Social Distance Lawyering – How Close is Your Ethical Compliance?

June 12, 2020

By: Devika Kewalramani, John Vincent Baranello, and Eliza Barrocas

New York State Bar Association

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with office shutdowns, court closures and executive orders, New York lawyers began to quickly adapt their practices to the reality of these extraordinary times. Even when life in New York seemed to pause, New York lawyers’ compliance with the New York Rules of Professional Conduct remain un-paused. As New York lawyers began to shift offices to homes, replace in-person contact with technology tools, and perhaps temporarily relocating out-of-state, what ethical risks should they watch out for in this increasingly distanced relationship with colleagues, clients, courts and adverse counsel? With remote lawyering extending deeper into 2020, how should New York lawyers ensure that they and their firms are in compliance with their ethical duties? This article discusses the practical guidance proffered by the New York State Bar Association and other state bar associations around the country on how lawyers can practice ethically during this crisis.