Legal Scale

Updated Advisory Opinion on Ethical Practices of the Virtual and Hybrid Law Office

Over the last five years, many lawyers began the transition to remote work—then the pandemic added even more coal to the fire. Accelerated adoption of remote and hybrid work, however, did not mean there haven’t been questions about how to do so properly. The Committee on Professional Ethics recently released a new and improved advisory opinion which answers many questions about practicing in a remote or hybrid law office. “Ethical Practices of the Virtual or Hybrid Law Office” updates an opinion first published in 2016 and adds many topics relevant to today’s practice.

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New Advisory Opinion on ‘Reply All’ Emails

Is it OK to hit “Reply All” when responding to an email from another lawyer when that lawyer cc’d their own client on the initiating email? Have you just violated RPC 4.2? Or is including the other client permissible because they were already included in the initial email?
There’s a new advisory opinion which helps you answer this question. The Committee on Professional Ethics just posted Advisory Opinion 202201 on the WSBA website, which takes a comprehensive look at the issue.

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3 Questions We Frequently Answer on the Ethics Line

At the WSBA Ethics Line, we take calls all the time. Have you ever needed to hash out a sticky conflicts situation? Ever felt unsettled by your client’s behavior or unsure how to handle something confidentially? If so, you’re not alone. Here are three common questions we receive as well as a few tips we […]

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Client Confidentiality When Withdrawing – How to Avoid a Catch 22

Lawyers sometimes call the WSBA Ethics Line asking how they can file a motion to withdraw and also maintain client confidentiality. Lawyers sometimes call the WSBA Ethics Line (800-945-9722, ext. 8282) asking how they can file a motion to withdraw and also maintain client confidentiality. Fortunately, there’s a 2017 Advisory Opinion that walks you through […]

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File boxes

How Long Do You Need to Keep Closed Files?

Boxes of old, closed-case files in the garage, or incurring monthly storage fees, can be a nightmare for both large firms and the sole practitioner. On the WSBA Ethics Line, it’s not uncommon for us to field questions by attorneys taking over an established practice and inheriting mountains of closed files. What can they do […]

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Citations crash course

Responding to Negative Online Reviews

The internet and social media are a part of most attorneys’ practices, whether they’ve chosen an aggressive online presence or not. Along with marketing their practice and maintaining their digital presence, attorneys may find themselves facing a negative internet review. Sometimes they call the WSBA Ethics Line (800-945-9722 ext. 8284) asking for guidance on whether […]

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May I Donate My Legal Services at a Charity Auction?

Attorneys sometimes call the WSBA Ethics Line – 800-945-9722 ext. 8284 – wondering if they can offer legal services at a charity auction. Often, they have concerns that it might violate ethics rules, but they aren’t sure which ones. While there are reasons to be careful about auctioning your services, a properly set up donation […]

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Lost client flyer

What to Do When You Can’t Find Your Client

Every so often the ethics line takes a call from a member who is worried because they can’t contact their client and a deadline is near. Should they act to protect their client, even if they can’t reach them? What if the statute of limitations is approaching? If they don’t file suit, the client could […]

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Am I Disloyal? 3 Things to Know About Your Duties to a Former Client

Attorneys sometimes call the WSBA Ethics Line with concerns about accepting representation adverse to a former client. RPC 1.9, Duties to Former Clients, explains an attorney’s requirements in such a situation. While taking a case against a former client might feel disloyal, it may not violate the ethics rules. We provide a snapshot of RPC […]

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