At seminars during which I outline the basics of the Professional Responsibility Program, I often start with this question:
- In Vermont, the Professional Responsibility Program is part of the:
- A. Vermont Bar Association
- B. Office of the Attorney General
- C. Secretary of State’s Office of Professional Regulation
- D. Vermont Judiciary
To give you time to think, I’ll wait a bit before I type further.
I hope you got the joke.
Anyhow, if you chose “D. Vermont Judiciary,” you win!* In short, I’m an employee of the Judiciary.
*statement “you win” does not mean there is a prize. any prizes that may or may not exist are not available. expecting an actual prize is not valid in any jurisdiction.
On March 24, the Court amended the order again. The March 24 amendments apply to the Professional Responsibility Program. Per paragraph 14(b), the Board and staff “will continue to perform their core functions to the extent possible consistent with this section and their obligation to mitigate the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Bar Counsel’s core functions are to:
- Respond to ethics inquiries;
- Screen disciplinary complaints;
- Provide education & outreach on legal ethics and professional responsibility.
The first two pose no problem. Each function can be peformed remotely, electronically or by telephone, without limitation. For instance, if you have an ethics inquiry, I have access to my voice mail and email and regularly check each.
Continuing Legal Education seminars will require some adaptation. For the forseeable future, they’ll be by video or webinar. On that note, the important update:
- the March 24 amendments suspend the 10-hour limit on self-study CLE credits for attorneys who must report & renew in 2020.
I’ve already uploaded four videos to my brand new YouTube Channel. I will continue to post content. I’ve also signed up for Zoom and intend to use it to stream & archive discussions of legal ethics and professional responsibility.
In addition, Jennifer Emens-Butler contacted me today. Jennifer is the VBA’s Director of Communication & Education. She’s got some great ideas for webinars.
Finally, the spring is my busiest time of year for “live” seminars. Several groups to which I’ve agreed to speak have already contacted me to arrange video presentations.
In short, I’m open and will continue to perform my core functions. The beat goes on!
Be good. To yourself and others.