The ethics committee of the D.C. Bar has proposed sweeping regulations that would make it harder for lawyers to move back and forth between govenment and private practice - a "revolving door" that has been much critized for giving an unfair edge to big business in its dealings with the federal government.
The rules, which still must be approved by the bar's board of governors and the D.C. Court of Appeals, would stop a lawyer from joining a firm that he dealt with while he worked in govenment.
Moreover, the regulations could - unices special waivers are granted - disqualify entire law firms from taking cases in which one firm member was imvolved while working in government.
The proposed rules, for instance, would bar a lawyer working with the Internal Revenue Service from joining a firm with which he dealt on a case in his last year of government service until he had been out of government for a year.
Further, if a lawyer in a firm is barred from taking a case because of his government service, no lawyer in that firm could handle the case unless special waivers are granted.
If approved, legal experts said the new rules would provide the most strict regulation of a practice that is becoming increasing controversial - the revolving door between government and industry.
President Carter attacked the practice during his campaign and last May introduced an "Ethics in Government" law that would curb what he called "the revolving door practice that too often permitted former officials to exploit their government contacts for private gain."
"All too often," the President continued, "officials have come into government for a short time and then left to accept a job in private industry where one of their primary responsibilities is to handle contracts with the former employer."
The bar's proposals are move far reaching than President Carter's. They would place a roadblock on the traditional path for young lawyers who gain experience working for a government agency - say the Federal Communications Commission - and then take a job with a private law firm specializing in that area.
The proposed regulations might also make an experienced lawyer hesistate before taking a U.S. post becasue of the restrictions place on his law firm.
President Carter's choice as chief attorney for the Development of Energy, Lynn R. Coleman, for example, is under congressional attack because his Houston law firm represents 20 oil and gas companies that have cases pending befire the energy agency.
Coleman said he would disqualify himself from these cases.But under the proposed D.C. Bar regulations, his firm - which includes former Treasury Secretary John Connolly -could, when he leaves government clients in cases that he did handle.
Coleman aslo could be barred from returning to his firm if he had any dealings with it while working for the government.
All lawyers who practice in Washington with the exception of those working for the federal government must belong to the D.C. Bar and are subject to its rules. The bar has 24,000 members, and about half the government attorney belong.
A similiar of rules - more strict in some provisions and less strict in others - was proposed 17 months ago in the form of an interpretation of the current code of ethics. That opinion, however, failed to carry a majority vote of the enthics committee.
The current proposal is expected to engender far less controversy than the privosions that would involved with them while working for the government.
Adding the waiver provision, considered a weakening of the June, 1976, opinion, and the ban on lawyers taking jobs with firms they dealt with while in government are the major changes in the new proposal, which was published in the current of The District Lawyer.
The proposed rules set up five requirements before a waiver from the disqualification rule can be granted. It has to be agreed to in writing by the chief lawyer handling the matter for government agency and by a judge or government official independent of the agency.
Moreover, the former government lawyer must swear not to participate in or get any money from the case; the lawyers handling the case must swear not to consilt witn the former government lawyers in their firm and must swear that the clients know that and lawyers handling the case for the government agency must swear that granting the waiver will not have against the public interest.
Under present rules, a lawyer can never take a case in his private practise in which he participated while in government service.
The new proposals add a restriction that would bar a lawyer for one year from dealing in private practics with any government regulation that he helped approve, change, interpret or apply.
All these proposed rules cover only lawyers who, while in government, dealt directly with specific cases. Lawyers who supervised attorneys handling the cases, but who did not get involved directly themselves, are not covered.
Nor are congressmen or congressional aides who leave Capitol Hill and go into private practice.
William H. Allen, chairman of the Bar's ethics committee and a partner in Covington & Burling, called for comments on the proposed regulations by Jan. 6, and said the committee hopes to submit the final draft to its board of governors by Jan. 31.