Kendra Basner is an experienced litigator and trial attorney, who counsels and advises attorneys, law firms, in-house corporate counsel and other legal services concerning legal ethics, risk management, and law practice planning and compliance with the unique perspective gained through litigating legal malpractice cases and handling discipline defense matters. Knowing and appreciating the true obstacles and risks that attorneys, law firms and legal services face helps to target the issues and streamline the solutions to minimize the risk of liability. Ms. Basner is certified as a specialist in legal malpractice law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.
Ms. Basner is a thought leader in legal ethics and law firm risk management both in California and nationally. She frequently presents on topics related to legal ethics, legal services, legal malpractice and law firm compliance; contributes to legal industry publications and resources; and holds membership and leadership roles in some of the legal industry’s most important professional groups addressing the pressing issues that face law firms and legal services today, including the State Bar of California Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC), the Editorial Board of the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct, and the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL), where she serves on the Future of Lawyering committee and the Referral Fee/Services subcommittee. She is the current Chair of the Legal Ethics Committee of the Bar Association of San Francisco and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
Ms. Basner represents attorneys, law firms, and legal service providers regarding attorney ethics issues, risk management, and compliance.
- Counsels and advises attorneys and law firms on legal ethics issues, including but not limited to, conflicts of interest, client confidentiality, attorney advertising & marketing, client solicitation, referrals and fee-sharing, fiduciary duties, fee and disclosure agreements, lawyer-client relationships, client communications, multi-jurisdictional practice, technology, cyber-security and social media.
- Serves as an outside General Counsel to law firms, advising on legal ethics, attorney and law firm State Bar registration, compliance, fiduciary duties, disciplinary matters, civil actions, and practice planning and management.
- Works on the Firm’s legal ethics and risk management audit team for law firms and legal departments, identifying and implementing best practices and resolving potential ethics compliance and practice management issues.
- Counsels lawyer and/or non-lawyer providers of alternative access to legal service, including but not limited to, legal marketing and advertising services, online legal marketplaces, attorney directories, matching services, social media platforms and other such businesses in the legal industry.
- Contributes to the California Attorney Ethics Counsel blog, reporting on recent developments and providing practical analysis of important attorney ethics issues affecting the daily practice of attorneys, law firms, and legal departments.
Ms. Basner provides advice and counsel to attorneys and law firms on a wide variety of strategic business issues and transitions, including partnership agreements and firm structure, law firm policies and procedures, law firm risk management, attorney advertising, law firm compensation systems, law firm start-up planning, law firm succession planning and law firm dissolutions.
Ms. Basner started her legal career as an Assistant Attorney General in both the criminal and fraud divisions of the Delaware Attorney General’s Office and worked for more than a decade with a large national law firm handling civil litigation and disciplinary defense for attorneys and law firms, as well as providing advice and counsel related to legal ethics and risk management issues.
Prior to her legal career, Ms. Basner was an accomplished lacrosse player. She was captain of the 1998-1999 Division 1 Duke University Women’s team who competed in the NCAA Final Four, and has maintained her involvement in the sport through coaching and playing on club teams in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, San Francisco and Napa. She currently serves as a volunteer coach for both youth soccer and lacrosse clubs in Marin County, California.
