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Ethics Law in New Jersey

ethicsWhen Lawyers Need Lawyers

Believe it or not, there are times when lawyers also need lawyers. If a lawyer faces a disciplinary hearing or is accused of a violation, he will need to consult with a specialized attorney with a track record of success in this area.  In this case, it also helps to hire a lawyer who appreciates the significance of the case and the inherent value of the attorney’s  license and his reputation.

Code of Conduct

Many people may question why a lawyer might need to retain the services of another lawyer.  Ethics law, however, deals with the code of conduct among the legal profession.  In other words, it sets forth the minimum standards required of judges and lawyers.  State bar associations, usually in cooperation with the courts, draft the rules governing ethical duties within the profession. Some of the different areas covered by ethics law include bar admission, the lawyer-client relationship, judicial conduct, dealing with law firms and people other than the clients.

The Right Preparation

After someone passes the bar exam or needs admission in a new state, they must appear before the bar examiners.  In order to get through the hearing smoothly, the attorney should know what to expect of his or her examiners.

Problems can arise when something in someone’s background arouses the suspicion of the examiners during investigation.  It could be an old marijuana bust, DWI charge, or even a suspension from back in high school.  Typically, issues surface with candor.  Maybe the person did not provide the examiners with full disclosure or neglected to tell about a student loan in default or a related bankruptcy.  Candidates are often caught unaware of the meticulousness and the scrutiny of the hearing.  The important thing to remember is that any questionable fact of the attorney’s life will be examined thoroughly.

For these reasons, it is important to contact a lawyer who understands the disciplinary system.  Lawyers often ask whether retaining counsel suggests that the lawyer is culpable or lacks confidence.  On the contrary, ethics counsel, committees, auditors and panels actually appreciate the efficiency and professionalism brought by experienced ethics counsel.  Whether you are house counsel wondering how to handle a conflict or a bar candidate seeking information about the Committee on Character, a knowledgeable ethics attorney can usually demystify the attorney disciplinary system and offer helpful insights and suggestions.