Legal ethics. Two words that make almost every attorney cringe. However, there is a reason why legal ethics still a required CLE course. Attorneys continue to commit violations of the ethical rules that can lead to sanctions, disbarment and malpractice lawsuits. And our new Web 2.0 world has only created more ethical dilemmas for attorneys and another domain for attorneys to run afoul of their ethical duties.
In Take Five: Edifying and Educational Ethical Examples attorney Paul Marks provides a thorough and entertaining look at five main ethical issues that all attorneys need to be aware of including “cleaning up” your client’s Facebook page, “I’m great” – this is not a guarantee, demand letter or extortion, loose lips sink ships and hey you, get off of my cloud. The five main issues covered include candor to the court, online advertising & testimonials, threatening criminal action, client confidentiality and computer security in the cloud.
Further issues discussed include:
- Advising clients to remove Faebook photos
- Adjusting Facebook privacy settings
- Websites as communications
- Guarantees, warranties & predictions
- LinkedIn as advertising
- Hard vs. soft third party testimonials
- Threatening criminal action
- Discussing client cases with other attorneys & family members
- Conflicts of interest with current clients
- Email & privilege
- Ethically storing client data in the cloud
Case law discussed includes In the Matter of Matthew B. Murray (VBS Docket Nos. 11-070-088405 and 11-070-088422), Ditullio CRC-0605827-CSAWS (Fla. 6th Cir. Ct. order issued Nov. 12, 2009), Mendoza v. Hamzeh (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 799, Malin v. Singer (2013) Cal.App.4th, In Re Liebnow v. Boston Enterprises Inc. (2013 CO 8. No. 12SA83) and United States v. Stewart 287 F. Supp. 2d 461 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). ABA Model Rules discussed include ABA Model Rule 3.3: Candor Toward the Tribunal, Rule 3.4: Fairness to Opposing Party & Counsel, Rule 8.4: Misconduct, Rule 7.1: Communication Concerning a Lawyer’s Service, Rule 1.4: Communication, Rule 1.6: Confidentiality of Information, Rule 1.7: Conflict of Interest: Current Clients, Rule 1.15: Safekeeping Property and Rule 5.3: Non-lawyer Assistants. The following ethics opinions are also discussed: NYCLA Ethics Opinion 745, California Ethics Opinion 2001-155, North Carolina State Bar Ethics Comm. Formal Op. 2012-1 (July 20, 2012) ABA Formal Opinion 98-411, ABA Formal Opinion 08-451, PA Bar Formal Opinion 2011- 200 and California Formal Opinion 2010-179.
Paul Marks has practiced civil and commercial litigation in California for over twenty years. Mr. Marks has served as first chair trial counsel in over thirty cases that have reached verdict, about half of them being jury trials. He recently served as a Delegate to the policy-making arm of the American Bar Association, the ABA’s House of Delegates. In July 2011, Mr. Marks was appointed to a three-year term as a Commissioner on the California Commission on Access to Justice, a State agency comprised of trial court and appellate judges and practicing lawyers and he also serves as an adviser on the Executive Committee of the Solo and Small Firm Section of the California Bar. Previously, Mr. Marks served on the Executive Committee of the State Bar’s Litigation Section, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, and the Litigation Section’s Committee on Civil Jury Instructions. In addition to being a member of the Board of Editors of Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine, Mr. Marks was honored as “Advocate of the Year” in 2008 by Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm.
This CLE course on legal ethics is currently accredited in the following states:
- Alaska (AK)
- Arizona (AZ)
- California (CA)
- Colorado (CO)
- Connecticut (CT)
- District of Columbia (DC)
- Georgia (GA)
- Illinois (IL)
- Maryland (MD)
- Massachusetts (MA)
- Michigan (MI)
- Nevada (NV)
- New Jersey (NJ)
- New York (NY)
- Pennsylvania (PA)
- South Dakota (SD)
- Texas (TX)
Attorney Credits offers continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys in Texas (TX) and around the country. For more information about continuing legal education (CLE) in Texas, please click the following link: Texas CLE.