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.

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Lawyer Videos That Push the Boundaries of Dignity and Good Taste

YouTube can be a tool to reach, engage, and attract potential clients. It is also a graveyard of videos past, archiving everything from the absurd to the ethically questionable. Comment 3 to Rule 7.2 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct points out that questions of effectiveness and taste in advertising are “matters of speculation […]


Deleting Your Website Can Come Back to Bite You in the Assets

Record-keeping requirements for electronic communications span far beyond the retention of client files and financial transactions. Not only do many state rules governing record-keeping apply to email communications and other components of the client file, but also to other electronic communications – including law firm and attorney websites.


Legal Competence in the Digital Age

The rule of competence requires a lawyer to possess the “skill” reasonably necessary for representation, and it would be a losing argument to say that any lawyer today can competently represent a client without knowing the basics of technology.


Beware of Mixing with Judges on Social Media

Connecting with judges over social media holds a breadth of educational opportunity and insight into the minds of the judiciary. In doing so, you just need to weigh the risks that are also involved.


Podcast #33: Stephen Dillard on Judges Using Social Media

Judge Dillard is one of a small group of judges who have an active presence on social media. In this episode, he talks about why he joined Twitter, what he gets out of it, and whether it is a good thing. Plus, Microsoft is releasing practice-management software. Microsoft (Sort Of?) Enters the Practice-Management Software Field […]


You Already Have an Ethical Obligation to be Technologically Competent

Sooner or later, your clients will find another lawyer if you waste their money and time on basic tasks because you aren’t proficient with your technology.


Posting Attorney-Client Communications On The Internet Is A Very Bad Idea

When you first see the headline “Lawyer Is Suspended for His Response to Internet Criticism,” it is easy to assume that a tech-hating functionary sitting in a professional responsibility office somewhere fundamentally misunderstood the internet and hung some poor lawyer out to dry. Yeah, not in this instance. After doing the run-of-the-mill sorts of things […]


States That Require a Bona Fide Office

A few state bars have issued ethics opinions explicitly affirming your right to go virtual, but more states retain the "bona fide office" rule, which says you have to have an actual physical office in order to practice in the state. Here's where all fifty states (and the District of Columbia) stand on the issue right now.


Even Smart Attorneys Fall for These Dumb Scams

At the end of the day, you need to be smart. Not every scammer follows the same Nigerian prince formula. Lawyers are specific targets for scammers. Always do your due diligence to avoid being scammed.


Legal Marketing: Now with Sprinkles

It is tough out there for all of us. We need to keep thinking of new ways to attract — and keep — clients while managing not to run afoul of the thicket of ethical rules governing lawyer advertising. Most new questions, it seems, revolve around new-fangled things like soliciting clients via text message. But down in […]


Litigation Crowdfunding and LexShares: Access to Justice or Ethical Pitfall?

Perhaps there is need and space for innovation in funding litigation, or perhaps giving parties a crowdfunded war chest is the last thing the legal profession needs.


California Says You Must Understand E-Discovery in Order to Litigate

California’s proposed ethics opinion on attorney duties in e-discovery has been finalized. The opinion is unsurprising in terms of its analysis of today’s technology and long-standing ethics rules, and it highlights that in today’s world, discovery is extremely complex and high stakes. In the Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct Formal Opinion No. 2015-193, California […]


Hercules Ceases His Labors

Last Thursday, Judge Richard G. Kopf of the United States District Court, District of Nebraska, announced he would cease blogging at “Hercules and the umpire,” the personal — and popular — blog he had maintained for over two years. Though Kopf (rightly) took heat for his weird “I’m a dirty old man so let me […]


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 […]


If You’re Going to Harass the Court On Social Media, Tell the Truth

You already know that social media use can be a confusing minefield for attorneys, and making the right decision can involve weighing a complex matrix of factors. Should you friend the opposing side’s witnesses as you are prepping for a jury trial in the hopes you get a peek at their postings? (Probably not). Should […]