Proposed Amendments to NC Rules of Professional Responsibility
June 14, 2021
There have been proposed amendments to the Rules of Professional Responsibility and the Preamble.
The proposed amendment adds a paragraph to the Preamble on equal treatment of all persons encountered when acting in a professional capacity.
Rule 0.1, Preamble: A Lawyer’s Responsibilities
 The North Carolina Constitution requires that “right and justice shall be administered without favor, denial, or delay.” Public confidence in the justice system is strengthened when all participants are treated equally, fairly, honestly, and respectfully within the system. A lawyer, as a representative of and crucial contributor to the justice system, should foster public confidence in the administration of justice by treating all persons the lawyer encounters in a professional capacity equally, courteously, respectfully, and with dignity regardless of a person’s race, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or socioeconomic status.[subsequent sections renumbered]
Proposed Amendment to the Comment to Rule 1.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct
The proposed amendment states that competency includes awareness of implicit bias and cultural differences relative to a client that might impact the lawyer’s representation of the client.
Rule 1.1, Competence
A lawyer shall not handle a legal matter that the lawyer knows or should know he or she is not competent to handle without associating with a lawyer who is competent to handle the matter. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.
 Competency includes a lawyer’s awareness of implicit bias and cultural differences relative to a client or anyone involved in a client’s matter that might affect the lawyer’s representation of the client. This is to ensure understanding of the client’s needs, effective communication with the client and others, and adequate representation of the client.