Ethical Duties of a Veteran’s Advocate and How to Navigate Common Ethical Dilemmas (Attorney)
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Presenters: Rick Spataro & Helen Chong
Length: 119 minutes and 28 seconds
Recorded: September 2019
Approved for 2 CLE credits by the Virginia State Bar
Approved for 2 CLE ethics credits by the Virginia State Bar
Attorneys and Claims Agents want to be the best advocates for their clients, but must balance the amount of time they devote to a single veteran’s case with their need to represent their other clients. It’s not always clear what they must do to satisfy their ethical responsibilities to zealously represent each of their veterans before the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Attorneys and Claims Agents also face numerous ethical dilemmas when representing veterans. What do I do if a veteran wants me to help him file a claim that I think has no merit? Must I submit evidence to the VA that may hurt a veteran’s claim? Can I act on behalf of a veteran with severely diminished mental capacity? May I accept any type of gift from a veteran? What should I do if I suspect a veteran is being dishonest with the VA? Can I tell anyone if a veteran mentions something to me in confidence that implies she is contemplating suicide? Am I required to notify the VA if I discover there is a mistake in a VA decision that is favorable to a veteran?
In some situations, VA regulations and attorney rules of professional conduct make the answer clear. But many other situations fall into a gray area, or different rules provide answers that are incompatible with each other. In this webinar, we will review several hypothetical scenarios that present common ethical dilemmas faced by attorneys and claims agents when representing veterans before the VA. We will then provide advice on how to best navigate through these scenarios, based on VA regulations governing standards of conduct for attorneys and claims agents, the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and the Virginia State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct.
By attending this recording webinar, you will learn:
• The basic ethical obligations of an advocate when representing a veteran before the VA
• How to best handle numerous ethical dilemmas frequently encountered by veterans advocates
• Advice for choosing how to act when you have competing ethical duties
• The VA regulations, ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and Virginia State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct that govern how attorneys and claims agents are obligated to act in
various scenarios involving the representation of veterans before the VA.
This webinar will be co-presented by Richard V. Spataro, Director of Training and Publications, and Helen Chong, NVLSP Training Associate and a former Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Virginia.