Legal Ethics and the Coronavirus
Neil J Wertlieb, with editorial and other contributions from Kevin Mohr and Suzanne Burke Spencer*
Neil J Wertlieb, the author of this article, is a Founding Member and Co-Chair of the California Lawyers Association Ethics Committee and the Co-Chair of the Business Litigation Committee of the Business Law Section. Mr. Wertlieb is an experienced transactional lawyer, educator, and ethicist, who provides expert witness services in disputes involving business transactions and corporate governance, and in cases involving attorney malpractice and attorney ethics. For additional information, please visit www.WertliebLaw.com. The views expressed herein are his own.
As fears and concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 growâand an increasing number of courts, schools, offices, and gatherings are closed or cancelledâit is important to keep in mind your ethical responsibilities as lawyers during this time of crisis. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant effect on how lawyers will be practicing over the next few weeks or months (e.g., from home rather than office), it is important to appreciate that the Rules of Professional Conduct (the "Rules") and the duties they set forth are not suspended.
On behalf of the Ethics Committee of the California Lawyers Association, we offer the following reminders for your consideration.1