Category Archives: Ethics & Professionalism

CLE: Ethical Issues in Social Media and eDiscovery

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Social media offers attorneys and law firms the opportunity to build credibility & trust with clients, uncover relevant facts & information about cases, clients and opposing attorneys, and to bring in new business. Unfortunately, social media also creates many new ethical pitfalls for attorneys. Law firms, attorneys, and staff must ensure that their online activities adhere to ethical and professional rules of conduct – even without the guidance of specific electronic ethical rules.

Ethics 2.0

  • Can you list specialties or endorsements on your LinkedIn page?
  • Is it ethical to send a Facebook friend request to an individual involved in pending litigation?
  • Can you ethically advise clients to remove tweets from their Twitter account on the eve of trial?

In this timely presentation, attorneys Kathryn Konzen and Ross Mecham provide best practices for the ethical use of social media, offer practical ethical guidance regarding common scenarios and highlight situations & online activities to avoid. The main ethical duties covered include the Duty of Competence, candor & fairness to the court & opposing counsel, the duty to supervise, requesting & producing documents & data, accuracy of discovery certifications and protection of the attorney-client privilege. To access the course please click here: Ethical Issues in Social Media and eDiscovery.

Further issues discussed in this CLE:

  • Ethical pitfalls & risks
  • FRCP Rule 1
  • Zealous advocacy
  • ABA Model Rule 1.1 & the Duty of Electronic Competence
  • Examples of unethical online conduct
  • Examples of ethical/unethical advertising
  • Website disclaimers
  • Retention
  • Inadvertent formation of the attorney-client relationship
  • The Duty of Confidentiality
  • Avoiding online Conflicts of Interest
  • Recruiting
  • Investigation
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Blogging about prior cases
  • LinkedIn
  • Examples of social media policies
  • Ethical references & citations

Kathryn Konzen joined DTI in 2014 as a Regional Business Development Executive, and returned in 2016 after going in house with a law firm as the Director of Business Development and Litigation Technology. She is a California licensed attorney that focuses on efficient and cost effective solutions for her clients when dealing with electronic data, whether it is for a government investigation, litigation matter, or internal issue. Kathryn has presented various CLE programs on such topics as Managing ESI, Ethics in Social Media, and Ethical Issues of eDiscovery. Ross Mecham is an eDiscovery Consultant with DTI. He helps law firms and corporate legal departments understand and manage their eDiscovery needs, using technology and efficient workflows to reduce risks and costs while increasing deliverable quality. An attorney with over a decade of experience across all phases of electronic and paper discovery, his career spans state, federal, and international matters, as well as the development of internal corporate discovery practices. His prior cases include intellectual property, employment, and business tort actions, data breach and internal investigations, and regulatory requests.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in New York and around the country. For more information about CLE in New York please click the following link: NY CLE.

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CLE on New Legal Technology Tools for Lawyers

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New technologies sprout up every day. These new technologies are changing society and the legal profession at a rapid pace. Social media discovery, cloud computing, practice management software… these new technologies have changed the way lawyers practice law and the way law firms operate. While recent innovations have helped to streamline the legal process, create new ways to work more efficiently and help law firms gain a competitive advantage, these new technologies also present novel challenges for many attorneys. 

Time to pull your head out of the sand and start practicing more efficiently by using new legal technologies!

In this timely presentation Andres Hernandez discusses how lawyers can adopt new technologies to run a more efficient law firm and be a better lawyer. The main points presented by Andres include the three pillars of law firm technology, your Internet presence, technology to run your office more efficiently and technology to make your firm & client data more secure. To access the course please click here: Top Tech Tools for Lawyers.

Andres also addresses

  • Legal websites
  • Claiming your online profiles
  • Developing your social media strategy
  • Ethical advertising
  • File storage
  • Practice management software
  • Client communications
  • The cloud
  • Security
  • Domain names
  • Data backup
  • Computer maintenance
  • Online reputation management
  • Managed IT
  • Cyber insurance
  • Clio
  • WP Engine
  • WordPress
  • AVVO
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Dropbox
  • LawPay
  • LinkedIn
  • Pipedrive
  • Lexicata
  • Zapier
  • Calendar Rules
  • NetDocuments
  • Page Vault

Andres is the co-founder and CEO of Wingman Legal Tech. He is a Marine Corps Veteran with an MS in Technology Management from National University and 10 years experience at HP working on Government contracts. Andres has been leading an effort in the legal industry to adopt cloud technologies for leaner and more efficient practice. He frequently speaks to legal groups, attorneys and bar associations in an effort to demystify law firm technology.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • Missouri (MO)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in New York and around the country. For more information about CLE in New York please click the following link: NY CLE.

