Legal Ethics

News & Analysis as of

What Are Our Obligations With Regard to a Client’s File?

Recently, while catching up on my “pleasure” reading — the November issue of The Alabama Lawyer — during a lunch break, I came across an article from the Office of General Counsel regarding the “Retention, Storage, Ownership,...more

From Federal Procedure Rules to State Bar Association Rules —Lawyers Need Tech Skills to Remain Competent

Today, amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Civil, Criminal, and Bankruptcy Procedure go into effect. Based on these amendments, litigators may want to brush up on their tech skills. In fact, litigators may be...more

Don’t Get Tagged – Avoiding Ethical Missteps with Social Media Investigations

As the number of people who interact on social media surpasses the one billion mark, attorneys are catching-on and turning to various platforms for investigative purposes and as informal discovery tools. We all know that the...more

In-Firm Privilege: Lawyers Have Legal Problems Too

For many years in the modern era of law firms, a few federal district court decisions starting in the 1980s set forth the notion that lawyers and law firms could not invoke the attorney-client privilege to shelter...more

When Lawyers Cross the Line – Breaking Bad Under the Law

While reading the Embraer settlement documents, I read over the facts implicating a senior legal executive and his/her involvement in the Embraer bribery scheme. Truthfully, I had a slight gasp as I read about a fellow lawyer...more

Online Attorney Referral Networks and Sharing Fees with a Non-Lawyer

It seems everything is moving online these days, including legal services. In a time when more people are apt to send an email or a text than pick up the phone, when people increasingly shop, bank, and even date online, it...more

Interesting Issues In Legal Ethics

David F. Johnson, lead writer for the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog, spoke at the Tarrant County Bar Association’s Ethics Seminar on September 30, 2016, and presented “Interesting Issues In Legal Ethics.” The presentation...more

Federal Circuit Patent Updates - September 2016

Dynamic 3D Geosolutions LLC v. Schlumberger Limited (No. 2015-1628, 9/12/16) (Lourie, Wallach, Hughes) - Lourie, J. Affirming disqualification of plaintiff's counsel and affirming dismissal of complaint. “We recognize...more

Did You Search Your Jurors’ Social Media? There Are Rules

If you represented a large corporation or a wealthy individual, wouldn’t you want to know if your prospective jurors were campaigning for Bernie Sanders on Facebook? Or how about criminal prosecutors who might want to know if...more

North Carolina Court of Appeals Affirms Right of Former Trustee to Represent Lender in Foreclosure Under Deed of Trust

Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued an opinion addressing whether a conflict of interest exists when a trustee under a deed of trust initiates a foreclosure proceeding and later represents the lender in that...more

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

Joint Clients — Confidentiality — Right to See Clients' File - New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics Opinion 1070 (10/9/15) - Risk Management Issue: In a joint client representation, if one...more

Turns Out the Second Circuit . . . Uh, Heh Heh . . . Tossed Gibson Dunn for a Very Good Reason

So yesterday I wrote about the seemingly wrongheaded decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to strike Gibson Dunn’s appearance from Lynn Tilton’s case in that court. Its apparent issue was that Judge...more

Don't wait for the new year to close old files

Most attorneys and law practices generally understand which clients are no longer clients and which matters should be closed. Although closing files is not complicated, it typically only happens if there is a concentrated...more

Social Media Guide for Lawyers v. 3.0: Social Media Marketing and Ethics Guide

One major roadblock preventing a lawyer from engaging in social media marketing is the uncertainty surrounding how the advertising ethics rules apply to social media. This section will set forth the applicable lawyer...more

Negative Online Reviews: The Best Defense

A recent Washington Post article examined the issue of patient privacy complaints after medical providers responded to negative Yelp® reviews about medical care. The issue of how a professional can (or should) respond to...more

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

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