College of Law Faculty Scholarship

Source Publication (e.g., journal title)

Maryland Law Review

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2009


Rule 5.1 of the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct requires law firm partners to make reasonable efforts to supervise subordinate attorneys and to ensure that the firm has internal measures in place that give 'reasonable assurance' that all lawyers within the firm are complying with their ethical obligations. Despite the existence of this ethical duty, there are enough judicial decisions involving attorneys who have been fired for blowing the whistle on unethical conduct to lead one to suspect that perhaps law firm compliance measures regarding Rule 5.1 leave something to be desired. This Article discusses the role that a law firm’s ethical infrastructure - or lack thereof - may have on encouraging junior attorneys to make internal and external reports of suspected unethical conduct. It describes the results of a survey concerning law firm compliance measures and offers several proposals to encourage attorneys to make internal reports of suspected unethical conduct and to protect those attorneys who make internal and external reports of suspected unethical conduct.

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