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NY CLE: Ethics and Professionalism

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“Experienced” New York attorneys must complete a minimum of 24 New York CLE credit hours each two-year NY CLE reporting cycle.[1]  At least 4 of these NY CLE credit hours must be in the Ethics and Professionalism category and the remaining credit hours may be in any category of credit – Areas of Professional Practice, Skills or Law Practice Management.

NY CLE Ethics & Professionalism may include:[2]

  • The norms relating to lawyers’ professional obligations to clients
  • The norms relating to lawyers’ professional relations with prospective clients
  • The sources of lawyers’ professional obligation
  • Recognition and resolution of ethical dilemmas
  • Substance abuse control
  • Professional values

In New York, Ethics and Professionalism is a broad category and encompasses many different CLE topics – from professional values to substance abuse control. All 4 required New York Ethics & Professionalism credit hours may be completed through online and downloadable CLE courses. For more information about CLE in New York please click the following link: NY CLE.

[1] Experienced attorneys have been admitted to the New York Bar for more than 2 years.

[2] New York MCLE Rule §1500.2 Definitions

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CLE on Bankruptcy, Money Laundering & Terrorism

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Spearheaded by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), leaders and governments have sought to monitor and suppress money laundering and terrorism financing around the globe. This became even more pressing here at home after the 9/11 terror attacks. Due to our legal system and the use of anonymous entities like LLCs, the United States is an easy place to hide money and terrorists have begun using our financial and legal systems to launder dirty money and clandestinely move it around the world to finance terrorist and other illegal operations. Unfortunately for attorneys, there is a very fine line between assisting clients and crossing into criminal activity.

Dirty money gets produced by organized crime and other criminals though drug trafficking, prostitution, tax evasion, corruption, financial crime and many other sources.

Peter W. Bowie, the former Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California, has seen these matters develop first hand from his view from the bench. In this CLE course, Judge Bowie explores the evolving link between bankruptcy, money laundering & terrorist financing and the attorney’s duty to investigate. The main topics addressed by Judge Bowie include money laundering around the globe, the use of anonymous entities to hide money and the attorneys increased duty to investigate. To access this course please click here: Bankruptcy, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.

Additional topics presented in this CLE course:

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Money Laundering’s 40 recommendations
  • The 2002 ABA Task Force
  • ABA Formal Opinion 463
  • Risk based client due diligence
  • How individuals hide money from creditors
  • The anonymous purchase of numerous high end American properties
    The 2016 GlobalWitness.org report
  • The Panama Papers
  • Confidentiality
  • Attorney-client privilege
  • Rule 11
  • Recent case law regarding attorney investigations

Peter W. Bowie, former Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California, spent 27 years on the bench. He leverages his vast experience in the courtroom to conduct mediation settlement conferences and contribute to the firm’s mediation practice. A skilled mediator, Judge Bowie has successfully resolved several vigorously contested, large fee application disputes, and other important cases. Before joining the bench, he served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California for 14 years, the last six as Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney, overseeing operations of the criminal and civil divisions. Earlier in his career, he served as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he was hired through the Department’s prestigious Honors Program.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • Missouri (MO)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in California and around the country. For more information about CLE in California please click the following link: CA CLE.

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CLE Course on Attorney Workplace Investigations

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A thorough, effective and ethical internal investigation of an employee workplace complaint can help a company to avoid costly and protracted litigation, and form the foundation for a successful defense in the event that a lawsuit is eventually filed. Unfortunately, missteps are common in internal investigations and these mistakes can expose an employer to costly liability.

Workplace Investigations

Increasingly more employers are finding themselves facing the need to conduct internal workplace investigations as employee retaliation claims soar and the EEOC continues to focus on discrimination complaints.

In this CLE course, attorney & workplace investigator Amy Oppenheimer walks you through the best practices when conducting workplace investigations. She also focuses on how attorneys can recognize and avoid implicit bias and other biases when conducting workplace investigations. To access the course please click here: Attorneys Conducting Workplace Investigations.

Best practices and topics covered:

  • Reasons to conduct an internal investigation
  • The decision to conduct an investigation
  • The choice of investigators
  • Defining the scope of the investigation
  • Investigation planning
  • Communicating with representatives of the employer
  • Confidentiality & privacy
  • Evidence gathering & retention
  • Witness interviews
  • Investigation findings
  • Reports
  • Bias in the workplace
  • Bias in investigations
  • The impacts of investigations

Amy Oppenheimer is an attorney and retired Administrative Law Judge with over thirty years of experience in the field of employment law.[1] Ms. Oppenheimer has trained lawyers, human resource professionals, employees, and employers throughout the country in preventing and investigating workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation, implicit bias and diversity in the workplace. She is the founder and president of the board of AWI (Association of Workplace Investigators, Inc.) and is an advisor to the executive committee of the labor and employment section of the California State Bar. She is a trial qualified expert on the issue of employment practices in preventing, responding to and investigating workplace harassment or discrimination.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • Missouri (MO)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in Illinois and around the country. For more information about CLE in Illinois please click the following link: IL CLE.

