Presented by the Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct
April 16, 2021
9:30 a.m.–4:10 p.m. Live Stream via Zoom
Cost: Free (Registration limited to 500 participants)
This program offers 4.0 hours of MCLE credit in legal ethics, 1.25 hours of MCLE credit in competence issues, and has been approved for legal malpractice legal specialization credit by the State Bar of California.
9:30 a.m.–9:45 a.m. Welcoming Remarks
9:45 a.m.–11:15 a.m. Recent Developments in Legal Ethics–What You Need to Know
This panel will discuss important developments in legal ethics, centering on recent opinions from the State Bar. Topics will include the limits of prohibited assistance and advising cannabis businesses; law firm departures; litigation funding; data breaches; and advising a client with diminished capacity.
11:25 a.m.–12:40 p.m. Lawyer Impairment: Risks & Responsibilities
Lawyers are not relieved of their ethical duties as a result of their impairment. The Rules of Professional Conduct specify that an impaired lawyer's colleagues may also be held responsible for an impaired lawyer's failure to comply with the ethics rules. This panel will discuss California's ethics rules regarding lawyer competence and the responsibilities of colleagues. It will also provide a comprehensive discussion of cognitive impairment, its impacts; possible ways to avoid and/or mitigate the impacts; the unfortunate consequences if a lawyer's cognitive impairment is not timely addressed, and available resources to lawyers who are impaired. This panel will also explore some best practices to help minimize risk when trying to effectively balance the obligations owed to an impaired colleague while necessarily prioritizing the protection of your clients' interests.
12:40 p.m.–1:10 p.m. Lunch
1:10 p.m.–1:30 p.m. Presentation of the 2019 California Lawyers Association Harry B. Sondheim Professional Responsibility Award
This award will be presented to Richard A. Zitrin for his outstanding long-term contribution to the advancement of attorney professional standards in California.
1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m. Failure to Launch: Ethical Issues at the Start of Representation
With regard to legal ethics, representation, like spaceflight, can be most problematic at the beginning and at the end. Our expert panel will examine common issues at the start of representation that can scrub the mission, or perhaps worse, put you in the wrong orbit entirely, including managing client expectations from the start, the hazards of nonlawyer client intake, duties owed to prospective clients, conflict checking snafus, and the utilization of fee agreements to avoid ethical problems and manage risk.
2:55 p.m.–4:10 p.m. Lawyering in the Time of COVID: Legal Ethics in the Age of Remote Practice
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most California lawyers and their staff are working from home (WFH). While most work is being done remotely and electronically, the Rules of Professional Conduct remain in full effect. This panel will examine issues of professional responsibilities and ethical duties that demand special consideration during this unprecedented time, from an attorney’s duty of technological competence to challenges in handling confidential attorney-client communications in WFH situations, as well as questions regarding the unauthorized practice of law for those who do not reside in the jurisdiction in which they are licensed. The panel will also explore lessons learned from, and the future of, remote proceedings. Given the overall success of remote lawyering so far, the practice is likely to continue in one form or another long after the pandemic ends. The panel discussions should go a long way in assisting lawyers as they venture into the next chapter of remote practice.
This year the ethics symposium is being offered for free and is limited to 500 registrants. Register online no later than April 9, 2021.
Note: All registrants will receive a confirmation email with a link to the Zoom webinar. Only those who attend will receive an email following the event, containing a link to their MCLE certificate. You will be required to sign into Zoom to access the event. This will allow us to authenticate your attendance, so when registering, please provide the email address associated with your Zoom account.
This program offers up to 5.25 hours of MCLE credit (4.0 hours of legal ethics and 1.25 hours of competence issues). The State Bar and the Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct are approved State Bar of California MCLE providers. This program has also been approved for legal malpractice legal specialization credit by the State Bar.
For questions regarding registration, program content, or requests for special assistance, please call 415-538-2116.