Publications

Articles on Ethics

False, Misleading, and Worth Your Attention

By Charles J. Northrup
October
2018
Column
Page 52
Revisiting the ethical principles guiding Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 7.1.

Think Twice Before Responding to Negative Online Reviews

By Bailey E. Felts
July
2018
Column
Page 50
Navigating ethical landmines surrounding negative online reviews.

Better left unsaid?

By Matthew Hector
June
2018
LawPulse
Page 10
Social media and blogging habits can test attorneys' confidentiality obligations.

Limited Scope Representation in Transactions - Put It in Writing

By Charles J. Northrup
April
2018
Column
Page 52
No written agreement is required in Illinois for limited scope transactional work. But as a recent New York case shows, it's best to put it in writing.

An Ethics Roadmap for Lawyer Referrals

By Bailey E. Felts
January
2018
Column
Page 48
Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct 1.5(e), 5.4(a), and 7.2(b) are important places to look for guidance about referral 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"?

New Jersey regulators say lawyers can’t participate in Avvo client-linking service

By Matthew Hector
September
2017
LawPulse
Page 12
Three New Jersey Supreme Court committees found that the "marketing fee" taken by Avvo is improper fee-splitting with nonlawyers.

Attorney referral agreements still enforceable as to fee sharing absent language requiring “joint responsibility”

August
2017
Illinois Law Update
Page 18
On May 18, 2017, the Illinois Supreme Court held that Illinois attorneys who receive clients under referral agreements must pay the referring attorneys the agreed fee even when the agreement does not include language explicitly stating they share "joint financial responsibility."

Ethics and Social Media

By Richard S. Kling, Khalid Hasan, and Martin D. Gould
August
2017
Article
Page 30
Social media is a trove of potential evidence, but lawyers must be mindful of ethical limits before attempting to get and use it. This article looks at the small body of law and advisory opinions applicable to social media evidence and related issues.

Yes, you must report judicial misconduct

By Matthew Hector
August
2017
LawPulse
Page 12
An attorney's duty to report attorney misconduct under Rule of Professional Conduct 8.3 extends to judges, too.

‘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.

From the Newsletters - Referring cases the right way

June
2017
Article
Page 22
Referring cases can be good for clients and the referring attorney - just make sure you know what your obligations are.

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.

From the Newsletters - Ethics and the GAL

February
2017
Article
Page 41
Because guardians ad litem are protectors, not advocates, they aren't subject to some of the ethical principles that apply to lawyers representing clients.

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.

ISBA ethics opinion OKs storing client info in the cloud

By Matthew Hector
January
2017
LawPulse
Page 14
Lawyers can store client information on cloud-based servers, an ISBA ethics opinion says, but only if they take the proper precautionary steps.

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.

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