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Solo & Small Law Firms

Ethics & Malpractice Issues

Ask An Ethics Question: Gift Cards

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

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

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…

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

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

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?

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

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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