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Posts from the ‘Ethics’ Category

A crowd of bidders at an auction.

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 with a clear disclaimer can be compliant with the ethics rules. We’ll do a quick review of this scenario, but be sure to read the rules and their comments in their entirety.

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U.S. District Court Highlights Importance of Defining the Decision-Maker

Abstract depiction of a scale and gavel
A recent U.S. District Court decision highlights why it’s important to define the client decision-maker, especially for small corporations.

Abstract depiction of a scale and gavelA recent decision from the U.S. District Court in Seattle highlights why it’s important to define the client decision-maker, especially when dealing with small, closely held corporations (Kische USA LLC v. Simsek, 2016 WL 7212534, W.D. Wash. Dec. 13, 2016, unpublished). In this case, charges were brought by the owner of a retail clothing firm against two former employees who had left to start a rival apparel business. The suit claimed that one of the employees, identified as the chief executive manager, had transferred a registered trademark from the plaintiff to the new firm. The plaintiff also sued the company’s outside lawyer who had assisted with the transfer for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty. Read more »


New Advisory Opinion on Virtual Offices

Weird digital abstract STEM-ish image
The WSBA Committee on Professional Ethics released an advisory opinion on regulatory and risk management for “virtual offices.”

Weird digital abstract STEM-ish imageThe Washington State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics recently released an advisory opinion surveying regulatory and risk management issues for lawyers practicing in so-called “virtual offices.” This emerging practice arrangement can range from a solo attorney working from home to an entire firm that lacks a traditional brick-and-mortar location. Virtual offices typically rely instead on electronic resources, such as cloud-based email, filing, and billing systems. Read more »


The Latest NWLawyer is Out and Packed with Good Reads

Cover of the Dec/Jan NWLawyer
Have you seen the latest NWLawyer? Here’s what’s in the December/January issue. Get a quick read on these features.

Cover of Dec/Jan NWLawyerHave you seen the latest NWLawyer? Here’s what’s in the December/January issue. Get a quick read on these features, or check out the full issue now. Read more »


Alaska Bar Warns of “Web Bugs”

Web bug illustration
The Alaska Bar concludes the use of email-hitchhiking “web bugs” is improper.

Web bug illustrationThe Alaska Bar Association recently released a new ethics opinion on so-called “web bugs” — electronic trackers placed in email to allow the sender to see (among other things) where the recipient forwarded the email and how long the email was reviewed. In the scenario that gave rise to the opinion, an Alaska Bar member had received an email with a web bug from opposing counsel. Although the recipient discovered the web bug, the apparent intent was to track the information secretly. The recipient asked the Alaska Bar about the propriety of using web bugs. The Alaska Bar in Ethics Opinion 2016-1 concluded that the use of web bugs is improper. The opinion is available on the Alaska Bar website. Read more »