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Trending Ethical Issues for Virtual (and Remote) Practitioners: Where You Can Practice and What You Should Consider

Original Air Date 7/19/2022
This course has expired and is no-longer eligible for CLE.

A spinoff of the live program at the recent AIPLA 2022 Spring Meeting, this program discusses the UPL issues related to remote practice (including the status of the rules nationwide) as well as the ethical considerations when working remotely. Hear from both the practitioner perspective and the academic perspective from two presenters who were both formerly attorney regulators. They will discuss your obligations when “working from home” and how best to comply with them.

After two full years of navigating the Covid 19 pandemic, the vast majority of attorneys have been forced to gain a familiarity with working remotely (aka Telework),1 and many of those who have figured out how to work effectively from home hope to continue to be able to do so.2 Current technologies have certainly facilitated remote work and even virtual law practices. However, familiarity with remote work does not equate to competence or compliance with state and federal Rules of Professional Conduct. There has been considerable debate, heightened perhaps by the recent necessity for alternatives to in-person offices, about the permissible extent of remote practice by attorneys, and the ethical responsibilities attendant to such practice. There is an added layer of complexity for intellectual property attorneys, who are subject to regulation in their state(s) of licensure, as well as often through the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) at the USPTO.3 Fortunately, all fifty states, the District of Columbia—and the USPTO—have now adopted legal ethics rules based at least in part on the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.4 An examination of the ABA Model Rules, the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct (“USPTO Rules” aka 37 CFR Part 11),5 and various state ethics opinions and disciplinary cases is useful in providing guidance to attorneys about how to competently and ethically function in the remote environment.

Presented by Amber Bevacqua-Lynott, Buchalter and Michael Frisch, Georgetown University Law Center

AIPLA is an approved provider by most jurisdictions requiring CLE. Each program requires individual jurisdiction approval, and each jurisdiction has different approval guidelines and time frames so programs may not be pre-approved for CLE. Program accreditation is sought in all attendee requested jurisdictions and may be available for up to one year after the original air date. Specialized credits (Ethics, Elimination of Bias, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Technology, etc.) approval varies by jurisdiction. CLE reporting and/or certificates of attendance may take up to 4 weeks for processing.

For information on CLE accreditation and processing, please contact the AIPLA CLE Department at