Throughout the career of any attorney, ethical situations will arise. Ethical questions and situations can be a gray area requiring the consideration of varied perspectives to reach a resolution. It can be difficult for a lawyer to make the proper decision when faced with an ethical situation where the wrong choice could result in a grievance or malpractice claim. For this reason, there are resources available to attorneys who are struggling with these ethical questions.
Ethics opinions are advice to attorneys by attorneys. They can be formal or informal opinions from bar associations, or they can be private opinions issued by ethics counsel. An ethics opinion is important as it not only provides guidance, but it also can be argued in mitigation as they often demonstrate due diligence and establish a lawyer’s intent to act appropriately.
Many bar association opinions can resolve your concerns and advise you as to the right way to proceed. But often a novel issue arises, or an attorney’s situation is so fact-specific that bar opinions are not dispositive. In these circumstances, a private ethics opinion addressing a specific fact pattern set out by the inquiring attorney can be of extreme importance. A lawyer facing a questionable action should consider obtaining an ethics opinion tailored to their specific situation before they act. This will help them avoid prohibited conduct or provide them with due diligence where the expert opinion approves a contemplated course of conduct.
Our firm has issued numerous opinions that have helped other attorneys avoid potential misconduct charges, malpractice situations, and loss of legal fees. We have also helped many attorneys achieve certain desired goals ethically and professionally, such as setting up collateral businesses, marketing programs, etc. We have been able to do this because our practice is focused exclusively on working with lawyers. We have in depth knowledge of issues facing attorneys and have helped numerous lawyers and law firms navigate the gray areas as they arise and before they can result in a grievance or disciplinary proceeding.