Skip to main content

Ethical Implications of the Virtual Practice of Law

Total General: .75 Total Professional Responsibility: .75
Remote work opportunities have risen over the last few years.  As a result, lawyers are now working from home or other remote locations, supervising lawyers and non-lawyers who are also working remotely, and exploring ways to permanently integrate virtual options into their practice. Lawyers need to be aware of their ethical responsibilities when practicing virtually to represent clients while avoiding malpractice and disciplinary issues.  Specifically, this module will discuss a lawyer's obligation to maintain competence and act diligently on behalf of clients when working remotely; unique supervisory obligations involved in managing a virtual practice; obligations to engage in reasonable and prompt communication with clients; and duty to preserve client confidences. This module will also look at how the increase in lawyer mobility as a result of virtual technologies has raised unauthorized practice of law concerns, and the important ethical considerations when practicing virtually from a state in which a lawyer is not licensed.

In this module, you will:
  • Learn the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct that apply to a virtual law practice, and best practices on how to ethically navigate virtual work challenges;
  • Apply the ethics rules to several different scenarios; and
  • Reflect on how you can ethically engage in the virtual practice of law.
ARDC Articles/Ethical Guidance:
Other Written Materials/Articles
ABA Formal Opinions
These opinions are based on the ABA Model Rules. The laws, court rules, regulations, rules of professional conduct, and opinions promulgated in individual jurisdictions are controlling. See ABA Jurisdictional Rules Comparison Charts (comparing each jurisdiction's rules with the ABA Model Rules). ISBA Advisory Opinions
Available at ISBA Advisory Opinions on Professional Conduct do not have the weight of law and do not constitute legal advice. Out of State Bar Opinions:
Content Contributor: Melissa A Smart, Director of Education, ARDC
Video Presenter: Teresa McAdams, Managing Partner, McAdams & Sartori, LLC

Important MCLE Notice: This Program was originally released as a PMBR (2022-2023) module. If you have previously viewed this Program as a PMBR (2022-2023) module and received a Certificate of Completion, you may only claim MCLE credit once for this Program within a 12-month period. The ARDC reports individual attorney attendance to the MCLE Board by the 5th of the month subsequent to the date of completion of the MCLE program (for example, September events will be reported by October 5).