Oklahoma Bar Journal

December 2017 | Ethics & Professional Responsibility


Feature Articles

A Lawyer's Duty to Self-Report Disciplinary Misconduct
Imagine you’ve been practicing law for a number of years in state (state B), perhaps occasionally taking a case in Oklahoma (state A). You’ve managed to keep your state A license in good standing with no disciplinary complaints ever filed against you. Currently, you’re the prosecutor in a capital murder trial in state B and the court wants to appoint a confidential intermediary (CI) to the defense in order to assist with mitigation evidence should the defendant be found guilty during the penalty phase of the trial.

Inside a Counseling Session
The day will come when using a mental health counselor is as commonplace as using a medical physician. Once it has, we will look back upon the past reluctance to get help as a sort of dark age, fostered by pride, fear, or worse, ignorance, especially embarrassing for a learned profession. We are moving toward that day, but anxieties remain regarding confidentiality, expense and the process itself.

Indirect Contempt - A Primer
Most litigators know the feeling. A client pays a respectable sum of money for your advice, and you give it. You tell the client what to do or not to do, but they don’t always listen. The client’s failure to heed the lawyer’s advice is particularly problematic when the advice involves a court order. In that instance, the client may face sanctions or, in serious cases, an indirect contempt citation. This article will set forth the basic law relating to indirect civil contempt.

Safeguarding Client Property and Confidentiality in the Digital World
There is not a single practicing lawyer who is unaffected by the evolution of technology over the past 15 years. The use of smartphones has revolutionized the practice of law. Most lawyers have one – many lawyers spend most of the practicing day squinting at tiny screens. Lately it seems we see more of the tops of lawyers’ heads in a courtroom than their eyes. Some are “conducting client research” on Facebook, some are battling level 458 of Candy Crush, but most are communicating with their offices, messaging clients, checking emails or reviewing relevant law. The smartphone is the new computer, and texting is the new phone call. While technology has fundamentally changed the manner in which we communicate with clients, the rules of ethics with respect to communication remain the same.

Ethics and Lawyer Well-Being
As 2017 comes to a close and we reflect on the year gone by, there is one major topic which immediately came to mind– lawyer well-being. Specifically, your well-being. Whether it is your well-being as a lawyer, mom or dad, husband or wife, son or daughter or friend, you must take the best care of yourself in order to be the best you can be in each of these “roles.” For most of us, all of the other roles in our lives are at least as important as being a lawyer.

Plus Articles

Bar Journal Changes Include Court Issue Electronic Delivery
Changes are coming to the Oklahoma Bar Journal beginning January 2018. Here is an interview with President Linda Thomas to explain the changes proposed by the OBA Strategic Planning Committee and approved by the OBA Board of Governors.