ABA Model Rule 8.4(g) Efforts in Hawaii

Status of Action in Hawaii

No known active consideration of ABA Model Rule 8.4(g) at this time. We are actively monitoring the situation and will post updates as they become available. 


Current Rule 8.4 Misconduct
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

(a) attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;

(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;

(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;

(d) Reserved;

(e) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official; or

(f) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law; or

(g) fail to cooperate during the course of an ethics investigation or disciplinary proceeding.

Current Comment
[1] Lawyers violate Rule 8.4(a) of these Rules, and are subject to discipline, when they attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or violate the Rules through the acts of another, as when they request or instruct an agent to do so on the lawyer’s behalf. Paragraph (a), however, does not prohibit a lawyer from advising a client concerning action the client is legally entitled to take.

[2] Many kinds of illegal conduct reflect adversely on fitness to practice law, such as offenses involving fraud and the offense of willful failure to file an income tax return. This is true whether or not the illegal conduct results in a criminal conviction. However, some kinds of offense carry no such implication. Although a lawyer is personally answerable to the entire criminal law, a lawyer should be professionally answerable only for offenses that indicate lack of those characteristics relevant to law practice. Offenses involving violence, dishonesty, breach of trust, or serious interference with the administration of justice are in that category. A pattern of repeated offenses, even ones of minor significance when considered separately, can indicate indifference to legal obligation.

[3] A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) of these Rules concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning, or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law.

[4] Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer’s abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional and ethical obligations of an attorney. The same is true of abuse of positions of private trust such as trustee, executor, administrator, guardian, agent and officer, director or manager of a corporation or other organization.

[5] An attorney who is the subject of an ethics investigation or disciplinary proceeding has an ethical duty to timely cooperate with that investigation or proceeding. Examples of failure to cooperate are described in Rule 2.12A(a) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaiʻi.

[6] Unless authorized by a court, an attorney who uses the judiciary’s electronic filing or data storage system to gain access to confidential information filed in a case to which the attorney is not a party and/or an attorney of record may be subject to discipline under Rule 8.4(c) of this Rule.

(Amended September 26, 2019, effective September 26, 2019.)