June/July 2013, Issue 6 Volume 1
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In This Issue
Top Ten List of Things You Can Do to Protect Your Legal Reputation
For Your Information
CLE Ethics Programs
Quick Links

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Allison L. Wood

500 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 300
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Solo Practice University - Managing the Attorney-Client Relationship;  Navigating Social Media Ethically; Conflicts of Interest; and Ethical Duties to Courts
Ethics Presentations by Ms. Wood
June 7, 2013
1st  Minority CLE Conference
June 2,  2013 (sponsor)
Chicago Law Bulletin Ethics Seminar 2013


May 15, 2013
PWCC Lawyers
April 23, 2013
HipPocketEthics Program
Monthly Ethics Workshop
April 10, 2013
The Decalogue Society
February 27, 2013
Black Women Lawyers' Association
January 17, 2013
Balancing Act by Solo Practitioners
Sept. 13, 2012
Illinois Bar Association's Solo/Small FIrm Conference
Sept. 4, 2012
Chicago Bar Association's Solo/Small Firm  Committee
Why Your Firm Might Need an Ethics Check-Up
August 15, 2012
American Bar Association
Making More Money By Being More Ethical
June 27, 2012
DePaul Unversity College of Law Solo Practitioner Alums
May 23, 2012
Chicago Bar Association's Solo/Small Firm Conference
April 26, 2012
Chicago Bar Association's YLS Business Torts Committee
The Litigator's Ethical Duties to Clients, Courts, and Adversaries
April 19, 2012
Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois
What You Need to Know About the ARDC and How You Can Protect Your Reputation
March 6, 2012
Chicago Bar Association's Solo/Small Firm Committee
Ethical Traps to Avoid When Using Social Media

Protecting Your Legal Reputation
Helping Good Attorneys Stay Out of Disciplinary or Malpractice Trouble


Dear Colleague:  


I hope this issue finds you well. So much going on that I want to share with you. I had my first ethics workshop (yes, I will do another one soon). I had mouth-watering beignets and enjoyed "Lawyers on Parade" in New Orleans for the ABA Lawyer Professional Liability Conference (hope to see everyone at the next one in San Diego). I was one of the sponsors for the Chicago Law Bulletin Ethics Seminar 2013 (thanks to all who stopped by my table). I was thrilled to be a presenter at the 1st Minority CLE Conference (invite me again, please). And, I attended the Lawyers' Assistance Program (LAP) volunteer training  so I can learn how to assist lawyers with substance abuse or mental health issues. Gratitude to all who invite me to speak or participate; and appreciation to all who attend my ethics workshops and presentations.  


As a sponsor for the Ethics Seminar 2013, and a presenter at the Minority CLE Conference, I handed out a Top Ten List of Things You Can Do To Protect Your Legal Reputation. Since it is a list that will help every lawyer reduce their disciplinary and malpractice risk, it is being featured in this issue. In the FYI section you can learn a little bit about LAP. Pay it forward and share this issue with every lawyer you know and love. You might be saving someone's practice in more ways than one. 


Hope you are having a great summer!



Warm Regards,


P.S. For legal ethics updates and malpractice avoidance tips,

 invite me to join your Linkedin network, or follow me on Twitter @HipPocketEthics. Not on twitter? You can still follow my tweets on my website www.legalethicsconsulting.com


P.S.S. June 30, 2013 is the deadline for MCLE reporting for Illinois Attorneys with last names M-Z. You need 6 ethics CLE so be sure to see the ethics CLE listing that appears below. In addition to the courses listed, all bar associations have seminars on demand so check the individual websites. 






by Allison L. Wood


 Malpractice claims generally result from issues relating to one of the following four areas:

(1) managing the practice; (2) lack of specialization; (3) client intake/retention/screening; or (4) conflicts. Disciplinary claims primarily arise from issues related to the attorney-client relationship, such as neglect and failure to communicate. Here are ten things you can do to reduce your risk of lawyer liability and to protect your legal reputation. Most will sound obvious but many are challenging to implement consistently. The most important one is the last one.


10.  Stay in your lane. Refrain from taking cases outside of your primary area of practice.


9. Use social media responsibly. If you can't do it off-line, don't do it on-line. 


8 .Even if the deadline is looming, don't take short-cuts. 


7. .Address client complaints head-on and use them as opportunities to improve your practice


6. .Take the time to specifically explain fees to clients and send invoices regularly.


5. Conduct a complete conflicts analysis before taking on a new matter.


4. Maintain a calendaring system that you consistently use.


3. Keep clients updated on status and impending deadlines.


2. Schedule a block of time everyday to return client calls.








Lawyers' Assistance Program, Inc., created in 1980 by the Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association, provides assistance to any Illinois judge, attorney, or law student whose professional performance may be impaired due to addiction or mental illness. It is estimated that ten to twenty per cent of Illinois attorneys and judges suffer from addiction or mental illness.


In this way, LAP not only helps to save the lives and practices of impaired attorneys, it also contributes to the protection of the public, the continued improvement of the integrity and reputation of the legal profession, and, because assistance to an impaired lawyer often prevents future ethical violations, the reduction of disciplinary actions against impaired attorneys.


You can talk to experienced clinicians who are also lawyers about stress, anxiety, or depression and it will always  be confidential. Since $7 of your annual registration dues goes to LAP, the service is free.


20 South Clark Street, Suite 1820, Chicago, Illinois 60603

(312) 726-6607                              Lawyers' Assistance Program

Ethics Programs By The Bars 


June 18, 2013

Crossroads of Ethics and Technology for Government


Check the website for archived ethics programs 


Illinois Bar Association


July 30, 2013 

Attorney Ethics in Real Estate 


Check the website for archived ethics programs 



American Bar Association


June 17, 2013

Ethical Tools to Defuse Incivility


June 18, 2013

Ethics for Trademark Attorneys Practicing Before the USPTO


June 20, 2013

Moving Your Practice to the Cloud, Safely and Ethically


June 26, 2013

Our Lips are Sealed or Are They? The Black, White, and Shades of Gray in Model Rule 1.6


July 25, 2013

Professional Responsibility in Representing Persons with Diminished Capacity and Disabilities 


CLE WEBCASTS (on-demand recordings) found on the ARDC website. List of MCLE courses


If you would like to have your ethics program posted here, please send information about the program to aw@legalethicsconsulting.com

"A reputation once broken may possibly be repaired, but the world will always keep their eyes on the spot where the crack was."  

                                                                                                  Joseph Hall 



This newsletter was created to be a source of legal ethics and malpractice information and to provide suggested practice tips that may reduce your risk of becoming the subject of such claims. It is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking specific ethics advice or counseling; disciplinary or malpractice defense; expert testimony; or you need an ethics speaker for your program, please contact me at aw@legalethicsconsulting.com.