Illinois Bar Journal


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Articles on Ethics

Inform Yourself about Informed Consent By Charles J. Northrup October 2017 Column, Page 52 Nearly a third of Illinois ethics rules require lawyers to get a client's informed consent before proceeding. But what is "informed consent"?
‘S’ is for ‘Summer Students,’ Who Require ‘Supervision’ By Bailey E. Felts July 2017 Column, Page 52 Clerkships can be great for students and law offices, but supervising lawyers need to play an active role.
Ethics and Airport Lawyers By Charles J. Northrup April 2017 Column, Page 50 Here's why the prohibition against in-person solicitation almost certainly didn't apply to lawyers who advertised their services in response to President Trump's immigration order.
Consumer Legal Forms and UPL By Bailey E. Cunningham January 2017 Column, Page 49 Are online-forms vendors engaged in the unauthorized practice of law? Yes, if they're giving legal advice.
Beware the Specter of the Nonrefundable Advance Fee By Charles J. Northrup October 2016 Column, Page 54 Any fee is refundable if it wasn't earned or isn't reasonable. Calling an advance fee "nonrefundable" is usually asking for trouble.
From the Newsletters - New supreme court rules up the ante for tech competence July 2016 Article, Page 41 New supreme court rules up the ante for tech competence.
Nonlawyer Ownership of Law Firms: A Recurring Debate By Bailey E. Cunningham July 2016 Column, Page 48 Nonlawyer law-firm ownership threatens the professional independence of lawyers.
The Ethics of Representing Corporations By Christopher P. Clasby June 2016 Article, Page 40 When you represent a corporation, do you also represent the officers and directors? May you represent them individually? These and related ethical questions arise when your client or opponent is a corporation.
Preventive Regulation By Ed Finkel June 2016 Article, Page 22 Illinois attorney regulators are taking a hard look at "proactive management-based regulation," which would encourage - and perhaps someday require - lawyers to put systems in place that help prevent ethical missteps before they happen.
Avvo and the Ethics of ‘Lead Generation’ By Charles J. Northrup April 2016 Column, Page 54 Lead-generating services are proliferating - don't step onto ethical thin ice.
The Ethics of Endorsing By Bailey E. Cunningham January 2016 Column, Page 50 Might your LinkedIn endorsements run afoul of ethics rules?
New ethics rules address outsourcing, technological competence, and more By Matthew Hector December 2015 LawPulse, Page 12 Changes in Illinois ethics rules address lawyers' obligation to be technologically competent, when they must disclose to clients that they are outsourcing work, and other issues.
Do you have to give clients their files? November 2015 Article, Page 24 In Illinois, clients own briefs and other "end products" of the matter, but lawyers control early drafts and notes.
Rethinking Email Encryption By Charles J. Northrup October 2015 Column, Page 46 Evolving ethics standards make it more important than ever for lawyers to understand encryption.
The Good Wife’s Lessons in Legal Ethics By Bailey E. Cunningham July 2015 Column, Page 52 The Good Wife poses ethical puzzlers for Illinois lawyers.
Client Confidentiality in the Digital Age By Ed Finkel May 2015 Article, Page 20 The pathways for breaching client confidentiality - whether due to simple carelessness or inadequate security - continue to multiply as technology advances.
Pitching: Bring Your ‘A’ Game By Charles J. Northrup April 2015 Column, Page 44 There's nothing wrong with pitching yourself to a prospective client – as long as you follow key ethics rules.
The sting of IOLTA overdraft alerts By Matthew Hector March 2015 LawPulse, Page 14 Since 2011, banks have been required to report IOLTA-account overdrafts to the Illinois ARDC. The resulting investigations often uncover bookkeeping mistakes that get lawyers into trouble.
Can You Accept Bitcoins as Payment? By Bailey E. Cunningham January 2015 Column, Page 44 The short answer is "yes," but make sure you follow the ethics rules.
Beware the New, Stricter Standards for Referral Fee Agreements By Jeffrey C. Blumenthal December 2014 Article, Page 582 Will the court enforce your referral fee agreement? A recent case ups the ante by requiring strict, not merely "substantial," compliance with ethics rules.
ISBA ethics opinion: lawyers may advise clients on medical marijuana By Matthew Hector December 2014 LawPulse, Page 566 A new ISBA advisory opinion says that lawyers can advise clients in the medical marijuana business and counsel local governments about zoning for cultivation centers and dispensaries.
The Disengagement Letter: Saying a Good Goodbye By Charles J. Northrup October 2014 Column, Page 504 Formally acknowledging the end of your representation can lead to a happier ending - and a new beginning.
If: The Ethical Obligations of Subordinate Lawyers By Karen Erger October 2014 Column, Page 502 Subordinate lawyers have to exercise independent judgment, even if it means standing up to a supervising lawyer.
Accepting credit-card payments? Mind your trust-account ps and qs By Mark S. Mathewson September 2014 LawPulse, Page 418 Make sure retainer-fee payments by credit card are going into your trust account and not your general office account, an ISBA ethics opinion admonishes.
Where There’s a Will, There’s an Ethical Duty By Bailey E. Cunningham July 2014 Column, Page 350 Storing your client's will? Understand the ethical obligations.
Lawyer sues after his YouTube post of client leads to suspension By Janan Hanna May 2014 LawPulse, Page 214 A lawyer who was disciplined for posting a YouTube video of police buying drugs from his client has filed a federal lawsuit challenging his suspension.
A Lawyer’s Duty to Understand Technology: The Forest and the Trees By Charles J. Northrup April 2014 Column, Page 196 Lawyers' ethical obligation to understand technology comes under the heading competence.
The Ratings Game By Janan Hanna March 2014 Article, Page 124 Sites like Avvo that rate lawyers and encourage consumer reviews are evoking reaction positive and negative in the legal community – and posing interesting ethical challenges.
Implicit Bias in the Courts By Justice Michael B. Hyman January 2014 Article, Page 40 Implicit bias and stereotypes can affect the fairness of legal proceedings. It's important for lawyers and judges to examine unconscious attitudes and their hidden dangers.
A New Lawyer’s Guide to Ethics By Bailey E. Cunningham January 2014 Column, Page 46 Here's how to get off to a good start.