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From 管理钱 to Telecommuting, Practice 360° Addresses Ethical Snares for D.C. 澳门赌场官网

2023年10月12日

作者:威廉·罗伯茨

Hope Todd and Erika Stillabower with Dan Schumack
从左到右依次为:D.C. 酒吧 监管法律顾问 Hope Todd and Erika Stillabower with Dan Schumack

When attorneys licensed in the District of Columbia reach out to the D.C. 酒吧 ethics hotline for confidential advice, there are those who are “surprised to learn that they’ve done something that our ethics counsel thinks is horrendous,丹·舒马克说, partner at Schumack and Guggenheim PLLC and a member of the D.C. 酒吧 法律道德 Committee.

Schumack, one of the featured speakers at the D.C. 酒吧 Practice Management Advisory Service’s ninth annual Practice 360° on October 4, joined D.C. 酒吧 Associate Director of 法律道德 Hope Todd and D.C. 酒吧 Senior 法律道德 Counsel Erika Stillabower on a panel discussing everyday legal practice scenarios where solo or small firm lawyers may unintentionally find themselves in hot water and lose their license.

“Some of those surprises are coming out when you call the ethics hotline. You might call thinking you've got problem X. And when you describe your situation to the folks on the hotline, 他们会说, “好吧, actually you have problems X, Y, 和Z,’” Schumack told attendees.

会议期间, Schumack and others focused on the sometimes confusing and complicated aspects of properly managing client money and payments, 远程办公, and serving as local counsel for outside lawyers.

管理钱

In the District of Columbia, the handling of client funds and client payments for work performed is governed by D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15. D.C. rule is similar to the American 酒吧 Association’s model rule on safekeeping property, 有一个关键的区别, Schumack说.

“We've got an exception built into our Rule 1.15 that says if you can get your client to give you their informed consent, the client can authorize you to [treat a pre-payment as your own] before you actually start the work,他说.

How the funds are handled depends on whether it is a prepayment, an hourly fee, or a retainer. “We've got a mechanism through contract that would allow you to get your client to agree that certain events will be worth a certain amount of money,舒马克说. “What those events are might be different in every area of practice. It might be different with every client. Whatever those payments are described as, [the caveat] needs to have a coherent rational nexus to the work you do.”

Unauthorized Practice of Law

D.C. 上诉法院规则第49条, which governs the unauthorized practice of law in the District, was revised  last year to provide greater clarity around telework for lawyers not licensed in the District. Todd discussed the practical implications for District lawyers who may be working from home in Virginia or Maryland.
Teleworking from another state through an office in Washington, D.C., for lawyers admitted to the D.C. 酒吧 is not a problem under Rule 49, 托德说, 而是, attorneys need to be careful and specific about how they handle remote work because there is no universal standard for what constitutes the unauthorized practice of law and they need to comply with rules of the jurisdiction from which they are working, such as Virginia or Maryland.

“If you are going to do any work in a state where you are not licensed, or if you're going to do work in a jurisdiction where you are licensed but for a client or a state matter for which you are not licensed, you need to look at the individual laws and rules governing those effective jurisdictions because they vary and they vary dramatically,托德说.

“Most of these regulations seemingly were written in a time before the telephone, much less the ability we have to practice law from space today. The [regulations] have not kept up with reality,” she added. “The pandemic certainly shot us way ahead, and what we saw was jurisdictions scrambling so that lawyers could operate in the real world. But that wasn't solved completely, and they're still trying to deal with those consequences.”

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Questions about supervision of pro hac vice attorneys by local counsel have also become more frequent since the prosecutions of January 6 protestors at the U.S. 国会大厦.

“There's always been a fairly steady stream of issues arising when lawyers are serving as local counsel, and it can be anything from a breakdown in the relationship with lead counsel or just concerns about other issues,斯蒂尔沃说. 经常, local counsel doesn't have a direct relationship of trust with the client, making it trickier sometimes to resolve concerns when they arise.

“Those types of calls [to the ethics hotline] really peaked during the January 6 prosecutions because there were so many criminal defendants in the District of Columbia coming in with attorneys from outside the District who needed local counsel to assist in getting those new counsel access to the courts through pro hac vice admission,Stillabower说.

The requirements for supervision of a pro hac vice attorney by local counsel were revised as part of the Rule 49 update in 2022, with “supervise” redefined to mean “to make reasonable efforts to ensure that another person conforms to the applicable 规则 of Professional Conduct.

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