Ethics Hotline

The ethics hotline is what it sounds like: a number to call when you have an ethics question and could benefit from consulting with an independent, objective lawyer with experience in analyzing and answering ethics issues. I answered an ethics hotline for fourteen years. From that experience I learned several things:

  1. There is value in describing the issue to an independent, objective lawyer. The process of describing the issue not only conveys information, at some level it causes self-reflection which is a step on the way to understanding and solving the issue.
  2. The most important part of dealing with an ethics issue is getting the facts right. The process of talking about an ethics issue is likely to identify facts that the caller over-looked. It’s very hard to be objective about something that one is personally involved in.
  3. Assuming one calls soon enough – the phrase “call before you dig” conveys when it’s best to call – there is a better chance of preventing an ethics issue from becoming a problem, grievance or claim.
  4. While one’s intuition can be a useful tool for working toward a solution, it can also lead one in the wrong direction. There is no substitute for reading the Rules and relevant ethics opinions.

Using the ethics hotline can be a cost-effective way of preventing an ethics question from becoming a risk, or a problem that takes time and money away from the purpose of the representation, or a grievance or a claim. I invite you to call at 203-584-4769.

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