July 2022: Worried or Wondering

You’ve been busy focusing on what matters most. We have been handling the rest. Here is a summary of some of the more interesting or frequently asked questions we received from you this month.

Legal Ethics

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  • Do my online lawyer advertisements need an LSBA filing number? No, online ads are exempt from the filing and review requirements. You may include a filing number if you want to, but the filing number is not required for online ads.
  • Must I self-report my own misconduct? A lawyer has no legal or ethical obligation to blow the whistle on himself and self-report a disciplinary violation. Louisiana Rule 8.3(a) provides that “[a] lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a question as to the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.” Self-reporting is not required by Rule 8.3(a), which applies only to a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct by “another” lawyer. Moreover, compelled self-reporting of lawyer misconduct could raise Fifth Amendment issues.
  • May a lawyer negotiate an aggregate settlement on behalf of two clients? Yes, but you must comply with Rule 1.8(g) and obtain the client’s informed consent, confirmed in writing.
  • The new 2022 Louisiana Legal Ethics Book is now available online for purchase.
  • All blog posts on the Louisiana Legal Ethics website have been organized into a Post Index to help you quickly locate posts on the topic you are interested in.

Lawyers Behaving Badly

Live, in-person solicitation of prospective clients can land lawyers in big trouble with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. The ABA recently issued guidance on when and how lawyers can solicit new clients within the disciplinary rules.

Virtual lawyering has made life easier for many lawyers. Virtual lawyering, however, has tempted some lawyers to cross the line when it comes to conduct during court proceedings.

Practice Tips

Embarrassment is often a person’s first reaction after hitting “reply to all” when sending an email that required only a “reply.” How can a lawyer avoid a “reply to all” problem? Here are a few tips.

A lawyer may sign a colleague’s name on a legal pleading with the consent of the lawyer colleague. But a lawyer who does so without the colleague’s knowledge or consent may face discipline. Always get the consent of a colleague before singing his or her name on a legal pleading.

Worried? Wondering? Just Ask.

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