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Professionalism Commission (Continued from page 32)

work of other states in the area of profes- sionalism and evaluated the effectiveness of their policies. The Commission divided its members into eight subcom- mittees to focus on areas of concern that were identified by the Professionalism Task Force:

• Standards and Ideals of Professional- ism

• Professionalism Guidelines and Sanc- tions for Use by Judges

• Discovery Abuse • Mentoring • Update Existing Professionalism Course for New Admittees

• Development of a Professionalism Course for Lawyers Who Exhibit Unprofessional Behavior

• Defining the Unauthorized Practice of Law

• The Judge’s Role in the Bar and in the Community

The Subcommittee on Standards and

Ideals of Professionalism examined the Rules of Professional Conduct in Mary-

land, the Model Rules, and Rules in other states. The subcommittee also researched other states’ professionalism guidelines and produced recommended Standards of Professionalism. The Subcommittee on Professionalism Guidelines and Sanctions for Use by Judges determined that judges do not use existing tools effectively and do not have other necessary tools with which to sanction unprofessional behavior. To remedy the situation, the subcommittee recommended specific changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Mary- land Rules of Procedure, and the Judicial Canons. The Subcommittee on Discovery

Abuse evaluated existing methods of resolving discovery disputes and ad- dressing discovery abuse. After studying discovery problems in all jurisdictions, the subcommittee made certain recom- mendations, including the use of special masters (lawyers or retired judges) to be- come involved in the process of promptly resolving discovery disputes. The Subcommittee on Mentoring rec- ommended exposure to professionalism concerns as early as possible, beginning at the law school level. The subcommittee evaluated current mentoring programs in

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the state and noted that, while existing programs are in place, these programs are underutilized by new attorneys. The subcommittee recommended ways to increase awareness that such programs exist as well as to create opportunities for young attorneys to list their questions on professionalism and ethics and have them answered by competent attorneys. The subcommittee also recommends that mentors be teamed up with new lawyers by means of a questionnaire handed out at the required professionalism course for new admittees. The Subcommittee to Update the

Existing Professionalism Course for New Admittees evaluated the current professionalism course for new admit- tees who pass the Bar and debated the effectiveness of postponing the course until attorneys have practiced for at least one year. Although there is much to be said for allowing attorneys to gain some experience before taking the course, the subcommittee determined that the change is not workable at this time. The Subcommittee on the Develop-

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ment of a Professionalism Course for Lawyers Who Exhibit Unprofessional Behavior examined fourteen other ju- risdictions, as well as existing policies in Maryland, to determine a course of action that would work to correct the behavior of errant attorneys within the state. After identifying numerous problem areas with a comprehensive course, the subcom- mittee recommended that a counseling program for lawyers offers a more work- able solution. The Subcommittee to Define the

Unauthorized Practice of Law examined the scope of known occurrences of unau- thorized practice of law (UPL) and the generally expressed concern that some in the real estate field, banking, accountancy, and other non-legal professions may be engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. After a study of treatment of these issues in other states and consulta- tion with Bar Counsel of the Attorney Grievance Commission and attorneys from the Office of the Attorney General, the subcommittee determined that it is neither necessary nor wise to change the statutory definition of the practice of law. The subcommittee also cautioned that the profession risks the appearance of “turf protection” if aggressive enforcement is not perceived as protection of the public. The subcommittee made other specific recommendations for monitoring the unauthorized practice of law and stimu- lating increased awareness and recourse for the public, the courts and members

34 Trial Reporter Summer 2006

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