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Posts from the ‘Ethics’ Category

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New Advisory Opinion on Virtual Offices

The 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.

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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 »


What to Do When You Can’t Find Your Client

Lost client flyer
What if you can’t contact your client and a deadline is near? Should you act to protect them, even if they can’t be reached?

lost client flyerEvery 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 be extremely prejudiced, but all efforts to contact the client by phone, email and mail brought dead ends. While I can’t give members legal advice, I can walk them through the rules that cover this situation. Read more »


Supreme Court Holds No Privilege for Communications with Former Employees

Cartoon of man with mouth full of bricks
No attorney-client privilege for communications between corporate or governmental counsel and former employees, state Supreme Court rules.

Cartoon of man with mouth full of bricksIn a case of first impression in Washington, the state Supreme Court recently held that communications between corporate or governmental counsel and former employees do not fall within the attorney-client privilege even if the communications concern matters that occurred during a former employee’s work for the corporation or government agency involved. The Supreme Court’s 5–4 decision in Newman v. Highland School District No. 203, ___ Wn.2d ___, ___ P.3d ___, 2016 WL 6126472 (Oct. 20, 2016), was on discretionary review. Read more »