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Perhaps there was a time when ethics rules for lawyers were straightforward and following them was largely a matter of professional common sense. But it probably ended before your grandfather took down his shingle.
Today it’s a much different story. As law practice has become more complex, so have professional conduct rules—at least in their practical application.
“There are still bright lines, but there are lots of ambiguities,” says professor Stephen Gillers, who teaches ethics at New York University School of Law. “If you think it’s just about the basics, you’re on the road to perdition.”
With help from Gillers and other experts on professional conduct, the ABA Journal presents its list of the 10 top ethics traps for lawyers. Some of these traps might seem a bit arcane, others obvious. But according to our experts, lawyers in all practice fields fall into them regularly—sometimes with disastrous effects.