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Ethics & Professionalism

Practice Points

What you need to know in a quick-to-read format. Find all of the Ethics & Professionalism Committee’s practice points in this archive.


“I Look Forward to Seeing You”: Why Competent and Diligent Lawyering Requires the Personal Touch
By Richard M. Hunt – August 31, 2023
Taking the time and effort to meet with our clients, witnesses, and opposing counsel and parties is key to competent and diligent representation in our post-pandemic world.

Steering Clear of Witness Minefields, Part IV: Prompting a Witness to “Not Remember”
By Paul Mark Sandler, Bruce A. Green, and John M. Barkett – May 10, 2023
Giving in to the temptation to coach a witness to “not remember” unfavorable information and to emphasize favorable information during their testimony can lead to dire circumstances.

Steering Clear of Witness Minefields, Part III: Inadvertent Production of a Privileged Document
By Paul Mark Sandler, Bruce A. Green, and John M. Barkett – May 3, 2023
When the inadvertent production of a privileged document occurs, remember that the rules of evidence and procedure, as well as the ethics rules, provide important guidance.

Steering Clear of Witness Minefields, Part II: Conferring with a Witness During a Deposition Break
By Paul Mark Sandler, Bruce A. Green, and John M. Barkett – April 26, 2023
Witnesses often ask their lawyer for feedback or even help during their deposition. A wise lawyer will know and follow the rules and case law for the jurisdiction that they are in.

Steering Clear of Witness Minefields, Part I: The Witness Who Does Not Tell the Truth
By Paul Mark Sandler, Bruce A. Green, and John M. Barkett – April 19, 2023
Knowing and following the Model Rules and relevant comments can help you maneuver through this witness minefield unscathed.


"Reply All” Redux: Does ABA Formal Opinion 503 Elevate Lawyers’ Interests above the Client’s?
By Daniel Harrington – December 1, 2022
ABA Formal Opinion 503 undermines Rule 4.2’s intended purpose of protecting non-lawyers, while affording minimal, if any, corresponding benefit.

The Ethics of Negotiation in Mediation
By Eshigo P. Okasili – October 28, 2022
Know the ethics rules and opinions regarding honest dealings with others in mediation and prepare your client from the start of the case for what that means in order to make mediation count.

ABA Formal Opinion 502 on Pro Se Lawyers: Molding Verbiage to Fit Policy
By Daniel Harrington – October 4, 2022
ABA Formal Opinion 502 clarifies that the prohibition against lawyers contacting an opposing party represented by counsel applies even to lawyers in the role of a pro se party.

Three Steps to Effective and Ethical Third-Party Discovery
By Jeanne M. Huey – April 22, 2022
Stop wasting your time and your client’s money: To get the most from your third-party discovery requests, mind your manners and stick to the ethics and procedural rules you know.


ABA Formal Opinion 500: An Impractical Standard for the Real-World Practice of Law?
By Jeanne M. Huey – December 3, 2021
ABA Formal Opinion 500 sets out some of the important considerations to ensure compliance with the ethics rules in these situations—but there are a few more things to take into account.

Unauthorized Practice of Law Update: Ohio Breaks New Ground on Remote Practice Rules
By Daniel Harrington – October 8, 2021
Practicing law from a jurisdiction where you are not licensed is fraught with challenges under ABA Rule 5.5; Ohio has amended its ethics rules to make clear what is required of lawyers who are physically located but not licensed there.

Twin ABA Ethics Opinions Cover What You Need to Know about Remotely Practicing Law
By Laurie Webb Daniel and Philip George – May 15, 2021
Two opinions issued during the COVID-19 pandemic combine to address the key ethical dilemmas lawyers face when working remotely.

Candor Toward the Tribunal: The Duty to Cite Adverse Authority
By Alan D. Strasser – January 28, 2021
It is easy to misconstrue Model Rule 3.3(a)(2).


Practical Pointers for Effective Client Communication
By Jeanne M. Huey – November 24, 2020
Effective client communication is an ethical requirement. Keeping good records of those communications is a necessity for self-preservation. Today is the day to start on both.


Voices of Recovery Podcast Series
By ABA CoLAP – November 10, 2017
The ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs debuted the first of a series of podcasts that will address substance use disorders, mental health issues, addiction, and recovery issues. Episode 1 features attorney Laurie Besden, the Executive Director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania, who shares her battles with alcohol and drug addiction.

Online Attorney Referral Services Implicate Legal Ethics Issues
By Nicholas Reuhs – November 14, 2017
In an age where people turn to Google as a first step in solving their problems, how should attorneys seek to engage potential clients online?


Ninth Circuit Issues Ruling on Post-Campbell-Ewald Rule 68 Offers
By Adam E. Polk – May 31, 2016
The case is Chen v. Allstate Insurance Co.

Spokeo's "Concreteness Versus Particularity" Dichotomy
By Ashley Bruce Trehan – May 31, 2016
What will this Supreme Court ruling really mean?

Supreme Court Rules Certain Securities Cases May Proceed in State Court
By Adam E. Polk – May 31, 2016
The case is Merrill Lynch, et al. v. Manning et al.

Ninth Circuit: Severance of Unconscionable Provision of Arbitration Clause Preferred When Feasible
By Manfred Muecke – March 31, 2016
The application of unconscionability to arbitration agreements remains a gray area.

Attorney Advertising Restrictions on LinkedIn Activity
By Keith Swisher – February 8, 2016
Does a LinkedIn profile have to comply with all of the ethical restrictions on legal advertising?

Whether You Can Threaten Contempt in a Subpoena for Non-Compliance
By Ronald L. Israel – January 25, 2016
Delivering by mail is likely a no-no.

Threatening to File a Disciplinary Complaint Against Another Lawyer
By John Mastando and Jay Minga – January 4, 1016
The NYC Bar Association issues a formal opinion on the matter.


Kirkland & Ellis Enjoined from Representing Pharma Giant Teva
By Irwin Warren and Jay Minga – December 29, 2015
The decision serves as a cautionary reminder for drafting engagement letters

TX State Bar Ethics Committee Reverses Non-Lawyer Employee Title Opinion
By Irwin Warren and Jay Minga – December 29, 2015
The committee essentially withdrew its March 2014 opinion on one-word titles

Business Law Today: Lessons in Civility from Zenith v. Matsushita
By Irwin Warren and Jay Minga – March 20, 2015
A glimpse into the behind-the-scenes efforts of one federal judge and counsel to engender professional civility duringa contentious case.

Ethics and Professionalism Committee Co-Hosts JIOP Roundtables Non-Lawyer Employee Title Opinion
By Will Knight – March 18, 2015
advice on putting your best foot forward when Interviewing in judicial chambers, what hiring judges are actually looking for in a competitive applicant, and the impact of the Model Code of Judicial Conduct on court employees.

DE Supreme Court Applies Fiduciary Exception to Privilege
By Hope A. Comisky and Jessica K. Davis – March 11, 2015
A recent decision is likely to have a significant impact on the application of the corporate attorney-client privilege.

A Note on the Celgard Decision
By Irwin Warren – March 11, 2015
An important reminder to attorneys as to the scope of the analysis in which they need to engage, in deciding whether they can take on a new client or matter.

Philadelphia Bar Association Joins the Law Firm Officer Title Debate
By Irwin Warren – March 5, 2015
Debate continues over whether law firms may or may not give titles to non-lawyer employees.