My Shingle

Ethics & Malpractice Issues

Lawyers Can Use Competitors’ Names to Advertise…But Should They?

April 24, 2015 by Carolyn Elefant

If you’re looking to steal a rival law firm’s Google Thunder, the coast is clear (except in North Carolina) opines Professor Eric Goldman in a soon-to-be-published SSRN article, Regulation of Lawyers’ Use of Competitive Keyword Advertising. Goldman explains that use of a competitor’s name as a keyword violates neither publicity rights nor trademark law, noting […]

Read more Ethics & Malpractice Issues 3 comments

California Bar Offers A Reason to Keep Your Website and Blog Separate

January 16, 2015 by Carolyn Elefant

Should a law firm blog be incorporated into a website or function as a freestanding entity? That’s a question that’s been asked almost since the beginning of time, with at least two experts – Sam Glover and Kevin O’Keefe endorsing separation for a variety of different reasons. But now, a recent California ethics decision offers […]

Read more Ethics & Malpractice Issues 6 comments

How Staying On the Cutting Edge About New Technology Can Avert a Fate Of Dressing Up Like Thomas Jefferson Pleading For Your Law License

November 24, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

“I had no idea that cellphones had GPS capabilities at that time…if I had known it, I’d have been on it like a dog on a bone.” [26:19] A recent Forbes article reports on a case out of Calgary, billed as “the first known personal injury case that will use activity data from a Fitbit:” […]

Read more Ethics & Malpractice Issues 1 comment

One More Reason to Flat Fee: Getting Paid

October 16, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

A recent decision by a New York court, rejecting a law firm’s breach of contract claim to recover $2.3 million in legal fees from a client highlights both the importance of a detailed written representation agreement and yet another reason to consider adopting flat fees. According to the New York Law Journal, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres […]

Read more Client Relations 17 comments

New York Bar Recognizes that Virtual Lawyers May Be More Accessible to Clients

October 14, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

Slowly but surely, these times they are a changing. In Ethics Opinion 1025, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) clarified that its advertising rules – which require lawyers to list a physical address on letterhead and business cards – does not “independent mandate for attorneys who advertise to maintain a physical office address.” What’s […]

Read more Ethics & Malpractice Issues 6 comments

Did Clearspire Expire…or Conspire?

June 11, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

Last week, one of NewLaw’s own, Clearspire expired. Or did it? Clearpsire says otherwise portraying the closure of Clearspire Law as one giant pivot from #AltLaw Firm model to a legal technology company. Clearspire explains that it plans to take the proprietary practice platform, Coral, developed by the non-lawyer owned business side of its operation […]

Read more Client Relations 3 comments

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 […]

Read more Ethics & Malpractice Issues 1 comment

Ideas for Complying With the Legal Professional Code From Computer Coders

May 12, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

A couple of weeks ago, I embarked on the long journey of learning and mastering computer code for several reasons. First, as I approach a milestone birthday (and work through the concomitant midlife crisis), I’ve felt compelled to try something new. Second, since I so frequently criticize  many of the legal tech startups for not […]

Read more Ethics & Malpractice Issues 30 comments

Dewey Really Want to Say That Crowdfunding Is Unethical Fee Splitting? The Biglaw/SmallLaw Double Standard

March 24, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

Back in May 2013, Findlaw blogger William Peacock posted about Upstart, a  crowd funding site where “backers” provide money to new graduates, who pledge to repay the funds through a percentage of future income for a term of five or ten years. Upstart and similar crowd funding platforms might potentially offer an innovative solution to […]

Read more Ethics & Malpractice Issues 4 comments

Twenty-First Century Solutions to the Age-Old Problem of Lawyers Who Abandon Practices Due to Death, Incapacity or Illness

December 2, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

The problem of lawyers abandoning a practice and leaving clients in the lurch is hardly new. Yet abandoned law practices are increasingly becoming a crisis for the legal profession reports Cincinnati Enquirer and Lexington Herald. In Kentucky, a recent tragic spike in the number of lawyer suicides  (six in 2012 alone) galvanized the bar’s attention […]

Read more Client Relations 1 comment