Publications

Articles on Ethics

Client Confidentiality in the Digital Age

By Ed Finkel
May
2015
Cover Story
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
Cover Story
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.

Ethics opinion: Non-Illinois lawyers may practice immigration law in state

By Adam W. Lasker
December
2013
LawPulse
Page 606
New ISBA ethics opinions say non-Illinois lawyers can practice immigration law in the state, a lawyer can't be a municipality's prosecutor and hearing officer at the same time, and more.

The Ethics of Lost Laptops, Cloud Computing

By Mark S. Mathewson
November
2013
Column
Page 588
What duty do you have to clients if your laptop is stolen?

Blogging, Marketing, and the Rules of Professional Conduct

By Charles J. Northrup
October
2013
Column
Page 536
A recent Virginia case offers dos and don'ts for lawyer blogging.

Limited Scope, Expanded Opportunity

By Ed Finkel
October
2013
Cover Story
Page 508
Recent Illinois Supreme Court rule changes enable lawyers to represent clients in litigation for only a portion of a case. Proponents say that's good for lawyers, clients, and judges.

The Zealous Advocacy of Saul Goodman

By Karen Erger
October
2013
Column
Page 538
Why is Breaking Bad's shady Saul Goodman so popular?

Ethics and Email Discussion Groups

By Christina J. Oleson
September
2013
Article
Page 464
Email discussion groups let you get quick answers from fellow lawyers, but they pose ethical pitfalls. Here's how to avoid trouble.

Ethics and the Unsolicited Email

By Charles J. Northrup
July
2013
Column
Page 370
You don't have to respond to unsolicited email, but there's a right way if you do.

Attorney-client privilege: no subject matter waiver in extrajudicial settings

By Adam W. Lasker
February
2013
LawPulse
Page 66
The Illinois Supreme Court holds that the doctrine of subject matter waiver cannot be used to force disclosure of privileged communications between lawyers and clients.

AVVO launches controversial lawyer bidding service

By Adam W. Lasker
February
2013
LawPulse
Page 66
AVVO.com's new online service allowing lawyers to quote fees for prospective traffic-ticket clients sends the public the wrong message, ISBA-member critics complain.

Lincoln on the Wall

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2013
Column
Page 104
Lincoln was an exemplary but not perfect lawyer - which makes his example all the more inspiring.

Lawyer Disqualification for Conflict of Interest

By H. Joseph Gitlin
January
2013
Column
Page 48
Denying a client the lawyer of choice should not be done lightly.

Fiduciary-duty exception to attorney-client privilege does not exist in Illinois

June
2012
Illinois Law Update
Page 292
Illinois courts have not recognized a fiduciary-duty exception to attorney-client privilege. On March 22, 2012, the Illinois Appellate Court refused to find such an exception, reversing the opinion of the trial court.

Ethics Hotspots in Client Relations

By Bonnie Booth
May
2012
Cover Story
Page 244
Returning phone calls, carefully defining your scope of representation - such client-friendly behavior isn't just good business practice, it can keep the ARDC from your door.

Governor proposes constitutional amendment to allow ethics referenda

By Adam W. Lasker
April
2012
LawPulse
Page 178
Governor Quinn proposes a constitutional amendment to allow voters to enact statewide ethics laws through ballot-initiated referenda questions.

Three Title Insurance Traps for Real Estate Lawyers

By Michael J. Rooney
March
2012
Article
Page 146
Closing protection letters, the Form DS-1 disclosure, and key 2010 revisions to the Rules of Professional Conduct are potential pitfalls for real estate lawyers.

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