Tag Archives: Legal Ethics

FL CLE: 30 CLE Hours or 33 CLE Hours??

The Florida Supreme Court approved a new rule on 1/1/2017 requiring Florida attorneys to complete technology-related CLE courses. If your Florida CLE compliance is due in the next couple years you don’t have to worry about it.

FL CLER – Technology Requirement

The first Florida attorneys that need to complete 33 hours – including 3 hours of technology – have compliance dates starting in December 2019.

Only if your compliance deadline ends in December 2019 (or later) then you must complete 33 credit hours every 3 years. Five of the 33 credit hours must be in approved legal ethics and 3 of the 33 hours must be in approved technology programs. Please click here to see more information: FL CLE.

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CA CLE: Don’t Forget the Legal Ethics, Bias and Competence Issues by the California MCLE Deadline

Under the CA MCLE Rules, California attorneys are required to complete 25 hours CA MCLE every 3 years. Of those 25 required CA CLE hours, attorneys must complete at least 12.5 hours for participatory credit. OR put another way you CANNOT complete more than 12.5 hours of self-study credit.[1]

CA MCLE Requirement – Specialty Credits

  • 4 Legal Ethics
  • 1 Competence Issues
  • 1 Elimination of Bias

California attorneys must also complete certain 6 hours of certain specialty credits.  Each three year compliance period California attorneys must complete 4 hours of Legal Ethics, 1 hour of Competence Issues, 1 hour of Elimination of Bias. Please note that California attorneys in Group 2 (Last Names H-M) must report MCLE compliance by February 1.[2]  For more information about California please click here: CA CLE.

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New CLE on the Ethics of Attorney-Client Transactions

The quote below succinctly sums up how courts and ethics regulators feel about attorney-client transactions and how you will be viewed if you “do business” with your clients. And “doing business with clients” is treated quite expansively by the courts.

“Attorneys wear different hats when they perform legal services on behalf of their clients and when they conduct business with them.  As to the latter, the law presumes the hat they wear is a black one.”

In this legal ethics CLE course, attorney Peter Afrasiabi discusses the pertinent ethical rules and provides guidance on how you can avoid tripping the wires if you decide to do business with your clients.  Peter will mainly cover the factors for attorney-client transactions to avoid ethical pitfalls, specific case examples, the effect of ethical violations and best practices to remain ethical. Peter also discusses the following specific transactions: a charging lien on future recovery proceeds, client assignment of right to statutory attorney’s fees, deeds of trust secured by a note to pay fees, joint ventures with clients, accepting stock from a startup and loans to clients. To access the course please click here: Ethics of Attorney-Client Transactions: How to Avoid Tripping the Wires.

Peter also addresses:

  • The California Rules of Professional Responsibility 3-300
  • ABA Rule 1.8
  • State fiduciary duty law
  • New York Rule 1.8
  • The original engagement
  • The presumption of undue influence
  • Fair and reasonable & disclosed in a writing
  • Advising independent counsel and getting client consent in writing

From battles with Madonna over the “Material Girl” brand to fair use disputes with the Eagles’ Don Henley to protecting such iconic brands as Bettie Page in trademark and trade dress disputes, Peter R. Afrasiabi primarily handles copyright, trademark, and entertainment disputes. He is also the Chair of the Appellate Practice Group for One LLP and co-director of the Appellate Litigation Clinic at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.

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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CA MCLE: Don’t Forget Participatory & Legal Ethics!!

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California attorneys with last names N-Z (Group 3) must complete and report and report compliance with the CA MCLE requirement by the February 1 CA CLE reporting deadline. California attorney beware: the State Bar of California  has been conducting thousands of California MCLE audits each year. Below, you will find some of the top mistakes California attorneys make when completing their CA MCLE.

California MCLE – Do It Right!

  • 25 total hours
  • 12.5 participatory hours
  • 4 Ethics
  • 1 Bias
  • 1 Competence Issues (formerly substance abuse)

Please make sure to properly complete your CA CLE requirements. You will feel much better in July when you get that MCLE audit letter from the State Bar of California in your mailbox!! For more information about California CLE please click here: CA CLE.

