The Model Rules of Professional Conduct are a set of ethically driven rules that attorneys need to follow, both as counsel for their client and as an officer of the court. One of the most prominent rules within these is Model Rule 8.3. This rule dictates that an attorney must report to the proper authorities when they become aware of misconduct by a judge or another lawyer. The rule is divided into several components. Rule 8.3(a) states: “A lawyer who knows of misconduct by another lawyer that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.” This component of Rule 8.3 ties into Rule 8.4, which describes lawyer misconduct. Professional misconduct, under Rule 8.4(a), includes the violation or attempted violation of any of the Model Rules, and under Rule 8.4(c) includes any conduct involving fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or dishonesty.
Further, Rule 8.3(b) states that an attorney who “knows that a judge has committed a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct that raises a substantial question as to the judge’s fitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority.” In Nevada, this authority is the Commission of Judicial Discipline. However, Rule 8.3(c) states that the rule “does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected by Rule 1.6 or information gained by a lawyer or judge while participating in an approved lawyers assistance program.” Rule 1.6 dictates the scope of confidentiality, stating that a lawyer shall not reveal information that is related to the representation of a client unless informed consent is given, or if the information falls under exceptions that may override the confidentiality rule if a lawyer reasonably believes it is necessary to reveal.