[1] Emphasizing preventing and responding to workplace harassment and discrimination.

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NY CLE: Online CLE for Newly Admitted Attorneys

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Newly admitted attorneys in New York have special CLE requirements.[1] Newly admitted NY attorneys must complete at least 16 transitional CLE credit hours in each of the first two years of admission to the New York State Bar. The requirements are shown on the chart below.

Newly Admitted NY CLE Requirement[2]

  • Sixteen (16) accredited hours
  • Completed in EACH of the first two (2) years of admission
    • 3 hours of ethics & professionalism
    • 6 hours of skills
    • 7 hours of law practice management and/or areas of professional practice

Newly admitted New York attorneys may NOW complete 14 of the required 32 credit hours by completing by completing on-demand computer based CLE programs.[3] For more information about New York CLE please click here: NY CLE.

[1] Under the New York CLE Rules, attorneys admitted to the New York State Bar for two (2) years or less are considered newly admitted attorneys.

[2] The first set of 16 transitional NY CLE credit hours must be completed by the first anniversary of admission to the New York State Bar Association, in the designated categories of credit. The second set of 16 transitional hours must be completed between the first and second anniversaries of admission to the NY State Bar.

[3] (In the required areas of Law Practice Management & Areas of Professional Practice.

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CLE Course on Legal Ethics and Evolving Technology

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Are you required to keep hard copies of all your blog posts? Can you ethically post the big verdict from your trial on your website? Can you counsel clients to remove embarrassing photos from their Facebook page two weeks before trial? What if your friend endorses you for Maritime Law on LinkedIn… but you’re a family law attorney?

Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram… every new day seems to bring a new social media website and a new electronic fad. How can attorneys harness these new technologies in their legal practice without running afoul of the ethical rules?

It is now your ethical duty to be competent when using new digital technologies. Email and Facebook are not going away – they are now a part of your legal practice. However, as these new technologies evolve so rapidly, the ethics rules struggle to keep up. In this CLE course, attorney Ed McIntyre provides a practical discussion of your evolving ethical duties in light of emerging technologies. The main ethical issues discussed include: communicating electronically with clients, the ethics of cybersleuthing and counseling clients to delete information from social media accounts. To access the course please click here: What Me Worry? Professional Responsibility, Evolving Technology and Why I Might.

Additional subjects covered in this legal ethics course:

  • The ABA Model Rules
  • California Rules of Professional Conduct
  • The Duty of Competence
  • The Duty of Confidentiality
  • The Duty of Communication
  • The legal advertising rules
  • Ethical issues associated with websites
  • Blogs & twitter
  • Disclaimers
  • Confidentiality & social media
  • Website submissions & the attorney-client relationship
  • Friending parties & individuals involved in litigation
  • The no contact rule
  • Suppression of evidence
  • The ethics of LinkedIn endorsements

A veteran trial attorney, Edward J. McIntyre practices complex business litigation in federal and state courts. An expert on the topic of professional responsibility, he also now advises and represents attorneys on issues of professional responsibility, risk mitigation and professional negligence issues. He testifies as an expert witness in court, writes a monthly column on professional responsibility in the San Diego Lawyer Magazine and frequently lectures on this topic. He is also a member and chair of the San Diego County Bar Association Legal Ethics Committee and received the 2013 Top Lawyers of San Diego distinction.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska(AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in California and around the country. For more information about CLE in California please click the following link: CA CLE.

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CLE Course on Conflicts of Interest in an Increasingly Complex World

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In our increasingly complex and intertwined legal and business world, ethically navigating through the conflicts of interest rules can give you headaches and leave you confused and befuddled. Unfortunately, failing to spot or address a potential conflict of interest could even lead to disqualification, disgorgement… or even a malpractice lawsuit.

Attorneys who believe that violations of ethics rules may only be used against them in a disciplinary proceeding are, unfortunately, mistaken. Among the courts that have addressed this issue, the overwhelming majority have held that evidence of an ethics violation is admissible in an action for breach of fiduciary duty or professional negligence.

To learn more about the practical application of the conflicts of interest rules, join attorney Edward J. McIntyre as he shows you how to approach and analyze conflicts of interest by highlighting key ethical issues from a series of recent case examples. The main topics that Mr. McIntyre covers includes ethics & risk mitigation, conflicts between current clients, conflicts in successive representation, conflicts based on an attorney’s personal interests and conflicts based on the receipt of confidential information outside of the attorney-client relationship. To access the course please click here: What Me Worry? Conflicts of Interest in a Multijurisdictional and Increasingly Complex World.

