Attorney Ethics Rules to Include Gender Identity & Gender Expression Protection

Author: Folawn Alterman & Richardson LLP
Published: Friday 20th February 2015
Summary: Oregon first state to adopt specific ethics rule for attorneys recognizing gender identity and gender expression.


On February 19, 2015 the Oregon Supreme Court signed an order amending the Rules of Professional Conduct that apply to all attorneys practicing in Oregon.

The amendment to the rule now states that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to intimidate or harass a person because of that person's race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status or disability.

Oregon is the first state in the country to adopt a specific ethics rule for attorneys recognizing gender identity and gender expression as classifications.

Work on the amendment to the rule began in 2011 with Bonnie Richardson representing the taskforce in response to a request for a rule change from the Oregon Women Lawyers Association.

A special taskforce and committee were formed to study the proposed rule change.

Both the Oregon Board of Governors and the Oregon House of Delegates (the two governing bodies for Oregon attorneys) voted to adopt the rule change.

The Oregon Supreme Court considered the final proposed change at its public meeting on February 10, 2015 and the Court voted unanimously to approve the amendment.

The amended rule takes effect immediately.


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