Legal Ethics

We all want to reduce our risk for legal malpractice.

Here you can find our thoughts on attorney-client privilege, existing client communication and your duties with potential clients.

We also discuss your emerging responsibilities in regards to online privacy and security.

Need more ideas? Join other innovative lawyers in the Lawyerist LAB.

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Lawyer Threatens Stupid Lawsuit Over Stupid Rule Interpretation for Stupid Entry in Stupid Contest

"Lawyer threatens lawsuit over American Bar Association’s censorship of malpractice-themed Peeps® diorama."

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The Internet: a Primer for Lawyers and Everyone Else

"If you don't have a basic understanding of the technology you entrust with your clients' information … I think you probably are not competent to represent anyone."

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Trust Accounting Basics

Proper trust accounting is vital to keeping attorneys out of ethics trouble. Learn the rules and know where to turn with questions.

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Can Depressed Lawyers Escape Discipline by Invoking the ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects people with disabilities — including mental illness — from discrimination. So can a lawyer with a disability invoke the ADA when ethics regulators impose discipline for behavior that stems directly from the disability?

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My Client Will Die

A trial attorney struggles to prepare to mediate a medical malpractice case knowing that, no matter what he does, he won't change the outcome: his client will die.

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It’s Time for Lawyers to Re-Think the Cloud

If you don’t use appropriate technology, you are doing your clients and your ethical obligations just as much a disservice as if you use inappropriate technology. Sometimes, the cloud is the right tool for the job, and sometimes it isn’t.

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This Post is Privileged and Confidential

Email disclaimers should be sparingly used, appear at the beginning rather than the end of the email, and state that information in the email is confidential or privileged only when it really is.

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A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Trip to Rock Bottom and Back

There are two primary outcomes in a desperate struggle with addiction. The first is to keep going until you die. The second is to get caught.

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Find Out How Much You Are Overbilling Your Clients

Waiting until the end of the month to record your time means adding 23% to the bill. Start billing in real time before your clients (or ethics boards) find this article and start asking questions.

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Sample Document-Destruction Policy

Voluminous paper and electronic files are not just a hassle to store and manage, but keeping files beyond your ethical obligation to do so can actually be troublesome.

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Ambulance Chasing in the 21st Century

An Ohio personal injury law firm tried soliciting auto accident victims by text message to try to gain an advantage. Is solicitation by drones next?

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Why the Goat Lawyer Had a “Suberb” Avvo Rating

Last week, Bitter Lawyer’s Greg Luce committed “Avvocide” by sabotaging his own Avvo profile. He put more work into his fake profile than he ever put into his real one, and he was rewarded with a boost in his Avvo Rating, to 9.2 (“Superb”). Avvo, if you don’t get out much, hosts profiles for every […]

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Luddite Lawyers Are Ethical Violations Waiting To Happen

Technological incompetence used to be merely a competitive disadvantage. Now, it is a potential ethics violation — or even legal malpractice. During my first year of law school, we were not allowed to do computerized research. Instead, we were taught to use the leather-bound reporters, Shepherds, and treatises. It was only during our second year […]

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Recognizing, Owning, and Fixing Your Mistakes

Now is not the time to panic. Now is time to figure out what to do next. You should not grovel, and you should not shift the blame. By acknowledging your mistakes and taking swift action, you can preserve your superior’s confidence in your abilities.

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What You Need to Know In Order to Sell a Law Practice

In the vast majority of states, lawyers may ethically buy and sell a law practice. Here's what you need to know while negotiating a sale, drafting the deal, and notifying clients.