“Membership Has Its Privileges: Evolving Defenses for Lawyers,” Legal Malpractice and Risk Management (LMRM) Conference, Chicago, Illinois, March 6, 2019
“Evolving Legal Ethics: Portable Devices, the Cloud, and Social Media,” PLI TechLaw Institute 2019: The Digital Evolution, San Francisco, California, March 4, 2019
“The Top 10 Ethics Rule Changes That May Affect Your Practice,” BASF MCLE, San Francisco, California, November 8, 2018
“California’s New Rules of Professional Conduct: What You Need to Know,” Marin County Women Lawyers CLE, Greenbrae, California, October 18, 2018
“The Ethics Game: An Interactive Approach to Understanding the Top Ethics Developments This Year,” Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers’ (APRL) Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, August 3, 2018
“Making Ends Meet in the New Economy,” Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers’ (APRL) Mid-Year Meeting, Vancouver, BC, February 2, 2018
“Top 10 Ethical Blunders Made By Attorneys and How to Avoid Them,” The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) MCLE, San Francisco, CA, November 15, 2017
“The Aging Population of Lawyers: Competency, Impairments, Accommodations and Transitions,” MCLE Webinar, The State Bar of California’s Labor and Employment Law Section, September 28, 2017
“In Lawyers We Trust? Vicarious Liability in the Practice of Law,” Legal Malpractice & Risk Management Conference, Chicago, Illinois, March 1, 2017
“Technology-Related Ethics and Risk Management Issues for In-House Counsel,” ABA Section of Litigation Corporate Counsel CLE Seminar, Orlando, Florida, February 17, 2017
“The Ethics Game: An Interactive Approach to Understanding the Top Legal Ethics Developments in California in 2016,” 6th Annual January CLE Marathon, Oakland, California, January 11, 2017
“Top Tips for Ensuring Cyber Compliance, Mitigating Risk of Breach and Post Breach Obligations,” Bolton & Company Legal Risk Management & Compliance for Law Firms Series, Los Angeles, California, October 6, 2016
“From Start to Finish – Top Tips for Client Engagements & Disengagements and Managing Risk of Liability to Phantom Clients,” Bolton & Company Legal Risk Management & Compliance for Law Firms Series, Los Angeles, California, October 6, 2016
“Annual Case Law Update,” Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (“APRL”) 2016 Annual Conference, San Francisco, California, August 2016
“Health Care Practice Ethical Issues,” The Health Law Committee April MCLE Program, webcast, April 2016
“Nonclient Claims: Traditional & New Remedies,” Legal Malpractice & Risk Management Conference, Chicago, Illinois, March 2016
“The Lessons of History: Are Civility and Professionalism Ethically Compelled?,” West LegalEdcenter live webcast, June 2008
“A Perspective: The Origins and Future of the Legal Profession,” Sherwin Memel Memorial Presentation: Civility and Professionalism in Practice, California Society for Healthcare Attorneys, April 2008
Ms. Basner frequently writes and lectures on attorney professional liability and legal ethics, including:
“No Time to Waste: New Ethics Rules Effective November 1, 2018,” The Bar Association of San Francisco Bulletin, Legal Ethics Corner, August 2018
Contributor, “Legal Malpractice,” 2016, 2017 & 2018 editions, by Ronald E. Mallen
“Regulation of the Legal Profession in the United States: Overview,” Regulation of the Legal Profession Global Guide, April 1, 2017
“Taking the Easy Road Could Get Your Expert Disqualified,” Legal by the Bay, News from The Bar Association of San Francisco and the Justice & Diversity Center, December 20, 2016
“Taking the Easy Road Could Get Your Expert Disqualified,” The Bar Association of San Francisco Bulletin, Legal Ethics Corner, November 27, 2016
“The Billable Hour Stranglehold on Insurance Defense Litigation,” The Recorder, August 10, 2016
“Hollywood Trend on Movies About Legal Ethics and Attorneys,” Daily Journal, May 6, 2016
“Make Your Firm’s Practice Groups a Risk Management Tool,” The Recorder, April 6, 2016
“Actions Speak Louder Than Words: The Legal Ethics of Equality,” The Recorder, February 5, 2016
“Can Zealous Advocacy Go Too Far?,” The Recorder, January 19, 2016
“Viewpoint: The Clock in Ticking on Mediation Confidentiality,” The Recorder, December 8, 2015
“Attorney v. Client – Walking the Ethics Tightrope,” The Bar Association of San Francisco’s Bulletin, December 2015
“Location, Location, Location: What’s the Best Venue For Malpractice Claims”, ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct, October 2015
“Spinning Straw Into Gold: Attempting to Hold Lawyers Liable for Uncollectible Judgments Against Their Clients,” DRI’s For the Defense, September 2015
“Is A Penny Saved A Penny Earned When Attorney-Litigants Represent Themselves?,” PLUS Journal, May 2015
“Client On-Line Reviews of Lawyers’ Services — Right of Response? — Application of “Self-Defense” Exception to Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6,” The Lawyers’ Lawyer Newsletter – Recent Developments in Risk Management, May 2015
“Social Networking — Personal Profiles on LinkedIn — Application of the Rules of Professional Conduct,” The Lawyers’ Lawyer Newsletter – Recent Developments in Risk Management, May 2015
“Deciding Between Your Client and Your License: Which Are You Willing to Give Up?,” feature article for DRI’s The Voice, April 15, 2015
“Aging Population of Lawyers Means Colleagues Need to Keep Watchful Eye,” ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct, September 2014