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Our panel of three experts in legal and judicial ethics will discuss several recent cases and regulatory developments in the field, with an eye towards translating these developments into practical wisdom about their likely impact on law practice in 2017 and beyond.

The following topics will be discussed: 

Unauthorized Practice of Law and Its Growing Implications for Lawyering

We will examine some of the recent developments in UPL and its application to the delivery of legal services.  New business structures and services are beginning to test the old legal concepts.  And, as some recent cases illustrate, the ABA’s modification of Model Rule 5.5 may now be outdated.

Recent Developments in Attorneys’ Fees

As practice continues to evolve, the ABA, the state bars, and some courts have provided more guidance on lawyer issues relating to attorneys’ fees. In some cases, lawyers are using creative language to protect their rights and in other cases, client protection remains an important interest.

A Sampling of Ethical Pitfalls in the Electronic Age

Many seminars and much advertising tout the virtues of establishing or enhancing a lawyer or a firm's online presence and technical tools. Increasing business, facilitating lawyer-client communications, and better managing litigation are only a few of the benefits that can result. But there is a dark side to the adoption of Electronic Age technology as well. Chief among the dangers is the unauthorized disclosure of client confidences, through inadvertence or third party mischief, but that hardly exhausts the dangers. Recent cases and ethics opinions reveal an array of other difficulties that can arise.


As an increasing number of American lawyers handle more matters that touch on more than one state, the rules governing lawyer advertising in various formats have become less and less uniform across state lines. Every state has rules that are based on Part 7 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, but almost every state made detailed and widely varying amendments before local adoption. The ABA has begun formal consideration of a proposal developed by the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) that would greatly simplify the Model Rules provisions, while eliminating most regulations that speak to matters of taste rather misrepresentation or other harms to clients.


Prof. W. William Hodes, Professor Emeritus of Law, Indiana University & President, The William Hodes Law Firm

Prof. John S. Dzienkowski, Professor of Law & Dean John F. Sutton, Jr. Chair in Lawyering and the Legal Process, Texas Law