8.01 Bar Admission, Reinstatement, and Disciplinary Matters

An applicant for admission to the bar, a petitioner for reinstatement to the bar, or a lawyer in connection with a bar admission application, a petition for reinstatement, or a disciplinary matter, shall not:

(a) knowingly make a false statement of material fact; or

(b) fail to correct a misapprehension known by the person to have arisen in the matter, or knowingly fail to respond to a lawful demand for information from an admission, reinstatement, or disciplinary authority, except that this rule does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected by Rule 1.05.

Comment:

1. The duty imposed by this Rule extends to persons seeking admission or reinstatement to the bar as well as to lawyers. Hence, if a person makes a material false statement in connection with an application for admission or a petition for reinstatement, it may be the basis for subsequent disciplinary action if the person is admitted or reinstated, and in any event may be relevant in any subsequent application for admission or petition for reinstatement. The duty imposed by this Rule applies to a lawyer's own admission, reinstatement or discipline as well as that of others. Thus, for example, it is a separate professional offense for a lawyer to knowingly make a material misrepresentation or omission in connection with a disciplinary investigation of the lawyer's own conduct. Likewise, it is a separate professional offense for a lawyer to fail to respond to a lawful demand for information of a disciplinary authority inquiring into that lawyer's professional activities or conduct. Cf State Bar Rules, Art. X, sec. 7(4). This Rule also requires affirmative clarification of any misunderstanding on the part of the admissions, reinstatement or disciplinary authority of which the person involved becomes aware.

2. This Rule is subject to the provisions of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and corresponding provisions of Article 1, Section 10 of the Texas Constitution. A person relying on such a provision in response to a specific question or more general demand for information, however, should do so openly and not use the right of nondisclosure as an unasserted justification for failure to comply with this Rule. Cf State Bar Rules, Art. X, sec. 7(4).

3. A lawyer representing an applicant for admission or petitioner for reinstatement to the bar, or representing a lawyer who is the subject of a disciplinary inquiry or proceeding, is governed by the rules applicable to the client-lawyer relationship, including those concerning the confidentiality of attorney-client communications. If such communications are protected under Rule 1.05, the lawyer need not and should not disclose them under this Rule. See also Rule 8.03(c).
 

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