“Ethics Tonight – Season 2022” is a series of video vignettes designed to shed light on ethical issues that many attorneys face daily. While the issues raised in the series are never state-specific, we will apply the ABA Rules of Professional Conduct to the analysis of the topics presented.
In each program, three video vignettes will be shown, and a panel will discuss a series of questions that address the issues raised in each vignette. During the panel discussions, attendees will be encouraged to ask questions and share comments.
The intent of this program is to emphasize that attorneys should take time to identify and reflect upon the ethical issues that arise in the day-to-day practice of law on a more frequent basis. Ultimately, the desire is to have attendees leave the program with a greater sensitivity of the many ethical issues that can be in play any day of the week, be better prepared to view these issues as learning opportunities, and be more willing to take advantage of these opportunities in order to see that the issues are responsibly addressed and resolved.
The issues raised in Vignette One “Air Traffic Control” include ethics concerns with a subscription-based legal practice, how to proceed when the client and attorney don’t share a common language, and exploring the ethical boundaries of a mediation practice.
In Vignette Two “Conflicts in the Metaverse,” the panel will have the opportunity to discuss the meaning of the terms “materially adverse interests” and “direct adversity.” Once the meaning of each term is explained, the panel will then shift to discussing the ramifications of these two terms on a practicing attorney. This session will then finish up with a deep-dive on the topic of joint representation, including setting forth the ethical boundaries, exploring the use of advance waivers, and explaining the ethical issues that can arise when proposing or agreeing to a restriction to practice provision in a settlement offer.
Finally in Vignette Three “The Times They Are A-Changin” the program will conclude with discussions on trust accounting basics, ethical concerns with accepting cryptocurrency as payment for advanced fees, the importance of establishing communication boundaries in light of the tech-centered world we all live and work in, and finally, maintaining competency in the context of a fully virtual practice.
Since 1998, Mark Bassingthwaighte, Esq. has been a Risk Manager with ALPS, an attorney’s professional liability insurance carrier. In his tenure with the company, Mr. Bassingthwaighte has conducted over 1200 law firm risk management assessment visits, presented over 400 continuing legal education seminars throughout the United States, and written extensively on risk management, ethics, and technology. Mr. Bassingthwaighte is a member of the State Bar of Montana as well as the American Bar Association where he currently sits on the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility’s Conference Planning Committee. He received his J.D. from Drake University Law School.
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