This is slide deck from a presentation I gave this morning as part of a panel for the South Carolina Law Review Symposium entitled, On Task?: Expanding the Boundaries of Legal Education.More »
Archive for the ‘Practice Management’ Category
I was thrilled to read that unbundling was mentioned several times at Reinvent Law in NYC last Friday. Unbundling, or limited scope representation, is the primary delivery method used by many of the newer, online methods of legal service delivery.More »
The RocketHub crowdfund campaign was launched yesterday to raise funds to build out the estate planning game, Estate Quest. Funds will be used to build out four additional levels of the game, playtest, refine, and provide to the public to play for free. In exchange for donations, I’m giving away some signed copies of my books, a bundle of books, legal tech resources, legal tech consulting time, and some other interesting gifts.More »
Below are the slides for a presentation I’ll be giving at the annual LSC TIG conference this week with Teri Ross, Program Director at Illinois Legal Aid Online. They cover basic info about games and why we believe they can be used to educate and direct the public to legal services. We will also be going into an explanation of the two games in development and how to go about developing other games for legal services.More »
The LSC has released the final version of the Report of the Summit on the Use of Technology to Expand Access to Justice on the that resulted from a Tech Summit that took place over the past two years. I attended both the first “blue sky” brainstorming meeting and the second “practice implementation” meeting of the Summit.More »
The Bona Fide Office Rule has reappeared in the news again. I’ve written about the Bona Fide Office rule here several times, mostly with regard to New Jersey’s joint ethics opinion on the subject. Other states have been revisiting surrounding issues in terms of the lawyer’s requirements to provide certain contact information on his or her website or other advertising and in that requirement calling for some physical office address.
Bona Fide Office rules discourage lawyers from finding alternative and often more affordable methods of delivering legal services to clients. Requiring that a member of the bar provide contact information to the regulatory body is obviously necessary. Requiring that a lawyer provide his or her clients with a reliable method of contacting the lawyer is also necessary.
However, a lawyer does not need to maintain a traditional, physical law office seven days a week during 9-5 business hours in order to accomplish either of these. He or she does not have to retain the services of an employee to work at that law office in order to answer the phone when the lawyer is not present to accomplish adequate and reliable communication with his or her clients.
The Supreme Court of Delaware recently issued an Opinion that suspended a lawyer who worked from his home office in Pennsylvania while practicing Delaware law. The lawyer’s violation of their Bona Fide Office Rule 12 was not the only item at issue in this opinion which is why I will not go into it in detail except for their discussion of the Bona Fide Office Rule which will mostly like be read by other lawyers in Delaware and potentially discourage them from considering virtual law practice and delivering legal services online to clients.
According to the Court:
“[t]he Rule requires that the office “be a place where the attorney or a responsible person acting on the attorney’s behalf can be reached in person or by telephone,” and have “the customary facilities for engaging in the practice of law.”
There is no mention of the possibility of the lawyer working from home and delivering legal services in unbundled fashion to his or her clients. There is no mention of the use of temporary/as needed renting of office space so that the lawyer can meet with the clients for full service representation, but continue to conduct the majority of their work with clients online. There is technology available to securely work with clients online. This technology decreases the cost of overhead of a traditional law office which in turn decreases the cost of legal fees. There is NO EXCUSE why States should not consider alternative forms of legal service delivery.
The lawyer that was suspended in this case was only using the phone to call his clients. There was no mention of any secure client portal or other virtual law office technology. But it’s the way that the Court addressed the Rule in their Opinion that disturbs me. They must start thinking outside of the Bona Fide Office Rule. It does not make sense anymore on so many levels to restrict how lawyers communicate with clients to in-person visits. Supporting a Bona Fide Office Rule is barrier that is going to continue to discourage lawyers from finding innovative and cost-effective ways to serve the public and increase access.More »
I was on a call last night preparing for a panel presentation at the Univ. of San Francisco where we will be discussing lawyer advertising and regulation. The event is entitled Legal Ethics in the 21st Century: Technology, Speech, and Money. I’m going back through some of my materials on this topic and thought I’d share. The below is a sidebar from my book about lawyer online advertising. With the Florida Bar going crazy with restrictions on lawyer blogs, it’s time to start pushing this matter forward.More »