpose of impairing its availability in a
pending proceeding or one whose commencement can be foreseen. Falsifying
evidence is also generally a criminal offense. Paragraph (a) applies to evidentiary
material generally, including data stored electronically. Applicable law may permit
a lawyer to take temporary possession of physical evidence of client crimes for the
166purpose of conducting a limited examination that will not alter or destroy material
characteristics of the evidence. In such a case, applicable law may require the
lawyer to turn the evidence over to the police or other prosecuting authority,
depending on the circumstances.
Rule 3.8 SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PROSECUTOR
The prosecutor shall:
(a) refrain from prosecuting a criminal or juvenile charge that the
prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause;
(b) make timely disclosure in a criminal or juvenile case to counsel for
the defendant, or to a defendant without counsel, of the existence of
evidence or information known to the prosecutor after diligent inquiry
and within the prosecutor’s possession or control, that tends to negate
the guilt of the accused, mitigate the degree of the offense, or reduce the
(c) refrain from conducting a civil, juvenile, or criminal case against any
person whom the prosecutor knows that the prosecutor represents or has
represented as a client;
(d) refrain from conducting a civil, juvenile, or criminal case against any
person relative to a matter in which the prosecutor knows that the
prosecutor represents or has represented a complaining witness.
A prosecutor has the responsibility of a minister of justice and not
simply that of an advocate. This responsibility carries with it specific obligations to
see that the defendant is accorded procedural justice and that guilt is decided upon
the basis of sufficient evidence. Precisely how far the prosecutor is required to go
in this direction is a matter of debate and varies in different jurisdictions. Many
jurisdictions have adopted the ABA Standards of Criminal Justice Relating to the
Prosecution Function, which in turn are the product of prolonged and careful
deliberation by lawyers experienced in both criminal prosecution and defense.
Applicable law may require other measures by the prosecutor and knowing
disregard of those obligations or a systematic abuse of prosecutorial discretion
could constitute a violation of Rule 8.4.
Rule 8.4 Misconduct
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
(a) violate or attempt to violate any provision of either the Maine Rules of Professional Conduct or the Maine Bar Rules, or knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another; [or]
(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
See the full Maine Rules of Professional Conduct HERE to find more violations.