WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association has a long history of support for efforts to ensure fairness and eliminate bias in the administration of justice, as evidenced by, inter alia, the establishment of task forces to address gender and racial fairness in the law;
WHEREAS, the American Bar Association is considering an amendment to the Comment to Model Rule 8.4(d), adding a new paragraph 2 as follows:
A lawyer who, in the course of representing a client, knowingly manifests by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, violates paragraph (d) when such actions are prejudicial to the administration of justice. Legitimate advocacy respecting the foregoing factors does not violate paragraph (d). A trial judge's finding that peremptory challenges were exercised on a discriminatory basis does not alone establish a violation of this rule.
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility Committee has reviewed the proposed amendment, and unanimously endorses the adoption of the proposed amendment to the Comment to Rule 8.4(d) as an appropriate interim measure pending explicit incorporation of the principles against bias and discrimination expressed in said proposed amendment into the text of Rule 8.4(d) or elsewhere into the text of the Model Rules.;
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Board of Governors has similarly considered both the proposed amendment and the report of the Professional Responsibility Committee;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association endorses the amendment of the Comment to Rule 8.4(d) of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct as described above;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Association also urges that Pennsylvania’s Rules of Professional Conduct be amended similarly by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: July 22, 1998