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Ethics & Malpractice Issues

The Siren’s Song of the Unlaw Firm: Will Today’s New Business Models Help Solos…or End Their Careers?

January 25, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

Call it the un-law firm.  As big law crumbles and some solos struggle to compete with national non-lawyer providers like Legal Zoom, new business models for law firms are cropping up to fill the void.  From Virtual Law Partners  and  Rimon Legal  to branded networks of solos and franchise offices, alternatives to the standard law […]

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Understanding Technology to Save Clients from Themselves

December 17, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

On several occasions, I’ve described myself as a practical technologist, mastering and adopting new technology tools on a strictly need-to-know basis to serve clients.  So for me, having the latest, greatest gadget was never as important as being an early adopter of tools like client portals or webinar platforms or blogging so that I could […]

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Are Pay Per Lead Services and Attorney Ratings Sites on A Collision Course With Themselves?

December 3, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

Public demand for lawyer ratings is on the rise.  As the above graph from Google Trends  shows, searches for the terms “attorney reviews” have increased five-fold in the past five years (the drop off results after October 2012 only because all data hasn’t yet available). The push for lawyer reviews is hardly surprising.  Today’s consumers […]

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Solo Off to A Bad Start

October 15, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

Starting a law practice is hard enough, without having to defend yourself in a lawsuit.  But that’s the position that Carolyn Hartle finds herself in, according to the  Sharon Herald, after having launched her new practice while she was still working as an associate at her former law firm, Lewis and Ristvey.  But is this […]

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Who you calling unethical, Warren Boroson? Please stop picking on solo lawyers!

May 8, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

In an era of  lawyer bashing,NJ Columnist Warren Boroson’s piece Why Every Middle Class Family Needs a Lawyer  could have been an important educational reminder why lawyers still matter.  And while in truth, Boroson’s article makes that case, Boroson does a far greater disservice by advising readers to “avoid solo practitioners” when hiring lawyers. Boroson’s […]

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Advice on Giving Legal Advice

February 23, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

When does educational marketing cross the line into legal advice? In an era of increased consumer hunger for information online and the rise of crowdsourced advice sites, understanding what types of communications constitute legal advice is a critical matter — and one which Brian Tannebaum addresses at My Law License. Brian’s post has also generated […]

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Third Verse, Same as the First – Outsourcing Marketing = Outsourcing Ethics

February 8, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

Eric Turkewitz said it first, years ago, and still, no one’s listening. Most recently, a fairly new South Carolina attorney disobeyed the legal profession’s equivalent of the law of gravity, outsourcing marketing = outsourcing ethics. And just as ignoring the gravity or pretending that it doesn’t exist will send anyone but a fantasy character tumbling, […]

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If Consumers Want to Know Where Their Tomatoes Are Grown, Don’t They Have A Right To Know Where Their Lawyer Is Located?

December 7, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

Yesterday, while shopping in WholeFoods (a reward to myself after a particularly grueling week consisting largely of take-out), I noticed several prominently displayed signs touting local produce. Though the Whole Foods stores in my area have carried local produce for some time, what made this display particularly interesting is that the sign disclosed both the […]

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First Amendment Challenge to Restriction on Lawyer’s Blog Likely to Flounder – And Bring Other Blogs Down With It

October 10, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

As the saying goes, bad facts make bad law. And there’s going to be some very bad law for lawyer blogs indeed if Virginia small firm lawyer Horace Hunter loses his First Amendment challenge to the Virginia Bar’s attempt to require the firm to include certain disclaimers on its blog. Don’t get me wrong – […]

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MyShingle’s Proposed Revisions to Ethics 20/20 Model Rules on Admissions and Model Rule 5.5

October 5, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

Though I started with the best of intentions to track the activities of the ABA Commission on Ethics 2020, I’ve been having some trouble keeping up with the Commission’s relentless pace. This month brings another barrage of proposals on Outsourcing, Client Confidentiality and Technology and Technology and Lawyer Marketing, and Attorney Admissions. I’ve already provided […]

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