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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Who Decides What in the Attorney-Client Relationship

The attorney-client relationship is one of varying degrees of collaboration, depending on how involved your client chooses to be, how sophisticated they are in legal matters, and the type of case. But no matter how sophisticated your client may be, certain decisions lie with the client and some are within the discretion of the lawyer.


Don’t Call Your Clients if They Are in Prison

Recently, people behind bars who needed to make phone calls got a piece of semi-good news: the cost of their phone calls would decrease from criminally high rates to merely obscenely high rates, thanks to the FCC. Even more recently, though, people behind bars who needed to make phone calls got a piece of super […]

“First Amendment Badass” Marc Randazza Under Fire

Marc Randazza is an outspoken, high-profile, and very polarizing First Amendment lawyer. If you know him you probably love him or hate him. Not many people fall in between. He’s done some high-profile First Amendment work, and he’s sued people for downloading porn illegally. Today, he probably earned more haters from this article by Joe Mullin in Ars […]


State Restrictions on Advertising

Thanks to the myriad types of electronic communications and social media channels now at our disposal, the venues in which lawyers can theoretically advertise has exploded. Here's where all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) are on the issue of advertising right now.


The Dos and Don’ts of Researching Judges and Juries Online

It makes sense to research potential jurors, and social media makes it easier than ever. But courts have only recently begun to issue guidance now that researching jurors and other courtroom players online is becoming an increasingly common practice. Researching judges, too, has its advantages. Some jurisdictions, like California, allow you to strike a judge once per case without establishing bias. Although there are limitations […]


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 […]