Rules of Professional Conduct

A pair of new and interesting twists in the ongoing story of lawyers resisting in-person appearances in Immigration Courts due to COVID-19 surfaced recently. First, an opinion was issued by the N.Y. State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics stating that an attorney could withdraw from a case if he/she had a fear of contracting

Every year, the New Jersey State Bar Association holds its Annual Meeting in Atlantic City. This year, for the first time ever, the Annual Meeting went virtual. Lawyers from CSG made history by participating in an ethics panel which drew the highest number of participants in the State Bar’s history.

Ronald Israel, Esq., Member,  and

On April 10, 2020, the Pennsylvania Bar Association (“PBA”) Committee on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Formal Opinion 2020-300, which outlines the ethical obligations for lawyers working remotely.  Lawyers must be particularly mindful of the ethical obligations identified in the Opinion in light of the shift to remote work necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

States have struggled with advising lawyers admitted to their bars as to whether and to what extent they can advise their clients on cannabis-related issues knowing that federal law still forbids the possession, distribution, sale, or use of marijuana.  The concern is that under the Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(d) “A lawyer shall not counsel

The Appellate Division recently ruled that a retainer agreement which contained a mandatory arbitration clause, for both fee disputes and legal malpractice claims, is unenforceable against the firm’s former client,  under the circumstances. Delaney v. Trent S. Dickey and Sills Cummis & Gross, PC, Docket No. A-1726-17T4, decided August 23, 2019.

Appellant Delaney sought

As the Model Rules of Professional Conduct demonstrate, a lawyer may serve many functions for a client: advisor, advocate, negotiator, or evaluator, to name a few.  Under any role, however, a lawyer is obligated to act with the best interests of his or her client in mind, even when the client is not paying for

On June 25, 2019, the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics issued Opinion Number 735, deciding that Lawyer A can ethically purchase a Google AdwordSM or keyword that is competitor Lawyer B’s name (e.g., Pat Smith Law Firm purchases a keyword for Alex Doe Law Firm, so that when users search “Alex Doe Law Firm,” Pat Smith Law Firm will also appear in the search results, generally as an “ad.”  Lawyer A, however, crosses the line when (s)he pays a search engine to insert a hyperlink on Lawyer B’s name that diverts the user to Lawyer A’s firm when the user clicks on it. 
Continue Reading Lawyers may purchase a Google AdwordSM or keyword that is a competitor lawyer’s name, but there are ethical limits to what lawyers can do with search engine services

The ABCNY has issued Formal Opinion 2019-5, requiring a lawyer receiving payment in cryptocurrency to comply with RPC 1.8(a) (business transactions with client), concluding it is different than an ordinary fee agreement.  It is thus advisable for attorneys to become familiar with RPC 1.8(a) and not assume that a typical engagement letter will be sufficient.

On June 25, 2019, the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics issued Opinion Number 736, deciding that a lawyer is not per se prohibited from concurrently serving as a municipal prosecutor and planning board attorney in the same borough.  This Opinion represents the latest in an ongoing series over the years that have responded to RPC changes on the delicate and often complicated conflicts of interest analysis that accompanies the representation of government entities – while cautioning lawyers to be mindful of the case-by-case analysis in RPCs 1.7(a)(2) and 1.8(k) that still applies.
Continue Reading Lawyers may now serve as municipal prosecutor and planning board attorney in same municipality: (Opinion 736)