Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Virtual Law Office isn't a law office in New Jersey!

Yesterday, the ABA's "blog" reported on a news (conveyed to me by Dan Pinnington) that brought me to reopen WIM for this short post: "A new ethics opinion by the New Jersey Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics and the Committee on Attorney Advertising (ACPE 718/CAA 41) focused on New Jersey's requirement that attorneys maintain a bona fide office for the practice of law, noting that a bona fideoffice is defined as

a place where clients are met, files are kept, the telephone is answered, mail is received and the attorney or a responsible person acting on the attorney's behalf can be reached in person and by telephone during normal business hours to answer questions posed by the courts, clients or adversaries and to ensure that competent advice from the attorney can be obtained within a reasonable period of time. [NJRPC Rule 1:21-1(a)]"
This is pathetic! As if "a place" was needed to:
1) meet;
2) keep files;
3) answer the telephone.

The only arguments left are "a place" where "mail is received" and where "the attorney or a responsible person acting on the attorney's behalf can be reached in person".

With respect to "mail": what about the freedom of a professional to refuse to work with backward people who still use snail mail?!

Regarding the in-person meeting criteria, has any of the people who rendered that opinion ever tried teleconference? As a client, having dealt with outside counsel who scheduled a meeting "in two weeks", I would have preferred to benefit from a webconference or a simple telephone call right now...

Anyway, for those of you who still wonder why Richard Susskind will be proven right, review the full text of the opinion (PDF)...

1 comment:

Patricia Romanovici said...

Implementing change takes a lot of time.
I am sure Richard Susskind and a few others who write about the same topics will be proven right to a large degree in the next 5-10 years.