Texas EthicsExchange

Welcome to the Texas EthicsExchange, your resource to assist with your questions concerning legal ethics and professionalism in Texas. The EthicsExchange is set up in a wiki-format, and allows you to search our content or to go to our comprehensive index to find the content you are seeking. If you have suggestions, corrections, or additions, you can contact me directly by hitting the update links contained on each page.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Jim McCormack
Editor in Chief
Law Office of James M. McCormack
Austin, Texas

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  • Lawyers Changing Law Firms

    The legal profession has changed significantly over the last several decades. Among those changes has been the increased mobility of lawyers from law firm to law firm. In prior generations, many lawyers—though certainly not all--remained at the same firm for virtually their entire careers. Today, lawyers routinely change firms several times during their professional lives. With each change in firms, the challenges confronting both the migrating lawyers and the firms that they join increase.

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  • Navigating the Ethics Rules: What Matters in Answering Questions about Texas Legal Ethics and Why

    It seems an obvious question. If a lawyer has a question about legal ethics, what are the authorities governing the conduct of lawyers in Texas, where are they found, and how do those authorities apply? And equally important, what authorities might not apply?

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  • Ethics for Consumer and Commercial Laws Attorneys

    Consumer and commercial law touches almost everyone on a daily basis--from business people engaged in simple or complex commercial transactions to consumers buying homes, products and services, using credit cards, and borrowing money.

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  • Training Law Office Staff Regarding Ethical Obligations

    Rule 5.03, Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, provides the relevant ethical obligation for a lawyer’s training and supervision of non-lawyer staff.

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  • Overview of the Texas Grievance System: Ten Questions

    Grievances can be a fact of professional life in almost any area of legal practice, although, historically, most grievances arise out of criminal law, personal injury, and family law practices. When a lawyer receives a notice of a grievance complaint from the State Bar, there are several issues to consider about how best to proceed.

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  • Inappropriate Relationships with Clients

    “Inappropriate relationships with clients” immediately conjures up tawdry sexual entanglements between lawyers and their clients—although lawyers are far from the only persons to have inappropriate relationships with customers (and others) that can impair what should remain strictly arms-length interactions.

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  • Friending the Judge – The Ethics of Judges, Social Media, and Facebook Friendships

    Would you be surprised if you received a Facebook “friend” request from a judge, or if you learned that an opposing counsel was Facebook “friends” with the judge? Should judges enjoy the benefits of social media, or is it more important to avoid any relationship that might compromise the appearance of impartiality or erode public confidence in the courts?

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  • Ethics for the New Criminal Law Practitioner

    awyers who practice in criminal law are much more inclined to draw Grievance Complaints than those who practice in other areas, except personal injury and family law. It is likely that during our professional careers we will receive a grievance.

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  • Ethics for In-house Counsel

    Which ethics rules apply to in-house counsel? As licensed attorneys, in-house counsel are bound by all of the ethical and professional rules that govern lawyers in general.

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  • Ethics for Government Lawyers

    Ethics laws that affect government attorneys are generally the same rules that apply to all attorneys engaged in the private practice of law. In addition, other specific laws affect government lawyer’s actions and decisions as governmental employees.

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