Ethical considerations for Missouri lawyers during COVID-19 spread
We know that many Missouri lawyers have questions about COVID-19 and how it will impact your firms, clients and other business matters.
We know that many Missouri lawyers have questions about COVID-19 and how it will impact your firms, clients and other business matters. As lawyers adapt their workplaces and prepare for various outcomes, keep the Rules of Professional Conduct in mind. The Bar Plan has created some digital guides to help you navigate these unfamiliar waters.
If you are choosing to work remotely from home or another space, confidentiality, diligent representation and client communication should continue uninterrupted. As noted by The Bar Plan, firms should ensure that lawyers working remotely “are able to communicate with clients, the court, other lawyers, firm staff, and vendors in a thorough and timely manner.” Additionally, The Bar Plan advises that lawyers take special care when it comes to matters of cybersecurity and maintaining client files. Specific tips and recommendations for these matters are available here.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, now is also a good time to discuss your firm’s disaster recovery and lawyer succession planning, including making use of Missouri’s Rule 5.26. It provides for a trustee to be appointed by a court to “protect the interests of the clients and other affected parties” and requires attorneys to take whatever action deemed necessary to protect those interests. These plans will vary based on firm size and type, but general strategies and considerations are available here through The Bar Plan. You can download The Missouri Bar’s Planning Ahead Guide for planning for disasters or illness through our Practice Management online center.
If you have questions about ethics or tricky situations, you can contact The Bar Plan’s Risk Management Department at 1-800-843-2277 x171. You may also contact the Missouri Legal Ethics Counsel at 573-638-2263.
The Missouri Bar is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will respond based on the advice of governments, public health authorities and medical professionals. Stay up to date on related Missouri Bar notices here.
We look forward to continuing to serve you and the citizens of Missouri as we all work together to do what is best for everyone’s safety and well-being in these uncharted times.