COVID-19 and Legal Ethics: Novel Issues
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April 6, 2020
New Jersey Association for Justice
Never in our lifetimes has a natural threat impacted our lifestyles, our livelihoods and our futures so extensively and so quickly as the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. It is hard to imagine anything short of war or Earth’s collision with an asteroid having such potential for the destruction of families, business, national economies and even our civilization. Some experts fear that we are still on the front edge of the problem and that it is still impossible to predict the extent of the devastation to expect.
But life goes on, and the myriad reasons that clients need lawyers continue to exist. So does the reason that lawyers need clients. Today, however, practicing law is significantly different than it was even a month ago. The fear of infection has caused the shuttering of businesses - even industries - courthouses and law offices. It has brought about the prohibition of meetings and caused us to rethink how humans must communicate and work together without being in the same place. Much of this is temporary; how temporary we don’t know.
The virus and its resulting quarantines, curfews and conditions have raised many issues for attorneys. Some of the issues concern the mandates and prohibitions of attorney conduct under the Rules of Court and the RPCs. Primarily, the focus is on competence, confidentiality and communication. We also examine the lawyer’s obligation to protect our clients and imagine the ways in which we can run afoul of the Rules in this new, work-from-home, no-handshake world.
Program Titles and Supporting Materials
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If applicable, you may obtain credit in multiple jurisdictions simultaneously for this program (see pending/approved list below). If electing credit for this program, registrants in jurisdictions not listed below will receive a Certificate of Completion that may or may not meet credit requirements in other jurisdictions. Where applicable, credit will be only awarded to a paid registrant completing all the requirements of the program as determined by the selected accreditation authority.
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