Earlier this week, the Vermont Supreme Court approved several amendments to the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct. The Court’s order is here. Last spring, I recorded this video in which I summarized the proposed amendments. The new rules go into effect on November 14. Here’s a recap:
Rule 1.2 – Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client & Lawyer
Paragraph (c) has been amended to require a lawyer who assists a person to prepare documents that the lawyer knows the person will file in court to comply with any court rules that might require a seemingly self-represented litigant to disclose having received legal assistance. For example, Second Circuit Local Rule 32.2.
Comment  was added. Among other things, it makes clear that civility to others is not inconsistent with a lawyer’s duty to their client.
Comment  was amended to reflect changes to Vermont’s cannabis laws.
Rule 1.6 – Confidentiality
The rule prohibits the disclosure of information relating to the representation of a client.
New paragraph (c)(3) creates an exception to secure guidance from bar counsel.
New paragraph (c)(5) creates a limited exception to detect conflicts of interest when changing jobs.
New paragraph (d) creates an affirmative duty to make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of or unauthorized access to client information.
Rule 1.15A – Trust Accounting System
Only lawyers who are admitted to practice law in Vermont and people who work under their direct supervision can sign trust account checks or initiate transfers or disbursements from the trust account.
Trust account checks must be made to a named payee and cannot be made to “cash.”
Rule 4.4 – Respect for Rights of Third Persons
The duty to notify the sender upon receiving information that the lawyer knows or should know was inadvertently sent has been expanded to “information” from “document.”
Rule 5.3 – Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyers Assistants
Comments were added to clarify the scope of a lawyer’s duties to ensure that nonlawyer assistants act in a way that is compatible with the lawyer’s professional obligations.
Rule 5.5 – Unauthorized Practice of Law
Comment  was added to clarify that lawyers who are not admitted to practice law in Vermont do not necessarily engage in the unauthorized practice of law by working remotely from Vermont.
Rule 8.3 – Reporting Professional Misconduct
Comment  was amended to clarify that an inquiry of bar counsel does not satisfy the duty to report to another lawyer’s misconduct.
Rule 8.4 – Misconduct
Paragraph (b) prohibits lawyers from engaging in conduct that involves a “serious crime.” The amendment broadens the definition of “serious crime.”