Ethics Counsel on

New Additions Enhance Ethics Web Pages

By Travis Pickens

After three years in my office, I have learned there are certain ethics issues and questions that frequently arise. It makes sense to enhance our website with this needed information. More importantly, the information should be clear, easy to find and quick to read. For most of you, there is often not enough time to wade through a lengthy article or set of seminar materials to find the information you need at the time.

The Ethics & Professionalism pages on are therefore being reformatted and reworked to provide more information in the form of FAQs or ethics checklist advisories. These new, concise FAQs and advisories will make it quicker and easier to get helpful answers to many ethics issues. They are being written for some of the most common ethics questions and issues, such as document retention, fee splitting, fee agreements and withdrawing from a case. New advisories will be added as warranted, with the existing ones supplemented as the law evolves.

They will also have a suitable disclaimer making it clear that they are a product of my office and are intended as guidance only — not advice. Furthermore, it is important to note they are not intended to supplant a careful reading of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct or create any sort of legal presumption in a disciplinary case. But I promise they will be useful to you and your practice and will save you a great deal of time.

In addition to the advisories coming soon, new ethics FAQs have already been written and posted. So far, the FAQs cover the relative roles and responsibilities of the Office of Ethics Counsel, General Counsel and the Legal Ethics Advisory Panel and the basics of trust accounting. In addition to refreshing you on these topics, these FAQs can be circulated to train your staff — an increasingly vital matter that I emphasize in almost every presentation I make.

My office looks forward to providing you this information. It is a big step toward making compliance with the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct faster and easier. I welcome your feedback and suggestions for topics for these new FAQs and advisories by contacting me at

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal -- Oct.6, 2012 -- Volume 83, No. 26.

Travis Pickens is the OBA Ethics Counsel. He can be reached at