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The Challenges Facing a Law Firm’s In-House Counsel: How to Follow the Ethics Rules While Protecting the Interests of the Firm

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, December 6, 2018

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will examine why firms designate in-house ethics counsel, the role of the ethics counsel, and ethical issues that arise from consulting with in-house counsel. The panel will offer best practices for law firms creating and employing in-house ethics advisers.


Many law firms have appointed in-house counsel to help the firm and its attorneys avoid ethical missteps and defend the firm, if necessary, from potential claims. This arrangement heightens legal ethics awareness by designating an in-house lawyer to whom other lawyers may turn for an objective evaluation of legal ethics issues.

Those appointed as in-house counsel must help the law firm strike the proper balance between protecting its own interests and fulfilling its ethical duties to its clients. If there is a problem relating to the law firm’s representation of a client, the firm’s in-house counsel needs a clear understanding of what the firm is required to disclose to its current clients, the steps the firm should take to protect its client’s interests, how to preserve the confidentiality of in-house communications, and how to position the firm to defend itself from potential claims.

Listen as our panel of attorneys—with extensive experience representing attorneys and law firms on legal ethics and professional liability defense—discusses why firms should designate in-house ethics counsel and how to perform that role. The panel will explain the ethical issues that arise from consulting with in-house counsel and will offer best practices for law firms employing in-house ethics advisers.



  1. Advantages of appointing in-house ethics counsel
  2. Duties to the law firm’s clients when consulting with in-house ethics counsel
    1. Client notification and waiver
    2. Disclosure requirements
    3. Reporting of misconduct
  3. Best practices for law firms to avoid ethics violations
  4. Preparing for a potential claim against the firm


The panel will review these and other essential questions:

  • Is an attorney-client relationship created between the in-house ethics counsel and another attorney within the firm seeking an ethics consultation?
  • When a lawyer seeks advice from the law firm’s in-house counsel, how can the firm ensure that the communications are privileged?
  • What information is the law firm ethically obligated to disclose to the client and how should the firm make that disclosure?
  • What should in-house counsel do if the client sues, or threatens to sue, the firm?


Burke, William
William T. Burke

Williams & Connolly

Mr. Burke concentrates his practice on complex commercial litigation, professional liability defense, and...  |  Read More

Davant, Charles
Charles Davant, IV

Williams & Connolly

Mr. Davant represents clients in high-stakes litigation. He has represented clients in disputes over contracts, trade...  |  Read More

Krauss, Geri
Geri S. Krauss

Managing Member
Krauss PLLC

Ms. Krauss is a respected litigator and recognized expert on complex issues relating to professional partnerships....  |  Read More

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