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Practice Pointers By Chuck Lundberg When Not to Use Email There are several situations where a lawyer should never use email. Here’s one: When you realize you may have done something wrong and need to report it. Annual Awards: Call for Nominations Consider this real-life scenario: A firm attorney realizes that a serious ethics or malpractice issue has arisen in one of her client’s cases. She must consult with someone in authority at her firm about the issue, what to do next, and whether disclosure or other action is required. First, with whom should she consult? A. Her supervising partner on the case B. The firm’s managing partner C. The firm’s ethics partner D. Her mentor E. All of the above The correct answer on these facts is, or should be C. Every law firm in Minnesota should designate a firm ethics counsel to deal with situations like this, where an in-firm privilege may be at issue. For more information, see Why Your Firm Needs an Ethics Partner. Now. in the December 2016 issue of Bench and Bar of Minnesota, But the critical point is this—whomever it is she reports to, she should not use email: not to report the incident, describe or explain the problem, give the details, or to answer the inevitable “how did this happen?” question, etc. Instead, she should schedule a meeting to discuss all those things in person. Because this is an important and sensitive issue, it deserves a live meeting. (Alternatively, if a meeting is simply impossible, a telephone conversation will suffice.) Do not put anything in writing until then, especially not in an email. Always remember what the “e” in email should stand for—exhibit. Eventually something should be put in writing about the issue, but precisely what that is, how it should be phrased, and who should write it, should all be discussed and decided at the firm level at the meeting. Chuck Lundberg Mr. Lundberg is recognized nationally as a leader in the fields of legal ethics and malpractice. A former chair of the Lawyers Board, he retired in 2015 after 35 years with Bassford Remele. He now consults with lawyers on matters involving the law of lawyering through Lundberg Legal Ethics. Edited by Stephen Fiebiger Submit your practice pointers to Stephen Fiebiger at administration of justice. Deadline for submissions is March 24. Celebrating Our Values: In establishing awards, an association proclaims its core values and celebrates those exemplars of its ideals, raising them up as models for emulation. In every survey of our members, we hear that a key function of our association should be to hold high the values of the profession and help pass on those values and traditions to the next generation of practitioners. These annual awards seek out the best of both individuals and firms who make a significant contribution to the profession and to the advancement of justice. (List of past recipients is available at The awards panels welcome nominations for the following: Professionalism Awards: These awards are presented annually to a member of the bench and a member of the bar who best exemplify the pursuit of the practice of law as a profession, including a spirit of public service and promotion of the highest possible level of competence, integrity, and ethical conduct. These awards, sponsored by the HCBA’s Professionalism & Ethics Section, are granted in the belief that professionalism fosters respect and trust between lawyers, the judiciary, and the public; serves the best interest of clients; promotes the efficient resolution of disputes; and improves the Diversity Awards: These three awards recognize outstanding commitment toward increasing diversity in the legal profession. Awards may recognize a legal employer (public or private) that increases diversity in the legal profession, particularly in hiring, retention, and promotion. Awards also recognize an individual lawyer and non- lawyer for commitment, effort, and achievement in increasing diversity in the profession. Presented each year by the HCBA Diversity & Inclusion Committee, these awards recognize those who have fostered a continuing commitment to increasing diversity in the legal profession, and increasing access for historically underrepresented individuals. Deadline for submissions is March 31. How to Nominate: A list of past award recipients and nomination forms can be found at or by calling 612-752-6000. Awardees will be recognized at the HCBA Annual Meeting on June 1. HENNEPIN LAWYER MARCH/APRIL 2017   23