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. Legal ethics

Fixing a bad ethics opinion – Kudos to the TN BPR!

Late in 2015, the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility issued Formal Ethics Opinion 2015-F-160 addressing issues regarding retention of client files.  I wrote here about a significant problem with the part of the opinion that indicated that our RPC 1.15(b) required retention of all client files for a five-year period.  The problem, to me, was […]

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. Legal ethics

ABA Formal Opinion 473 – mostly good advice all the way around

A few months ago, I wrote a post about a frustrating Tennessee Ethics Opinion that offered guidance on lawyers’ obligations when responding to a subpoena for client information by, in part, treating a subpoena as if it were a court order. Last week, the ABA issued Formal Opinion 473, Obligations Upon Receiving a Subpoena or Other Compulsory […]

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. Legal ethics

Who are these people that ask these questions?

I like a well written, helpful ethics opinion as much as the next guy.  Probably more so, given the statistically low likelihood that anyone standing near me at a given time is also a male lawyer who commits a significant part of their practice to legal ethics and professional responsibility matters.  I think I’ve also […]

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. Legal ethics

A Texas two-step of January ethics opinions

So far this month, the Professional Ethics Committee for the State Bar of Texas has put out two ethics opinions worthy of some discussion given the issues tackled and the outcomes of each opinion. The more recent of the two, Opinion No. 653, evaluates whether a lawyer acting pro se in a matter has to […]

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. Legal ethics

Pursuing a popular cause? Crowdsourcing payment of your fees may be an option for your client.

Some time ago, I wrote a bit about how existing ethics rules make attempting to use Kickstarter to launch a law firm not a viable option.  The primary problem with using crowdsourcing to raise funds to start a law practice is the prohibition in the ethics rules on nonlawyer ownership or investment in law firms. […]

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. Legal ethics

An update regarding TN’s opinion on client files

Am pleased to report that I was given an opportunity by the fine folks with the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct to expand on my thoughts about the problem with Tennessee Formal Ethics Opinion 2015-F-160. Even if you are not a subscriber to the publication, you can read the article at this link on the Lewis […]

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. Legal ethics

TN issues formal ethics opinion on client files that’s bad in a very sneaky way.

Many moons ago at this point, I wrote a post here with some criticism about ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 471  and the various questions important to client file issues on which it punted.  Back then I also wrote about how our effort in Tennessee to get an ethics rule adopted (it would have RPC 1.19 in […]

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. Legal ethics

A duty to ask: Another of the unintended consequences of unbundling

Yesterday, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued its latest ethics opinion, Formal Opinion 472, “Communication with Person Receiving Limited-Scope Legal Services.”  On the whole, it isn’t a bad opinion.  It is well-constructed, addresses multiple topics that seem ripe for discussion, and clearly is the product of a lot of thought and […]

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. Legal ethics

2 out of 3 ain’t bad – NC releases a threesome of ethics opinions on the same day

In a lot of jurisdictions, mine included, formal ethics opinions from the governing disciplinary body are issued, if not rarely, then on a “few and far between” kind of time frame.  In North Carolina, on October 23, 2015, 3 were released in one day. Two of them provide overall good advice.  One of those two […]

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. Legal ethics

Coming to praise rather than to bury – West Virginia edition

Some, including possibly me, will argue that the greatest thing to come out of West Virginia is the My Brother, My Brother, and Me podcast.  But today, I write about another very positive contribution out of West Virginia, a very good, very thorough ethics opinion that overflows with common-sense with respect to social media issues for […]