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Dealing with Disaster | Attorney Resources for CA Wildfires

CA Wildfire Attorney Resources.jpgAll of us at Hackard Law would like to express our sympathy to the many lives that have been impacted as a result of wildfires in Northern California. The fires have effected many people, including lawyers and law firms.

Attorneys should consider their ethical obligations if their practice has been affected or forced to close due to a natural disaster or other catastrophic event. The State Bar of California has resources available for attorneys with questions or concerns about their ethical obligations. Such attorneys should contact the State Bar's free and confidential Ethics Hotline at 1-800-2-ETHICS or 1-800-238-4427.

Ethical Obligations

The State Bar has always warned the public to watch out for and report potential fraud by lawyers. The State Bar has posted information on its website reminding us all that California law prohibits lawyers or others acting on behalf of a lawyer from:

Be Prepared for a Future Disaster

For those of us fortunate to not have been affected by the recent wildfires, the State Bar of California has also encouraged us not affected to prepare if disaster strikes again with the following tips:

  • Make sure your property insurance covers client property, along with the cost of hiring temporary help to reconstruct files and billing systems
  • Maintain an off-site list of client names and contact information
  • Maintain an off-site list of cases including case name, docket number, court, judge and opposing counsel
  • Maintain an off-site calendar for each case
  • Maintain off-site accounting records and billing information
  • Back up computer files, with one set stored off site
  • Keep an inventory of client property and valuable office furnishings
  • Keep irreplaceable client property in a locked, watertight and fireproof safe or evidence locker
  • Arrange for a designated attorney to administer a law practice in the event the lawyer becomes disabled or incapacitated through the State Bar Attorney Surrogacy program

Again, our hearts go out to all those affected by the fires of California. We urge all attorneys - including our law firm - to always, and especially during these times, be in compliance with our ethical and professional responsibilities. The State Bar of California is available to attorneys who have questions.

We share this as a public service and as a reminder to all of us that we should prepare for disasters.

Dealing with Disaster | Attorney Resources for CA Wildfires from Hackard Law on Vimeo.

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