PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY ADVISORY OFFICE
In 1994 the Department recognized the need for a program dedicated to resolving professional responsibility issues faced by Department attorneys and Assistant United States Attorneys. As a result, the Department established the Professional Responsibility Officer Program and the Professional Responsibility Advisory Board. On April 14, 1999, Attorney General Janet Reno officially established the Professional Responsibility Advisory Office (PRAO) as an independent component within the Department of Justice.
The mission of PRAO is to ensure prompt, consistent advice to Department attorneys and Assistant United States Attorneys with respect to professional responsibility issues.
The major functions of PRAO are to:
- Provide definitive advice to government attorneys and the leadership at the Department on issues relating to professional responsibility.
- Assemble and maintain the codes of ethics, including, inter alia, all relevant interpretive decisions and bar opinions of the District of Columbia and every state and territory, and other reference materials, and serve as a central repository for briefs and pleadings as cases arise.
- Provide coordination with the litigating components of the Department to defend attorneys in any disciplinary or other hearing where it is alleged that they failed to meet their ethical obligations.
- Serve as liaison with the state and federal bar associations in matters related to the implementation and interpretation of 28 U.S.C. 530B, the Ethical Standards for Attorneys for the Government Act, and any amendments and revisions to the various state ethics codes.
- Coordinate with other Department components to conduct training for Department attorneys and client agencies to provide them with the tools to make informed judgments about the circumstances that require their compliance with 28 U.S.C. 530B (the Ethical Standards for Attorneys for the Government Act) or that otherwise implicate professional responsibility concerns.
- Perform such other duties and assignments as determined from time-to-time by the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General.
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