Rethinking Your Community to Improve Ethics Compliance — and Your Outlook

From Attorney at Work authored by Megan Zavieh:

“In previous columns, I have talked about the concept of tribes and building a network to support you when your practice takes off in a major way and you need extra help. But have you thought about ways to broaden the scope of your community to help avoid violating ethics rules?

Why Community Matters

It’s easy to sit in a bubble as a solo practitioner, not interacting much with the legal world around you because you are so focused on clients. Whether bricks-and-mortar or virtual, your office is the center of your legal universe. Your clients are the critical players with pressing needs and the funds to pay your bills to keep the lights on. It’s not surprising they take precedence over getting to know other lawyers or paying attention to thought leaders.

However, you can easily miss important news and information if you don’t pay close attention. It might be akin to gossip — who was just disciplined by the state bar, for example. It might be about ethics rules — proposed or actual changes, new ethics opinions, or debate about a new technology and how the rules apply. Or, it might be super practical, say a new tool that makes it easier to comply with the ethics rules. Some of this information might make a real difference in your practice.

This is not information you want to miss.

The reality, though, is that you’ll never be able to keep up with all this information on your own. No one can. There are people whose full-time job is to sift through the latest news and create digests for busy people like you who can’t read it all themselves.

That’s where your community comes in. Your community will help keep you informed, just like that digest of the latest important news. Without it, you are bound to miss something you will wish you hadn’t.”


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