Management Assistance Program

Review the Ethical Challenges of Working Remotely (May 15, 2020)

Most lawyers have previously worked from home on occasion. Sometimes getting away from the office distractions while researching and drafting an important brief was the best plan for focusing. As we know, the last couple of months, where many lawyers worked from home almost exclusively, was an entirely different “work from home” situation.

The Pennsylvania Bar Association Committee on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility have developed a well-deserved reputation for well-researched and persuasive advisory ethics opinions relating to cutting-edge issues, especially those that are technology related. So many interested parties from other states pay attention to and often cite opinions from this body.

So, this body’s Formal Opinion 2020-300, Ethical Obligations for Lawyers Working Remotely, issued shortly after the Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, ordered all “non-essential businesses, including law firms, to close their offices during the pandemic, provides a useful checklist of ethical challenges that may be presented by the lawyer working from home or any other remote location. Even as Oklahoma’s district courts began their staged reopening, it seems clear that many lawyers and law firm staff will be working remotely more—at least in the near future. So an ethics review can be helpful.