JULY 2019

OARC Update

A bimonthly newsletter of the
Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel


In July's What You Need to Know, we highlight three recent ethics opinions: fee division with prior counsel, responding to on-line criticism, and directing investigations

ABA Formal Opinion 487
In June 2019, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Opinion 487, addressing division of fees with prior counsel in contingent fee matters. The Opinion explains that when a client has a contingent fee agreement with counsel, terminates that counsel without cause, and hires successor counsel to handle the matter, successor counsel must advise the client, in writing, of the predecessor counsel’s potential claim on recovery. The Opinion also discusses other related ethical issues for fee division with predecessor counsel. ABA Formal Opinion 487.

CBA Ethics Opinion 137
In May 2019, the Ethics Committee of the Colorado Bar Association issued Formal Opinion 137 Advising, Directing and Supervising Others in Lawful Investigative Activities That Involve Dishonesty, Fraud, Deceit or Misrepresentation. The Opinion analyzes the amendment to Colo. RPC 8.4(c), adopted by the Colorado Supreme Court in September 2017. The Opinion discusses the amendment, the limits on a lawyer’s involvement in investigative activities, how other Rules of Professional Conduct are impacted by the amendment, and ways in which the amendment may apply. CBA Formal Opinion 137.

CBA Ethics Opinion 136
In March 2019, the Ethics Committee of the Colorado Bar Association issued Formal Opinion 136 A Lawyer’s Response to a Client’s Online Public Commentary Concerning the Lawyer. The Opinion discusses the ethical rules that are implicated when a lawyer responds to an online review posted by a current, former or prospective client. The Opinion also discusses the applicability of the self-defense exception in Colo. RPC 1.6(b)(6). The Opinion concludes with proposed language a lawyer may consider using to respond. CBA Formal Opinion 136.


Lawyer's obligations if there's a DWAI or DUI conviction
In this Call to Action, we describe the consequences that drinking and driving can have on your law license. Everything from a lawyer's duty to self-report, how OARC investigates following the self-report, outcomes, and what you should do if you need help navigating the investigation process. Call to Action: It's Summertime. Relax and Unwind...Responsibly.


The Colorado Supreme Court will hold a public hearing regarding the proposed new subsection (i) and comment to Colo. RPC 8.4, regarding sexual harassment, on September 18, 2019 at 3:30 in the Colorado Supreme Court Courtroom, 2 East 14th Avenue, Denver, Colorado. For more information regarding the hearing, click here:
Supreme Court - Adopted and Proposed Rule Changes.


Part 3 of our succession planning 101 guide describes the process and advantage of inventory counsel identification. This includes identifying someone to act as inventory counsel, informing those who may serve as personal representative, and the benefits of doing both. Succession Planning 101: Inventory Counsel Identification.


Chaired by Justice Monica Márquez, the Colorado Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being continued to explore ways to improve the well-being of lawyers, judges, and law students in 2019.

In support of this initiative, OARC unveiled a new webpage dedicated to lawyer well-being. It describes the ways in which well-being affects lawyers and their practice, and contains links to helpful resources on this topic. Also included is a link to the Virginia State Bar's May 2019 report on the occupational risks of the legal profession. This report addresses risks ranging from the sedentary nature of practice to handling student loan debt. It offers suggestions to mitigate these risks. Colorado Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being Continues Work in 2019.


Do we have an obligation to “look out” for our colleagues?
COLAP Deputy Director Chip Glaze poses this question to readers and offers a response: yes, you owe a duty to your fellow colleagues, and to the profession, to take action. Yes, In Fact, You Are Your [Colleagues'] Keeper.


July 19  Trust Account School taught by the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel and open to all attorneys and legal staff.

July 29  Attorney Regulation and Ethics Issues for Civil Defense Lawyers, Colorado Defense Lawyers Association 2019 Conference, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa in Beaver Creek, CO (Jessica Yates).

July 29  Technological Competence, Social Media and the Rules of Professional Conduct, Colorado Defense Lawyers Association 2019 Conference, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa in Beaver Creek, CO (April McMurrey).

July 29  Proactive Lawyer Self-Assessments: Promoting Professionalism, Inclusivity, and Access to Justice, 2019 Legal Inclusiveness & Diversity Summit in Denver, CO (Jon White).

July 30-31  July 2019 bar exam.

Aug. 1  Practicing with Professionalism, CBA-CLE in Denver, CO.

Aug. 7  The What, When, and How of Interim Suspensions, 2019 National Organization of Bar Counsel Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA (Jessica Yates).

Aug. 8  Successfully Launching and Running Your Own Practice, Day One on Your Own: Getting Started, CBA-CLE in Denver, CO (April McMurrey).

Aug. 8  Successfully Launching and Running Your Own Practice, COLTAF accounts and trust accounts, CBA-CLE in Denver, CO (Greg Sapakoff).

Aug. 14  Colorado's New Flat Fee Rule 1.5(h), American Immigration Lawyers Association - Colorado Chapter in Denver, CO (Bryon Large).

Aug. 29  Practicing with Professionalism, CBA-CLE in Denver, CO.

Sept. 1  Application filing period opens for February 2020 bar exam.

Sept. 9  Attorney Grievance Process and Ethical Issues, The Colorado District Attorneys' Council Fall Conference in Breckenridge, CO (Jessica Yates).

Sept. 9  Office of the Child's Representative Annual Conference in Estes Park, CO (April McMurrey).

Sept. 23  Practicing with Professionalism, CBA-CLE in Denver, CO.
Copyright © 2019 Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, Colorado Supreme Court, All rights reserved.

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