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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: 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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CLE on Substance Abuse, Depression & Competence

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Substance abuse and depression are two of the main contributors that affect an attorney’s competence to practice law. Substance abuse and depression also lead to high rates of suicide amongst lawyers. Attorneys are nearly twice as likely to have problems with drugs & alcohol and are nearly four times more likely to suffer from depression when compared to the general population. In fact, the depression rate in the legal profession is the highest amongst all professions and over 50% of all discipline cases involve an underlying substance abuse issue.

The leading cause of premature death among attorneys:

  • It’s not heart attacks or car accidents.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of premature death for lawyers

In this course, Richard P. Carlton discusses the connection between substance abuse, depression and your competence to practice law. The main topics discussed include the law as a high-risk profession, substance abuse & depression disorders, personality traits of attorneys, ways to cope with the stress & the mental challenges of the legal profession and managing client expectations. To access the course please click here: An Attorney’s Duty: Competence & Substance Abuse.

Further issues presented and discussed in this CLE course:

  • Brain chemistry
  • Depression
  • Traits of pre-law students
  • The effects of law school
  • Lawyers as pessimists
  • Thinking like a lawyer
  • Resources & assistance for attorneys
  • The stress response
  • Negativity bias
  • Fear & negativity
  • Mindfulness
  • The pace of life for attorneys
  • Time shifting
  • Mindfulness
  • Hardwiring happiness
  • Resources & assistance

Richard P. Carlton, MPH, is currently the Acting Director of the Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) of the State Bar of California. He has been addressing mental health and disability concerns in the legal profession for over twenty-five years and he frequently delivers continuing legal education (CLE) presentations on addressing substance abuse and managing stress to bar associations, State Bar sections and law firms throughout California. In addition to his work with the LAP program of the State Bar of California he is also a consultant to the U.S. Courts for the Ninth Circuit, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges and the Idaho Judicial Branch on matters of judicial stress and wellness.

This CLE course is currently 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 Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

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

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PA CLE: 2 Big Changes in 2015

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There are two main changes to the PA CLE system that all Pennsylvania attorneys should be aware of. First, the ethics requirement has been increased to 2 credit hours each annual compliance period.[1] Second, Pennsylvania attorneys may now also complete 6 of the 12 required PA CLE credit hours by studying online on-demand CLE courses.

2015 PA CLE Changes

  • 2 hours of ethics now required
  • 6 online on-demand hours now allowed

Active Pennsylvania attorneys that are not exempt from their annual PA CLE requirements must complete at least twelve (12) CLE credit hours each compliance period in order to fulfill the Pennsylvania CLE requirement. Your CLE compliance and reporting deadlines are based on what Group you are assigned to.[2]

According to the PA CLE Board website, the ethics credit increase marks the first significant modification to the CLE requirement since 1996 when the total requirement expanded from nine credits to twelve.

Attorneys in compliance group 2 are required to complete their CLE requirement by August 31, 2015.  For information, please click here: PA CLE.

[1] In previous compliance periods only 1 credit hour of ethics was required each compliance period.

[1] All PA lawyers are assigned to 1 of 3 PA CLE Compliance Groups:

  • Group I:    May 1 – April 30
  • Group II:   September 1 – August 31
  • Group III:  January 1 – December 31

PA CLE groups are chosen randomly by lawyer ID number.

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CLE Course on The Duty of Confidentiality and The Attorney-Client Privilege

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Attorneys must have a firm understanding of the full scope of the attorney-client privilege in order to protect themselves and their clients from improperly disclosing confidential client information in violation of Rule 1.6. However, the attorney-client privilege is often confused with an attorney’s ethical duty of confidentiality – but you must realize that these are two very different legal and ethical principles. The ethical duty of confidentiality provides broader protection than the attorney-client privilege and applies to all information relating to the representation of the client, even the identity of the client in some cases. Unfortunately, many attorneys and even some judges still get tripped up by these two principles.

The attorney-client privilege is an evidentiary rule that protects certain communications between the attorney and client from a third party’s efforts to discover the content of the communications.

