The court reverses an order entered under RPC 3.7 barring a lawyer and every lawyer in his firm, save one, from representing themselves at deposition and trial in defense of a malpractice action brought against them by a former client. The court follows established federal authority in this circuit holding RPC 3.7 is a rule addressed only to a lawyer acting as an advocate at trial. Thus there is no ethical prohibition against a lawyer acting as an advocate in a deposition in a case in which the lawyer is likely to be a necessary witness at trial.
The court further holds that RPC 3.7 does not apply to a lawyer who is a party in the case. As lawyers have the same rights as other individuals appearing in our courts, they may appear in their own behalf at trial even if likely to be a necessary witness. Law firms, likewise, are to be treated as other entities, and thus must appear through counsel to the same extent. RPC 3.7 is fully applicable to lawyers appearing on the firm's behalf, even if the lawyer is employed by the firm. Imputed disqualification is limited as set forth in RPC 3.7.