Further topics discussed include:

  • The ABA Conflicts of Interest Rules
  • Model Rules 1.7
  • Model Rule 1.9
  • Model Rule 1.18
  • California Rule of Professional Conduct 3-310
  • Actual vs. potential conflicts
  • Where conflicts arise
  • The standard of care
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • The duty of loyalty
  • Conflict checks & advance waivers
  • Informed written consent & written disclosure
  • Possible consequences of rules violations
  • Disqualification vs. discipline
  • Conflicts-check systems
  • Joint/dual representation

A veteran trial attorney, Edward J. McIntyre practices complex business litigation in federal and state courts. An expert on the topic of professional responsibility, he now focuses on advising and representing attorneys on issues of professional responsibility, risk mitigation and professional negligence issues. He testifies as an expert witness in court, writes a monthly column on professional responsibility in the San Diego Lawyer Magazine and frequently lectures on this topic. He is also a member and chair of the San Diego County Bar Association Legal Ethics Committee and received the 2013 Top Lawyers of San Diego distinction.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska(AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in New York and around the country. For more information about CLE in New York please click the following link: NY CLE.

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CLE Course: Ethical Traps for the Unwary

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How well do you know the California Rules of Professional Conduct (CRPC), the Business & Professions Code (B&PC) and the State Bar Act? Do you know them well enough to avoid lurking ethical traps?

Lawyers & Ethics

Unfortunately, many lawyers think that the MPRE is the last time they need to study ethics rules and quite a few attorneys have little or no familiarity with the rules of the ethical road in California.

There are many traps for the unwary hiding within those ethical rules – traps that could lead to a malpractice violation or even state bar discipline and disbarment. Join David Carr as he discusses the source of ethical rules in California and ethics traps you need to avoid. To access the course click here: Ethical Traps for the Unwary.

The main topics presented and discussed by Mr. Carr include:

  • Failing to account for client funds
  • Accounting for unearned advanced fees
  • Accepting fees from third parties without client consent
  • Failing to disclose a lack of malpractice insurance
  • Settling a legal malpractice claim without advice to seek counsel
  • Failing to maintain membership address
  • Seeking agreement to withdraw or not make a state bar complaint
  • Candor toward tribunal
  • Moral turpitude through gross negligence

David Cameron Carr is Senior Counsel in the Legal Ethics and Law Firm Practice Group of Klinedinst PC. Mr. Carr specializes in legal ethics and the law of lawyering, including discipline defense, bar admissions, attorney fee disputes, legal malpractice, attorney professional responsibility and ethics advice. Mr. Carr graduated from Loyola Law School in 1986 and was admitted to the California Bar that year. After practicing in business litigation and commercial law, Mr. Carr spent 12 years as staff attorney, discipline prosecutor and manager at the State Bar of California, before returning to private practice in 2001 and then joining Klinedinst PC in 2016. Mr. Carr is an active member of the San Diego County Bar Association, where he serves on the Legal Ethics Committee.

This CLE course is currently offered in the following states:

  • California (CA)

For more information about the CA MCLE requirement please click the following link: CA CLE.

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CLE Course: Substance Abuse & the Legal Profession

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Untreated addictions can seriously affect an attorney’s competence to practice law. Substance abuse and addiction can lead to late filings, missed court appearances, client defaults, poorly drafted pleadings, inappropriate settlements, local & state bar suspension, legal sanctions, restrictions & probation, unpaid dues & bills, disbarment, cancelled malpractice insurance and malpractice lawsuits against the lawyer and his or her client.

Substance Abuse & Attorneys

Substance abuse is the dirty little secret of the legal profession. The long hours, conflict and pressure of the profession leads some attorneys to abuse drugs and alcohol to cope with the stress of the profession.

In this substance abuse course, Commissioner K. Riley provides her unique perspective on alcohol and drug abuse amongst attorneys. The main topics covered by Commissioner Riley include substance abuse & attorneys, the addiction disease model, the physiology of alcoholism, competence & substance abuse, where to get help, the Other Bar, the Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) and 12 step programs. To access this substance abuse course please click here: Substance Abuse & the Legal Profession.

Additional subjects in this Substance Abuse CLE course:

  • Why attorneys are at such a high risk
  • Lawyer defense skills
  • Neurochemistry
  • The Duty of Competence
  • The ABA Model Rules
  • Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Intervention
  • Relapse
  • Maintaining sobriety
  • Triggers
  • Getting help for attorneys
  • Legal discipline & getting help
  • The cost of discipline
  • Peer support groups
  • The Other Bar
  • AA
  • Additional resources for attorneys

Commissioner K. Riley has worked for the San Diego Superior Court system since 1992. Before she began working for the court system, Commissioner Riley was in private practice for over ten years. Because of her unique perspective, Commissioner Riley is frequently called on by bar associations and legal groups to speak about the plight of substance abuse in the legal profession.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys in California and around the country. For more information about CLE in California please click the following link: CA CLE.

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