Most lawyers think they have a good grasp of legal ethics and never think to seek ethics advice. They took a professional responsibility course in law school and passed the Multi-state Professional Reponsiblity Exam (MPRE) when admitted. But the law of lawyering is expanding, changing at a rapid pace and the understanding of legal ethics that you had in law school is outdated. Lawyers are required to take only a few hours of courses in legal ethics every three years and there are many traps for the unwary in this constantly changing landscape. Timely ethics advice can avoid huge problems down the road; an hour now can save many hours of work later when damage control is needed. Ethics advice topics are almost unlimited but often involve:
- conflict waivers
- fee agreements
- fee disputes
- attorney advertising and marketing
- compliance review of advertising material
- entity formation and law corporation rules
- ethical compensation arrangements with lawyers
- ethical compensation arrangements with non-lawyers
- termination of representation issues
- client trust accounting issues
- unauthorized practice of law issues
- multi-jurisdictional practice issues
- ethical law office management
I provide legal advice on all of these areas and more. That advice is informed by more than 26 years experience exclusively in legal ethics and State Bar discipline, including 12 years as a staff attorney, discipline prosecutor and manager for the State Bar of California.
As the Venn diagram above illustrates, there is an interrelationship between ethics, law and risk management. Lawyers tend to be risk-adversive but different people have different appetites for risk. The goal is to make sure no risk in undertaken without the best possible understanding of it.
My goal is to be a counselor to the lawyer in the best tradition of ABA Model Rule 2.1, a source of candid independent advice designed to help you avoid trouble.