Information about a lawyer's or judge's misconduct or fitness may be received by a lawyer in the course of that lawyer's participation in an approved lawyers or judges assistance program. In that circumstance, providing for the confidentiality of such information encourages lawyers and judges to seek treatment through such a program. Conversely, without such confidentiality, lawyers and judges may hesitate to seek assistance from these programs, which may then result in additional harm to their professional careers and additional injury to the welfare of clients and the public. The Rule therefore provides that a lawyer may not report pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (b) information that would be protected by ER 1.6
if the relationship between the impaired lawyer or judge and the recipient of the information were that of a client and a lawyer.
Information about a lawyer's or judge's misconduct or fitness may be gained by a lawyer participating in an approved lawyers' assistance program. For purposes of this rule, lawyers ‘participating‘ shall mean lawyers seeking assistance, program staff and volunteers, including members of MAC, as well as any other Arizona lawyer whose assistance is requested or approved by the MAP Director or MAC Chair(s) or Vice Chair(s). Treating information gained in this context as confidential encourages lawyers to seek the diverse services provided by such programs. It also ensures that lawyers assisting or providing services to the program as staff or volunteers are not subject to discipline for failure to disclose information that would otherwise be subject to reporting under paragraphs (a) and (b) of the rule. Without confidentiality, lawyers may hesitate to utilize program services, which may result in additional harm to clients, the public, or themselves, and may discourage lawyers from providing assistance and services offered by the program.
The duty to report misconduct of a legal paraprofessional that raises a substantial question as to that individual's compliance with their code of conduct as set forth in ACJA § 7-210 does not apply to a lawyer who is retained to represent the legal paraprofessional. Similarly, the duty to report misconduct by an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) entity that raises a substantial question as to the entity's compliance with the code of conduct in ACJA § 7-209 does not apply to a lawyer retained to represent the ABS but does apply to lawyers who work in or have ownership interests in an ABS.