Rules of Professional Conduct

News & Analysis as of

Texas Court Affirms Arbitration Award In Law Firm Fee Row

A Texas district court denied Curtis International, Ltd.’s (“Curtis”) counter-motion to vacate an arbitration award in a row over attorney and expert witness fees and expenses. Curtis, a manufacturer and distributor of...more

Social Media and Practice: Questions Attorneys Should Ask Now

Social media users number in the billions. Facebook counts over 1.4 billion users, LinkedIn has 347 million members, Instagram has 300 million, Twitter has nearly 290 million, and YouTube reports more than a billion users....more

Got a Website? Tweet? Save Copies of Everything!

Did you know that, if you advertise your legal services on the Internet—and that includes having a firm website or using social media—you have to keep a copy of all the webpages for two years? Under Cal Rules of Prof...more

North Carolina Court Rules Class Action Settlements Can Award Attorneys’ Fees, but Note of Caution to Local Counsel

The North Carolina Court of Appeals considered for the first time whether it is legal in a class action settlement agreement for one party to agree to pay the other’s attorneys’ fees and expenses. The court concluded that it...more

Better Send a Letter Before the First Consultation

A prospective client makes an appointment with you to discuss his or her case. Immediately send a letter setting out some information and a few key points. First off, you’ll definitely want to confirm the date, time, and...more

State Farm v. Hansen: Nevada Supreme Court Adopts California Independent Counsel Rules

The Nevada Supreme Court has adopted California’s independent counsel rules, holding that an insured is entitled to select its own counsel where an insurer’s coverage reservation creates an actual conflict of interest between...more

Don’t Let Clients Push You Too Far

Yes, you have a duty to represent your client zealously. But don’t let your zeal for your client’s case trump your duty to prosecute only meritorious cases. It won’t fly to say, “My client made me do it.” Your duty to the...more

More Text Messages? Thanks, I have plenty!

In terms of fair disclosure, my firm advertises on television, in trade publications and on the web. Personally, I would love to go back to the time when attorneys and law firms did not advertise, but that ship has long since...more

How Courts Can Address Litigation Misconduct Using Ethical Rules

Attempting to fit a summary of the entirety of the Delaware Court of Chancery's recent 214-page opinion in OptimisCorp v. Waite, C.A. No. 8773-VCP (Del. Ch. Aug. 26, 2015), within the editorial restrictions of this...more

Whoops - Legal Malpractice Prevention - Enforcing ADR Provisions in Fee Agreements

Attorneys and law practices have been experimenting with strategies to collect unpaid client fees while limiting the risk of malpractice claims. One approach involves the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR)...more

CA Supreme Court Expands Scope of Lawyers’ Statute of Limitations to Non-Legal Malpractice Claims – Confusion Predicted for Law...

In Lee v. Hanley (S220775 – Filed 8/20/2015), the California Supreme Court clarified the meaning of Code of Civil Procedure section 340.6 by holding that its limitations period applies to claims against attorneys “whose...more

Utah Supreme Court Finds No Employer Protection in Rule of Professional Conduct

The Utah Supreme Court held that Rule 1.13(b) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct, which requires in-house counsel to report suspected illegal activity to upper management, does not reflect a “clear and substantial...more

US Chamber Recommends SEC Enforcement Changes

Last week the US Chamber of Commerce, through its Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, issued a white paper proposing wide-ranging changes to the SEC’s enforcement process. Most of the 28 recommendations were...more

Ostriches Beware: E-Discovery Ethics In Social Media

“Electronic document creation and/or storage, and electronic communications, have become commonplace in modern life, and discovery of ESI is now a frequent part of almost any litigated matter. Attorneys who handle litigation...more

Fast Five - Rhode Island Appellate Practice - June 2015

SUPREME GHOSTBUSTERS: RHODE ISLAND SUPREME COURT IMPOSES LIMITATIONS ON GHOSTWRITING. The Rhode Island Supreme Court “ain’t afraid of no ghost.”[1] In a long-anticipated, unanimous decision, the Rhode Island Supreme...more

Does the False Claims Act Preempt An Attorney Relator’s Ethical Obligations?

In United States ex rel. Holmes v. Northrop Grumman Corp., No. 1:13-cv-85, 2015 WL 3504525 (S.D. Miss. June 3, 2015), the court answered this question with a resounding “no” and provided a laundry list of ethical violations...more

Health Alert (Australia) - April 13, 2015

In This Issue: Judgments; Legislation; and Reports. Excerpt from Reports: 27 March 2015 - Public consultation opens on draft Principles and guidelines for the care and use of non-human primates for scientific...more

Splitting Fees? Get Client Consent ASAP

Common scenario: You do some work for a client and then pass off the client to another attorney, agreeing to split the attorney fees. Later you want to get your share of the fees. The Rules of Professional Conduct require...more

Ethics In The Tech Age: What Every Lawyer Should Consider

In light of recent changes to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, what are a lawyer’s ethical duties arising from new technology? And what should a lawyer know about technology? Model Rules’ Technology and...more

Proposed California Bar Opinion Seeks to Clarify Advertising Rules for Lawyer Blogs - California Joins Growing Number of States in...

There has been some confusion in recent years regarding how state disciplinary boards would – or should – treat lawyer and law firm blogs. While commentators and ethics boards have generally agreed that comments by a blogging...more

Dead Partner And Disqualification

The Business Court on Wednesday disqualified a law firm from representing its longtime corporate client in a lawsuit against the corporation's former CEO and Chairman of its Board of Directors....more

How to Protect Corporate Attorney-Client Privilege – Defense Fails in Sex Discrimination Case

Last month, a Pennsylvania federal judge rejected a company’s claim to attorney-client privilege as an obstacle to pursuit of a sex discrimination suit brought by a lawyer and former employee....more

ISO’s Cloud Privacy Standard: A Guide for Lawyers’ “Reasonable Efforts” to Protect Client Information

Rule 1.1 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct requires that all lawyers provide “competent representation to a client.” In August 2012, the ABA added new language to Model Rule 1.1, comment 8: To maintain the...more

Witness Coaching: Blurred Lines

The Rules of Professional Responsibility speak to the ethical boundaries for a lawyer’s conduct in connection with witness preparation only indirectly. Rules 1.1 and 1.3 describe competence, diligence, and zeal; and Rule 3.3...more

Ethical Issues Implicated by Lawyers’ Use of Third-Party Cloud Services

Law firms increasingly turn to “cloud services” for processing and storing confidential client information because of their greater flexibility and efficiency. Use of “the cloud,” however, outsources the administration,...more

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