Resources to Go with Ethical Considerations for Virtual Law Offices (VLOs) – Course #ET161001
In our California MCLE ethics course “Ethical Considerations for Virtual Law Offices,” taught by Brenda Edwards, Esq., you will hear references to a number of websites that contain helpful information and resources for virtual law offices (VLOs). The following is a list of those sites and other resources.
- Entity form: other states versus CA (professional company versus LLC); filing as foreign company
- Forming a California-based professional corporation:
- Out-of-state: I.e. Oregon-can create an LLC
- Duty of competence in using third-party technologies in course of client representations. http://ethics.calbar.ca.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=wmqECiHp7h4%3d&tabid=837
- Browser security: SSL
- State Bar of California’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct, in Formal Opinion 2010-179, states
- Encryption plug ins for law firms
- Cloud-based software
- Client funds/security of documents
- links to forms: http://ethics.calbar.ca.gov/Ethics/ClientTrustAccountingResources.aspx
- CA State Bar advisory opinion: http://ethics.calbar.ca.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=ngt5WX-QswE%3D&tabid=836
- flat fee/retainer fees: https://www.sfbar.org/ethics/opinion_1980-1.aspx
- lawpay: https://lawpay.com/how-it-works/faq/
- Scams using client accounts-common where face-to-face contacts are not necessary to effect a business transaction
- Summary Advisory Opinion on virtual law offices (VLO): http://ethics.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/9/documents/Opinions/CAL%202012-184-ADA.pdf
Here is a description of the course itself:
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).
To order the course, please visit [LINK].