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Ethics Issues

Ethics Is Only 1/5 of What Lawyers Need to Know For A Digital & Dynamic Practice

April 13, 2015 by Carolyn Elefant

Like law, the energy and utility industry where I spend my days has traditionally been heavily regulated.  What that means is that rules for participants or relief for consumers come by way of regulatory commissions rather than statute or contract. But that model changed when utilities dipped their toes into social media where as this […]

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Determination of A Bonafide NY Office Requirement Is Next Step To Its Demise

April 3, 2015 by Carolyn Elefant

The New York Journal reports on a recent Court of Appeals ruling interpreting NY Judiciary Law §470 as requiring attorneys who are not residents of New York to maintain a physical office in the space to practice. That physical office requirement means a real space – not a kitchen table or a corner in Starbucks. […]

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Does An Ethics Rule Requiring Technologic Competence Mean Much?

March 18, 2015 by Carolyn Elefant

Do as we say, not as we do. That’s the message that the regulators send, as they fall in lock step behind the ABA in adopting the ABA Model Code’s rule requiring lawyers to keep abreast of the benefits and risks of technology, as reported by Bob Ambrogi at Law Sites. According to Bob, thirteen […]

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Ask An Ethics Question: Gift Cards

January 29, 2015 by Carolyn Elefant

Updated – 1/30/2015 A few days ago, a question appeared on the Solosez Listserve, inquiring whether a promotional strategy – whereby individuals referred to a firm by an existing client would be entered into a drawing for a gift card upon coming in for a free consultation – passed ethical muster. Happily, everyone who responded […]

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Two Lessons in One: Law Firm Trade Names & Easy Data Compilation

December 16, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

Do you ever have a bunch of data that you need to compile but don’t want to take the time of fussing with Excel spreadsheets or creating tables? In this kind of situation, I’ll create my own data intake using Google’s Free Form creator.  I find it easier to enter the data through a form, […]

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Should Lawyers Mark A Spot With With a Domain Dot – And Will Ethics Regulators Say Yay or Not?

October 8, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

Move over, vanity license plates emblazoned with slogans like NTGUILTY, or call lines like  1-800-SUE-THEM. Beginning today, lawyers everywhere will have yet another means to brazenly trumpet their presence as the gtld  (generic top level domain names) .lawyer and .attorney become generally available for registration. That’s right, by tonight, the web will be littered with […]

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Unethical Conduct, But Fee Splitting Is the Least of It

June 2, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

A recent Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee (ARDC), reported here misses the point.  The ARDC charged a solo estate planning attorney with ethics violations for splitting fees with a non-lawyer financial planner over a five year period between 2007 and 2012. During that time, the financial planner hosted six seminars each year, referring approximately […]

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Is Your Jurisdiction Wasting Money to Make the Ethics of the Cloud Clear?

May 30, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

Last week, Bob Ambrogi posted an updated roundup  of state ethics decisions — 17 to date – that clear the cloud for use by lawyers. But while I appreciate the bars’ efforts, they’re a poor use of resources. For starters, every one of those 17 ethics decisions says roughly the same thing.  Lawyers can use […]

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Second Circuit Seeks Second Opinion on the Meaning of “Office” for Purposes of Non-Resident Lawyers – Update

April 15, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

For nearly three years, I’ve been tracking solo Ekaterina Schoenefeld’s challenge to the constitutionality of New York Judicial Code 470, which imposes an in-state office requirement – but only on nonresident lawyers. Schoenefeld won round one, when a federal district court judge ruled that the statute infringes on nonresident attorneys’ right to practice law in […]

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Is Your Law Firm or #AltLaw Violating the Lanham Act?

February 6, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

I’ve often wondered whether a firm that lacked competency in certain practice areas could nonetheless, advertise these capabilities “on spec,” figuring that it could either refer the work out or hire a temporary lawyer to handle these matters if they came through the door. I’ve seen this tactic used occasionally by the #Altlaw law firms […]

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