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My hope, perhaps as symbolized by the lighthouse that appears above, is to help lawyers prevent legal ethics issues from disrupting the attorney-client relationship and leading to grievances or malpractice claims. The Rules of Professional Conduct can streamline the attorney-client relationship, or, if they are not followed, can lead to a drain on time and money that should be spent on achieving the client’s goals. Take, for example, the Rule requiring a letter of engagement except where a lawyer has represented a client on a regular basis and the terms of engagement have not changed from one matter to another. One cause of disruptions leading to ethical problems is unrealistic expectations. Letters of engagement offer the opportunity to set the client’s expectations so that the lawyer and client are on the same page from the start. It is also the case that letters of engagement can offer lawyers certain protections, which are also important. A generic letter of engagement, however, may not achieve the goal of setting expectations accurately. Customized letters of engagement, which take time to draft, are more likely to describe and set expectations in a way that will last throughout the representation. This preventive lawyering for lawyers service is aimed at all lawyers from new lawyers to experienced lawyers, associates to partners, small firms to large. Many large to medium sized firms have their own ethics in-house counsel, which can raise issues of its own, but which can be an invaluable service to the firm. Solo practitioners and small firm often don’t have the resources to have an in-house ethics counsel. For lawyers in those firms I am offering to serve as an independent ethics counsel. The way I intend to offer this service is through consultation rather than representation in a grievance or malpractice claim. For consultation to work potential clients need to spot a potential ethics issue or perhaps just to have an uneasy feeling about the way things are going. When that happens, I invite you to call me so that we can talk through what’s on your mind. I offer independence, objectivity and experience. In my experience, the process of talking things through is a valuable way to get at the facts and to identify issues in the context of the Rules. It is very hard to understand much less solve ethics issues on one’s own because when we try to solve our own ethics problems, we lack independence and objectivity and may be governed by an emotional response, which is unhelpful. If you would like to talk things through, I invite you to call me at-203-584-4769

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