It is extremely important that you know the scope and coverage of both principles because an unintended waiver of confidentiality or privilege can be the difference between winning and losing your case – and could even result in a serious ethics violation. To learn more, join trial attorney Paul Marks as he discusses how to recognize and avoid unintended waivers of confidentiality and privilege. The main topics covered in this legal ethics CLE course include ethically naming your client, malpractice lawsuits & client confidences, the attorney-client privilege & third party disclosure and the attorney-client privilege in international discovery. To access the course please click here: Privileged and Confidential: Legal Ethics and The Attorney-Client Relationship.

The following topics are also addressed in this legal ethics CLE course:

  • Listing clients & businesses that you’ve represented on your website
  • Press releases & confidentiality clauses
  • Revealing information about clients to third parties
  • Writing books about former clients
  • Designating an in-house ethics counsel inside your firm
  • Billing, interpreters & experts
  • Furthering the interests of the client
  • The “reasonably related to the representation” standard
  • The Martha Stewart case
  • The attorney-client privilege & international litigation
  • The attorney-client privilege in civil law countries

Paul S. Marks has practiced civil and commercial litigation in California for over twenty years. Mr. Marks has served as first chair trial counsel in over thirty cases that have reached verdict, about half of them being jury trials. He recently served as a Delegate to the policy-making arm of the American Bar Association, the ABA’s House of Delegates. In July 2011, Mr. Marks was appointed to a three-year term as a Commissioner on the California Commission on Access to Justice, a State agency comprised of trial court and appellate judges and practicing lawyers and he also serves as an adviser on the Executive Committee of the Solo and Small Firm Section of the California Bar. Previously, Mr. Marks served on the Executive Committee of the State Bar’s Litigation Section, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, and the Litigation Section’s Committee on Civil Jury Instructions. In addition to being a member of the Board of Editors of Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine, Mr. Marks was honored as “Advocate of the Year” in 2008 by Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm.

This CLE course is currently 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 Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

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

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CLE Course on Compromised Competence: Addiction in the Legal Profession

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Numerous studies conducted by the American Bar Association (ABA) and state bar associations show that there is a definite correlation between substance abuse and discipline in the legal profession. The bottom line: attorneys with substance abuse issues are much more likely to face discipline and disbarment. This is the reason that some states such as California require a mandatory course on Competence Issues that focuses on substance abuse in the legal profession, and many other states allow substance abuse courses to qualify for legal ethics credit.

One recent study found that in nearly 85% of all trust fund violation cases the attorney has an underlying substance abuse problem.

To learn more about how substance abuse and addiction affects an attorney’s competence to practice law join Susan Brown as she provides her expertise into addiction and what can be done about the problem. The main issues covered include lawyer stressors that contribute to substance use & addiction, the signs of addiction and where attorneys can go to get help for themselves and fellow attorneys. To access the course please click here: Compromised Competence: Addiction in the Legal Profession.

Further issues addressed in this CLE course include:

  • The “culture” of the legal profession
  • The result of stressors
  • Perfectionism
  • DSM-V symptoms of depression
  • Symptoms of secondary traumatic stress
  • “The solution”
  • Alcohol & other substances
  • CAGE screening
  • Addictive thinking
  • Consequences of addiction in the legal profession
  • “Real lawyers don’t ask for help”
  • Suggested solutions
  • The Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP)
  • The “Other Bar”
  • Lawyers Helping Lawyers
  • Trauma
  • EMDR therapy for trauma & addiction

Susan Brown is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Board Certified Diplomate (BCD). Since 1987 she has been in private practice in San Diego, California, and her areas of expertise include mood disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance & behavioral addictions, and marriage counseling. Mrs. Brown specializes in a treatment approach called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., in 1989. She is a Certified Approved Consultant through the EMDR International Association. EMDR is an efficient, effective, and extensively researched therapy for clearing out and resolving negative traumas. Susan is often called in by attorneys to work with clients that have suffered severe trauma.

This CLE course on competence & substance abuse qualifies for Competence Issues credit in California and legal ethics credit in many  other states and is currently 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 Jersey (NJ)
  • 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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