Ethics are an important component of our everyday lives, especially in business and in commercial real estate transactions. Ethics are the moral principles that guide a person’s behavior, or a code of moral principles practiced by a group of people, such as a code of conduct set by a business.
Since 1908, the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has promulgated model national ethics standards for lawyers and the judiciary and drafted ABA Formal Ethics Opinions interpreting and applying those standards. To provide guidance, the American Bar Association (ABA) has created the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rules to inform, guide, and educate lawyers. The Rules were adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in 1983.
Rule 5.1 in the ABA Rules focuses on the responsibilities of partners, managers, and supervisory lawyers. This rule states that a partner in a law firm, a lawyer who individually or together with other lawyers possesses comparable managerial authority in a law firm, shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that all lawyers in the firm conform to the Rules.
Everyday Ethics in CRE
We all make mistakes, even attorneys. But what are the legal issues arising from a lawyer making a mistake? Can the issue be resolved? What steps need to be taken? Does the client need to be informed? How large was the mistake? How likely are issues to arise from the mistake? Are you familiar with ABA Opinion 481? The opinion confirms that it is a lawyer’s duty to inform a current or former client of the lawyer’s material error.
Ethics in the Digital Age
Technology and globalization have drastically changed the commercial real estate marketplace over the last two decades. Attorneys have numerous ways to communicate with their clients, store documents and interact using technology. Technology has provided the ability to shift to a global market and to offer services anywhere, anytime. All this positive technology and globalization can lead to issues with jurisdictional lines and crossing borders. To meet these new issues, the Rules were revised in 2012.
Continuing to Learn about Ethics in Business
First American Title Insurance Company’s National Commercial Services is pleased to offer our first ethics Title Camp CLE webinar in 2022. This 60-minute session will explore everyday ethics – including sources of information, disclosure of confidential information, communications, and more. Our webinar will also review ethics in the modern workplace – topics including technology, globalization, and the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
Written by: S.H. Spencer Compton and Andrew Jaeger
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