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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You’ll Never Believe How Many Lawyers Are Psychopaths

It seems like nearly every day there’s a steady drip drip drip of lawyer-related stories telling us how terrible we are. Yesterday, we learned that we basically suck at having emotions or understanding that other people have emotions, a failing that can lead to increased malpractice claims, so that’s fun. Today, we find out that we […]

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Lawyers’ Low Emotional Intelligence Might Increase Malpractice Liability

Lawyers test at low emotional intelligence compared to the general population and other professions. They are particularly low in a critical component of emotional intelligence: emotional perception, or awareness of their own and others’ emotions. This could be a problem. Ronda Muir reports that in the medical world, lower emotional intelligence (EQ) tends to increase […]

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Client Confidentiality in the Digital Age

The pathways for breaching client confidentiality — whether due to simple carelessness or inadequate security — continue to multiply as technology advances.

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4 Ways You Are Putting Your Clients’ Information at Risk

A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client. (Rule 1.6(c).) So what are reasonable efforts when it comes to your clients’ information stored on your computer? You have to make an effort, obviously. But how much effort […]

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Be Careful What You Reveal About Clients on Your Website

Be very careful about the information you share on your website. Even if you think it's not enough information for someone to put a name to your client, you might be surprised. And if you are, you might wind up talking to an ethics investigator.

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70% of Lawyers Don’t Know What the Internet Is

Every year at ABA TECHSHOW, we get the results of the ABA’s annual technology survey. This year we learned that only 30% of lawyers say they use a web-based service.

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The Difference Between Confidentiality and the Attorney-Client Privilege

Attorneys often confuse the ethical concept of the duty of confidentiality and the evidence concept of the attorney-client privilege. Let’s clear up some of that fuzziness.

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In 13 States, You Can’t Be a Luddite Anymore

The comment to Rule 1.1 spreads awareness, if nothing else, that being incompetent when it comes to technology is no excuse when your clients are harmed.

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5 Questions to Ask Before Taking a Deposition

Before you file your next deposition notice, ask yourself if the deposition is really necessary. If the answer is no and you take the deposition anyway, you are wasting time, driving up litigation costs, and perhaps even damaging your case.

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Do NOT Let Your Client Write Your Petition for a Writ of Certiorari

"Shipley basically let his client write his brief, and the thing turned into an utter shitshow. Witness the nightmare hellscape that is the question presented in this case …"

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Podcast #8: Aaron Hall’s Client-Satisfaction Guarantee

Sam and Aaron talk with Jeena Cho about why jerky law students become jerky lawyers, and then Aaron Hall explains why and how he is giving some clients a satisfaction guarantee.

This Email is Not Authentic

Nothing says "clueless Luddite" like a pointless email disclaimer.

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Lawyers Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Carry Cell Phones

While I'm sure each of these lawyers carefully scanned the dimly-lit audience for adverse parties and known gossips, it still seems like a bad idea.

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Podcast #5: Brian Tannebaum’s Brutal Truths About Lawyers and Lawyering

Morning pages, robot lawbreakers, and an interview with Brian Tannebaum, the eminent law blogger who just published The Practice: Brutal Truths About Lawyers and Lawyering.

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Go Tell The California Bar What You Think About Blogging Right Now

If you are a California attorney with even the remotest bit of blogging savvy, it may be time for you to respond to this Request for Comment from the the State Bar of California. We already know that most legal marketing ethics rules are a hot over-regulated mess. California’s State Bar wrote a far-too-many-words position paper with […]