If you believe that you may have materially erred in a current client’s representation, your duty of communication under Rule 1.4 requires you to inform the client.

That’s the unsurprising conclusion that the ABA’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility reached in its latest opinion, issued April 17.

Of note, though, is that

We’ve written before about the breadth of the duty of confidentiality we owe to our clients, and how it even extends to matters that you think are safe to discuss because they are of “public record.”   (See here and here.)  Now comes the ABA’s latest on the subject of lawyer “public commentary” — Formal

Old-time lawyers say that it used to be easy to get the court’s permission to withdraw from a case. You would just go to the judge and state, “Your Honor, we are not ready to go forward, and I am seeking leave to withdraw, because Mr. Green has not arrived.” You know: “Mr. Green” aka the moolah, aka the promised fee from the client. And, so the story goes, the judge would bang the gavel and grant your motion.
Continue Reading What can you say when the client doesn’t pay? ABA opinion gives withdrawal guidance

When the government comes knocking during a grand jury investigation, can a G-man interview one of your executives without getting consent from counsel? Last month, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine said “Yes,” and refused to suppress an executive’s statements in the tax fraud case against him, holding that the ex parte chat didn’t violate ethics rules. The case shows how in a federal criminal investigation, an exception to the well-known “no-contact” rule can sweep away its protection.

Continue Reading “No contact” rule didn’t bar interview with represented suspect, district court holds

What should you do when you are co-counsel on a case or in a deal, and you become aware that the other lawyer has made an error? A new ethics opinion from the New York State Bar Association says that if you reasonably believe that your co-counsel has committed a significant error or omission that may give rise to a malpractice claim, you must disclose the information to the client.
Continue Reading Lawyer must reveal co-counsel’s error to client if it could raise malpractice claim

In today’s soft legal services market, some aspiring members of the profession feel pressure to work for free, but the fairness of such arrangements in general has come under scrutiny. In a twist, the New York State Bar Association earlier this month said that law firms could bill clients for services provided by unpaid legal interns, as long as the amount is not excessive, and the internship program complies with applicable law.
Continue Reading Unpaid legal interns’ work can be billed to clients as fees or costs, NY state bar ass’n says

OopsWhat’s ethical may nonetheless not be a best practice — timely advice from the ethics committee of the New York State Bar Association, which weighed in recently with an ethics opinion on the practice of blind copying your client on e-mails you send to opposing counsel.

The inquiry to the NYSBA’s Committee on Professional Ethics

3d people - person talkingWe’ve mentioned before that some courts look with disfavor on lawyers helping pro se litigants by ghostwriting briefs for them to file as their own.  Some opinions discussing the issue frame the conduct as lawyer deceit, as misrepresentation, or even as potential contempt of court.  In a related twist, the ABA ethics committee has recently