Ethics Challenges in the Virtual Law Firm
1/2 Hour of CA MCLE Legal Ethics Credit.
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Virtual Law Firm. Virtual Law Office. Virtual Law Practice. All are practices in which attorneys work remotely using technology, and all are gaining in popularity in California due to their convenience and efficiency. With their virtual nature, however, virtual law firms raise potential ethical issues as the California Rules of Professional Conduct were designed with brick-and-mortar law firms in mind. It’s essential to understand how virtual practices can run afoul of these rules and act proactively with your firm. For example, are you violating the ethical standard of maintaining a client trust account in California (client’s residence) if you and the client reside in different states and funds are held electronically through online payments? (Rule 4-100: Preserving the Identity of Client Funds and Property of the Client) In this course, Brenda J. Edwards, Esq., a practicing California estate law attorney who has built her own virtual law firm, will share her proven recommendations for building an ethically sound virtual practice. In particular, the Course will address Rule 1-300 in relation to the ethical formation of your business entity (being aware of state entity formation limitations so you are not unwittingly engaged in the unauthorized practice of law), Rule 3-100 (maintaining confidentiality of client information and acting competently when relying on third parties to protect that information), Rule 3-500 (communication with clients while mitigating security risks), Rule 1-400 (advertising and solicitation rules that are easily forgotten, down to the size of the font required for the words “advertising” and the length of time you must maintain copies of mailing circulars), Rule 3-410 (professional liability insurance requirements: When you must have it and when you must disclose you don’t), and Rule 4-100 (preservation of the identify of client funds and property of the client within the virtual realm).
About the Instructor
Brenda J. Edwards, Esq, is Founder and Manager of CA Legal Help You Can Afford with Brenda Edwards, a virtual limited liability company. Edwards is an Avvo contributor with California Probate Code references and author of the Amazon book California Estate Law: Wills and Trusts Made Easy. She received her JD from the Taft Law School in Santa Ana, CA. www.calegalhelpwithbrendaedwards.com