We hope this post finds you and your families well and safe. While ethics rules may not seem like the most pressing kind of concern right now, if you are providing legal advice now is the very time to ensure strict compliance to ensure deadlines are met and otherwise reduce the risk that a legal slip-up during the outbreak will turn into a malpractice suit.
Be Vigilant About Your Calendar
As anyone who works in the professional liability arena will tell you, routine scheduling failures and missed filing deadlines trigger a significant percentage of legal malpractice claims.
And with the coronavirus forcing people around the country to break their daily routines and cancel plans, the risk that distracted lawyers and staff will overlook a court alert email or forget to put an entry into calendaring software is high.
With all the other things on their minds, lawyers should make time to double-check that routine calendaring tasks and email checks are getting done on time and with the same level of attention. This is especially true in jurisdictions like New York that have essentially closed the courts for non-emergent matters and tolled dates for about one month.
Do Not Provide Quick Legal Advice
This best practice standard is even more important to follow with clients facing emergent issues with their lives and businesses. You must resist the temptation, however, to provide quick, off-the-cuff, legal advices, let alone best guesses. If you need to look into a legal issue or read a document more carefully (which should not be done on your phone), tell the client you need to get back to them.
For additional information pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak, please visit CSG’s COVID-19 Resource Center.