Ethical Obligations in Times of Crisis: The Attorney Surrogate

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 62 minutes
Recorded Date: March 30, 2021
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  • What happens if I get sick or I am unable to practice law?
  • How do I protect my clients in the event of a crisis in which I cannot practice law?
  • What is attorney surrogacy?
  • What does the attorney surrogate do?
  • How do I pre-plan to keep my clients from being harmed if I cannot practice in the future?
Runtime: 1 hour, 2 minutes
Recorded: March 30, 2021


The session will be solely centered on attorney surrogacy and how to pre-plan for an emergency crisis and protect the attorney's clients in the event the attorney is unable to practice. The presenters will use the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct as they relate to the ethics of providing a failsafe for clients in case of an emergency illness or absence of counsel.

The speakers will cite specific references to the Model Rules, specifically Comment 5 to ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.3 which states that the duty of diligence may require a sole practitioner to designate another attorney to review client files, notify each client, and determine the need for immediate protective action in the event of the death or disability of the sole practitioner and how each rule would pertain to each topic will be explored throughout the session.

This program was recorded on March 30th, 2021.

Provided By

American Bar Association


Marc Matheny

Marc Matheny Law Office

Indiana native Marc Matheny grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and graduated from Indiana University School of Law. For more than 30 years, Mr. Matheny has been providing dedicated personal representation to individuals in divorce, custody, estate planning and administration, personal injury, and other legal areas.

As the Firm’s principal attorney, all clients can be assured that Mr. Matheny will be attending to all aspects of representation. Clients benefit from this approach as legal bills do not reflect multiple attorneys and paralegals working on matters or time billed to “interoffice conferences.” Clients also benefit from Mr. Matheny being aware of every aspect of their case or matter.

Mr. Matheny is admitted to practice before Indiana state and Federal Courts. He is also admitted to practice before the Supreme Court for the United States of America.

For most of us, legal fees are not trivial. As attorneys, it is our obligation to serve clients in the most cost effective manner possible, not in a way that results in high fees to our firm.

Gregory W. Sampson

Senior Counsel
Gray Reed & McGraw LLP

Greg Sampson focuses his practice on estate planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, trusts, probate, guardianship and non-profit entities. He brings more than 30 years of experience to counseling clients on all aspects of wealth preservation and transfer, including estate and gift tax planning, charitable planning, retirement planning, estate and trust management, trust and estate controversy, trust modification and termination, family asset management and business succession planning. Greg is Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Greg has substantial experience concerning the operation, management and taxation of tax-exempt organizations. He advises public charities, private foundations and supporting organizations on a variety of issues, ranging from entity structuring, strategic planning and documenting meetings to reviewing tax returns, working with financial advisors and facilitating charitable distributions.

Clients rely on Greg to guide them through every phase of uncontested will probates, administration of the estate and all types of related controversies. He also helps clients establish guardianships for incapacitated family members and develops creative self-help solutions for clients facing unique incapacitation issues that can’t be resolved with traditional legal remedies.

Greg is a regular presenter and author on various estate-related topics, including the impact of recent tax reform on estate planning and charitable giving, business succession planning for family businesses and for lawyers, asset protection planning, fiduciary duties, Texas' Prudent Investor Act and Principal and Income Act, probate and guardianship administration and procedures, alternatives to guardianships and probate, advanced directives and end-of-life decision-making, and the formation and operation of tax-exempt organizations.

Greg is currently serving a three-year term as a district director for the State Bar of Texas, which involves working with fellow directors and officers to execute the strategic plan of the State Bar and making recommendations to the Texas Supreme Court concerning rule changes. He is also a member of the Advisory Board to the Dallas Bar Association.

Paula J. Frederick

General Counsel & Chair, ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility
State Bar of Georgia

Paula J. Frederick is general counsel for the state bar of Georgia and chair for the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. Ms. Frederick heads a 10-lawyer office responsible for interpreting the ethics rules for lawyers, prosecuting lawyer discipline cases and providing legal advice to the officers and directors of the bar. She is the author of a bimonthly column for the Georgia Bar Journal and frequently speaks on issues of lawyer ethics and professionalism.

Prior to her work at the State Bar of Georgia, she spent six years as a lawyer with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, handling civil legal matters. Ms. Frederick is a past president of the Atlanta Bar Association and Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys. She is a past chair of both the ABA Diversity Center and the Standing Committee on Professional Discipline. She currently serves as a Georgia State delegate in the House of Delegates.

Ms. Frederick earned her B.A. in political science from Duke University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law. 

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