Supreme Court of Georgia Approves Amendments to the Rules and Regulations for the Organization and Government of the State Bar of Georgia
The Supreme Court of Georgia having considered the 2016-1 Motion to Amend the Rules and Regulations for the Organization and Government of the State Bar of Georgia, it is ordered that Part I – Creation and Organization, Chapter 2, Rule 1-203 (Practice By Active Members; Nonresidents); and Part IV – Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, Chapter 1, Rule 4-102 (Disciplinary Action; Levels of Discipline; Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct), Rule 1.7 – Conflict of Interest: General Rule; Rule 4.4 (Respect for Rights of Third Persons), and Rule 5.3 (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants); be amended effective November 2, 2016 to read as follows:
PART I CREATION AND ORGANIZATION
CHAPTER 2 MEMBERSHIP
Rule 1-203 Practice By Active Members; Nonresidents
No person shall practice law in this state unless such person is an active member of the State Bar of Georgia in good standing, except as provided below: (a) A person who is not a member of the State Bar of Georgia, but who is licensed to practice in a state or states other than Georgia, and is in good standing in all states in which such person is licensed, may be permitted to appear in the courts of this state in isolated cases in the discretion of the judge of such court; or
(b) A person who is not a member of the State Bar of Georgia, but who is licensed to practice in a state or states other than Georgia, and is in good standing in all states in which such person is licensed, may be permitted to appear in the courts of this state if such person:
(1) is enrolled in a full time graduate degree program at an accredited law school in this state; and
(2) is under the supervision of a resident attorney; and
(3) limits his or her practice to the appearance in the courts of this state to the extent necessary to carry out the responsibilities of such graduate degree program.
(c) A person who is admitted to the State Bar of Georgia as a foreign law consultant pursuant to Part E of the Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law as adopted by the Supreme Court of Georgia, www.gasupreme.us, may render legal services in the state of Georgia solely with respect to the laws of the foreign country (i.e., a country other than the United States of America, its possessions and territories) where such person is admitted to practice, to the extent provided by and in strict compliance with the provisions of Part D of the Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law, but shall not otherwise render legal services in this state.
(d) Persons who are authorized to practice law in this state are hereby authorized to practice law as sole proprietorships or as partners, shareholders, or members of:
(1) partnerships under OCGA § 14-8-1 et seq.; or
(2) limited liability partnerships under OCGA § 14-8-1 et seq.; or
(3) professional corporations under OCGA § 14-7-1 et seq.; or
(4) professional associations under OCGA § 14-10-1 et seq.; or
(5) limited liability companies under OCGA § 14-11-100 et seq.
(e) A person who is not a member of the State Bar of Georgia, but who is allowed to practice law in Georgia on a limited basis pursuant to Supreme Court of Georgia Rules Part XV, Rules 91-95, Student Practice Rule.
(f) A person who is not a member of the State Bar of Georgia, but who is allowed to practice law in Georgia on a limited basis pursuant to Supreme Court of Georgia Rules Part XVI, Rules 97-103, Law School Graduates, may provide legal services in this state to the extent allowed by said Rules.
(g) A person who is not a member of the State Bar of Georgia, but who is allowed to practice law in Georgia on a limited basis pursuant to Supreme Court of Georgia Rules Part XX, Rules 114-120, Extended Public Service Program, may provide legal services in this state to the extent allowed by said Rules.
(h) A person who is not a member of the State Bar of Georgia, but who is allowed to practice law in Georgia on a limited basis pursuant to Supreme Court of Georgia Rules Part XXI, Rule 121, Provision of Legal Services Following Determination of Major Disaster.
PART IV GEORGIA RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
GEORGIA RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT AND ENFORCEMENT THEREOF
Rule 4-102 Disciplinary Action; Levels of Discipline; Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct
RULE 1.7 CONFLICT OF INTEREST: GENERAL RULE
(a) A lawyer shall not represent or continue to represent a client if there is a significant risk that the lawyer’s own interests or the lawyer’s duties to another client, a former client, or a third person will materially and adversely affect the representation of the client, except as permitted in (b).
(b) If client informed consent is permissible a lawyer may represent a client notwithstanding a significant risk of material and adverse effect if each affected client or former client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing, to the representation after: (1) consultation with the lawyer, pursuant to Rule 1.0 (c);
(2) having received in writing reasonable and adequate information about the material risks of and reasonable available alternatives to the representation; and
(3) having been given the opportunity to consult with independent counsel.
(c) Client informed consent is not permissible if the representation: (1) is prohibited by law or these Rules;
(2) includes the assertion of a claim by one client against another client represented by the lawyer in the same or substantially related proceeding; or
(3) involves circumstances rendering it reasonably unlikely that the lawyer will be able to provide adequate representation to one or more of the affected clients.
(d) Though otherwise subject to the provisions of this Rule, a part-time prosecutor who engages in the private practice of law may represent a private client adverse to the state or other political subdivision that the lawyer represents as a part-time prosecutor, except with regard to matters for which the part-time prosecutor had or has prosecutorial authority or responsibility.
The maximum penalty for a violation of this Rule is disbarment.
Loyalty to a Client
 Loyalty and independent judgment are essential elements in the lawyer’s relationship to a client. If an impermissible conflict of interest exists before representation is undertaken the representation should be declined. The lawyer should adopt reasonable procedures, appropriate for the size and type of firm and practice, to determine in both litigation and non-litigation matters the parties and issues involved and to determine whether there are actual or potential conflicts of interest.
 Loyalty to a client is impaired when a lawyer cannot consider, recommend or carry out an appropriate course of action for the client because of the lawyer’s other competing responsibilities or interests. The conflict in effect forecloses alternatives that would otherwise be available to the client. Paragraph (a) addresses such situations. A possible conflict does not itself preclude the representation. The critical questions are the likelihood that a conflict will eventuate and, if it does, whether it will materially interfere with the lawyer’s independent professional judgment in considering alternatives or foreclose courses of action that reasonably should be pursued on behalf of the client. Consideration should be given to whether the client wishes to accommodate the other interest involved.
 If an impermissible conflict arises after representation has been undertaken, the lawyer should withdraw from the representation. See Rule 1.16. Where more than one client is involved and the lawyer withdraws because a conflict arises after representation, whether the lawyer may continue to represent any of the clients is determined by Rule 1.9. As to whether a client-lawyer relationship exists or, having once been established, is continuing, see Comment 4 to Rule 1.3 and Scope.
 As a general proposition, loyalty to a client prohibits undertaking representation directly adverse to that client without that client’s informed consent. Thus, a lawyer ordinarily may not act as advocate against a person the lawyer represents in some other matter, even if it is wholly unrelated. Paragraph (d) states an exception to that general rule. A part-time prosecutor does not automatically have a conflict of interest in representing a private client who is adverse to the state or other political subdivision (such as a city or county)...