Legal Ethics

News & Analysis as of

PRACTICING WITHOUT A NET: Protecting Your Firm By Agreement

Attorneys come to us when contemplating the creation or expansion of their firms, when they want to leave their firm, or are dealing with the fallout of another member leaving. While many law firms have taken advantage of...more

Be Careful How, And With Whom, You Associate

Attorney associations are valuable means to reduce overhead and expenses, and provide support for sole practitioners. However, casually creating an association can give rise to issues, including increased exposure to...more

Beware of informal relationships and conflicts

Conflicts of interest can be complicated and risky. They can be impediments to taking on new business and can also lead to high verdicts in legal malpractice cases. Virtually all attorneys know to run conflict checks for new...more

ABA Clarifies Referral Fees Between Lawyers in Formal Ethics Opinion 474

On April 21, 2016, the American Bar Association ("ABA") Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility released Formal Opinion 474, addressing referral fees under Model Rule 1.5(e) and the impact of conflicts of...more

Professional Responsibility Abroad: Your Rules Follow You

A California litigation attorney recently asked me if he could represent his American friend living in France. French law can be divided into two main categories, droit privé (private law) and droit public (public law). The...more

A few words of caution for partners and associates

Most attorneys are aware that they have duties to act ethically in the practice of law. Sometimes, however, it is difficult to determine where that obligation extends beyond the attorney's own conduct. For partners, some...more

The Lawyers' Lawyer Newsletter - Recent Developments in Risk Management - March 2016

Motion to Withdraw — Meaning of Requirement to "Diligently Attempt" to Locate the Client: Caveman Foods, LLC v. Ann Payne's Caveman Foods, LLC, Civ. No. 2:12-1112 WBS DAD - Risk Management Issue: When a lawyer or law...more

Designated Lender’s Counsel

Doug Cornelius at Compliance Building writes today about borrowers paying the legal fees of lender’s counsel...more

How an attorney should handle a mistake

Although there are steps that attorneys can take to reduce the likelihood of making an error, mistakes still happen in the course of an attorney-client relationship. An attorney might miss a tax lien during a title...more

A Federal Judge Said Some Really Nasty and Unfair Things About Me—Can I Appeal?

What standards apply in the federal circuit courts to appeal a finding that a lawyer acted improperly? One particularly confusing area of ethics practice is the test in federal circuit courts to appeal a “finding” that a...more

The devil is in the detail: call for global standards for corporate settlements in foreign bribery cases

March 16, 2016, saw the OECD host an Anti-Bribery Ministerial meeting in Paris to discuss how to strengthen the implementation of its Anti-Bribery Convention. In the run up to the meeting, the respective heads of Corruption...more

Attorney impairment is on the rise; here's how to fight back

Attorneys work long hours under intense pressure. Because stress levels are high, attorneys often look for ways to blow off steam, leading to a "work hard, play hard" motto for those in the practice of law. When months of...more

Court Of Chancery Calculates Mootness Benefit In Post-Trulia Decision

This is an interesting decision for two reasons. First, the decision awards a mootness fee for disclosures and changes to deal protection measures in a merger gone bust. Thus, the opinion is useful precedent in the...more

Advising Antigone – What Would You Do?

This weekend, I plan to see The Antigone Project, an adaptation of Sophocles’ fifth century B.C.E. play, Antigone. The play is about Antigone who is the daughter and sister of Oedipus (a man, according to Tom Lehrer, with an...more

Proposed Changes to Model Rule 8.4 (or Something Like Them) May Already Be in Effect in Your Jurisdiction

The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has recently proposed amending the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct to add to Rule 8.4 a prohibition against harassment or discrimination based on...more

Mistakes Happen - How to Respond When They Do

Attorneys are human. They make mistakes. However, how an attorney responds to a mistake may be more important than the mistake itself. In the face of potential civil liability, sanctions or disciplinary proceedings, care...more

2015 IP Law Year In Review

Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 1920 (May 26, 2015) - ..Does a defendant’s belief that a patent is invalid serve as a defense to charges of inducing infringement? NO - ..Inducement requires...more

More Changes Ahead to the Rules of Professional Conduct?

Rule 8.4 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct is a bit of a catch-all. In general terms, it prohibits "lawyer misconduct." Even more ambiguous, Rule 8.4(d) prohibits "conduct prejudicial to the administration of...more

New York City Bar Addresses Local Counsel Ethics and Risk Management Issues

Recent years have seen a number of civil damage actions in which attorneys who thought they were serving only as local counsel in a matter have been sued for alleged failures to provide representation beyond what local...more

MA Supreme Court Issues Highly Anticipated Patent Ethics Decision

Simultaneous representation by a law firm in the prosecution of patents for two clients for similar inventions is not a per se violation of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct. On December 23, in Chris E....more

Fenwick Employment Brief

Bag Checks for Apple Employees Not Compensable Time - Apple Inc. recently convinced a California federal district court to dismiss a certified class action alleging that Apple had a legal duty to pay store workers for...more

Top tips for firms hiring contract attorneys

With rate pressures and expenses mounting, law firms are looking for new ways to make ends meet. One area that seems to be exploding is the use of contract, or freelance, attorneys. Often, these attorneys are willing to apply...more

Untrusted Advisor: How Your Law Firm May Fail to Protect Your Data

In recent years, the prevalence of data and information security breaches at major corporations have become increasingly more commonplace. While general awareness may be increasing, many companies are still neglecting to...more

Reduce the Risk of Malpractice Claims - Whoops - Legal Malpractice Prevention

Legal malpractice claims just keep coming. Rarely does a week go by without another article about a new high-profile legal malpractice lawsuit. Sometimes, these claims are the result of a simple mistake. Claims can arise when...more

A Civil Discussion

This week sees the annual ACI Drug and Medical Device Litigation get-together in New York. Here's a shameless plug: we will take part in a panel discussion on civility, diversity, and ethics. We were assigned the dreaded...more

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