Legal Ethics Counsel

Every lawyer knows that ethics rules, and compliance with relevant ethical guidelines, is a critical part of practicing law.

We also know that sometimes it can be difficult to interpret those rules in a practical way, in the context of changing regulations, internal compliance systems, and real-world ethical dilemmas.

Law firm partners and managers are called upon to do a lot. Most have responsibility for administrative and management functions at the firm while also running their own busy practices, meeting the demands of clients, managing attorney and staff teams, and supporting their colleagues. Even sophisticated general counsel need independent and discrete advice on both long term strategies and issues that require immediate attention at the firm.

Partners and managers need independent, confidential counsel who understand how law firms work and who know the practical realities of lawyering to guide the firm through these ethical gray areas. They need counsel to help properly analyze ethical issues and provide context for potential resolutions to navigate the best path forward. Partners and managers also need independent, confidential counsel to ensure that their ethical information—the most sensitive competitive information that the firm has – remains confidential.

That is where we come in.

OUR FOCUS AND EXPERIENCE MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

Our law firm is exclusively focused on counseling and advising California law firms, and firms with California offices, on the legal, ethical, and risk management issues they face day in and day out — and that’s the fundamental reason why we’re different.  We understand law firms because we focus solely on you.

This focus, and our unparalleled and wide-ranging experience with law firms, gives us the unique ability to successfully guide our law firm clients through legal ethics and compliance-related issues because we have critical context.  Our lawyers are not just experienced legal ethicists – we have broad experience in law firm practice and risk management, complex litigation, legal malpractice and discipline defense.  So, we do not analyze your issues in a vacuum, but get to know your firm and your practice, and analyze your most important ethical issues in that larger framework. That matters, because without this practical context, legal ethics answers can be illusory.

Our clients are sophisticated and understand how to navigate their businesses.  They need guidance on thornier issues; the issues in the gray.  They come to us to get independent and objective counsel.

We provide thoughtful guidance on the legal ethical issues that arise at law firms, in your practice, and with clients. From the first questions to the most complex analysis, we provide the right guidance on a variety of legal ethics issues, such as:

  • Attorney marketing and advertising;
  • Client communications;
  • Client confidentiality;
  • Client solicitation;
  • Competency and impairment issues;
  • Conflicts of interest;
  • Fee and disclosure agreements;
  • Fiduciary duties;
  • In-house ethics;
  • Lawyer-client relationships;
  • Litigation funding;
  • Multi-jurisdictional practice;
  • Professionalism and civility;
  • Referrals and fee sharing;
  • Representation ethics;
  • Social media ethics;
  • Technology ethics;
  • Unauthorized practice of law; and
  • Virtual practice and outsourcing.

 

ON POINT LEGAL ETHICS ANALYSIS THAT YOU CAN RELY ON

Our team of experienced legal ethics counsel provides on point, timely and thoughtful legal ethics analysis for law firms, partners, managers, lawyers and general counsel. We provide practical and real-world advice that law firms can trust and rely on.

We take a unique approach to tackling legal ethics issues. Our background and exclusive focus on law firms and all aspects of law practice management enables us to understand the complete picture, and to consider issues that others do not always identify or consider.

Yes, the rules are the rules, and they must be followed. And the rules that are easiest to interpret and understand rarely require explanation or further analysis from ethics counsel.  But, often when navigating a difficult legal ethics issues, other important issues are implicated.  Understanding how to manage a potential conflict of interest, for example, is not just about understanding and complying with the legal ethics rules. It’s also about analyzing whether the potential client fits with the firm’s overall business strategy, and appreciating other risks, both economically and reputationally, to the firm in taking or declining the potential representation. Some potential conflicts are easy to manage, while others create assorted problems for the firm’s clients and lawyers that need to be identified, considered and resolved at the outset.

 

We work with you to resolve your legal ethics issues in a clear and concise manner, but with a holistic approach.

LEGAL ETHICS COMPLIANCE AND PLANNING

The world for lawyers is evolving, rapidly, and so are the ethical challenges that lawyers and law firms face. Firms must have sound policies and procedures in place to address and manage ethical issues like client conflicts, confidentiality, technology, outsourcing, attorney marketing, departures, and fee arrangements, to name a few. To be effective, these policies must also work with the particular law firm culture, governance, and overall business strategy.

We review your firm systems and practices from an independent and practical perspective, and analyze them compared to best practices – but also with what really works. We work collaboratively with law firm managers to revise existing policies, and to develop or supplement new ones when it makes sense.

We also draft and revise key law firm documents to ensure compliance with current legal and ethical guidelines, including law firm engagement agreements, client disclosure agreements, partnership agreement provisions, common interest agreements, consulting attorney and contractor agreements, partner separation agreements, departure protocols and procedures, client notice letters, and third-party contracts, indemnity agreements, and administrative service agreements.