ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct

February 22, 2017 · Volume 33 Number 4

Conflicts of Interest
Kirkland Can Stay on Defense Team for Iran Sanctions Case
Kirkland & Ellis LLP lawyers may stay on a "dream team" of defense lawyers in a high-profile criminal case despite a potential conflict of interest with other Kirkland clients, a federal judge in Manhattan held Feb. 15 (United...

Office-Sharing Lawyers Found to Be in Same Firm
Two lawyers who shared office space were in the same firm and therefore didn’t have to comply with the ethics rule on fee-sharing among unaffiliated lawyers, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, decided Feb. 7 (Brady v. Starke...

Putting Papers on File-Sharing Site Waived Privilege
Putting sensitive materials on an unprotected file-sharing site waived a plaintiff’s attorney-client privilege and work product protection for those materials, a federal magistrate judge in Virginia held Feb. 9 (Harleysville...

Conflicts of Interest
Company Insider Can Serve as Its Trial Counsel
A company insider may serve as its trial counsel even though he was the company’s designated deposition witness and he has first-hand knowledge of some events, a federal magistrate judge in Tennessee decided Feb. 8 (America’s...

Lawyer Calls Himself Inept; Case Sent to Prosecutors
Federal prosecutors should look into a bankruptcy case where a lawyer blamed errors in his client’s filings on his own incompetence in preparing them, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit said Feb. 3 (Lardas v. Grcic , 2017...

Client Under Disability
14th Am. Forbids Self-Rep in Civil Commitment Hearing
Involuntarily committed persons have no right to self-representation in hearings for continued hospitalization or involuntary medication, but lawyers for such patients must try to "maintain a normal client-lawyer relationship"...

Litigation Funding
Litigation Funder’s Forum-Selection Clause Invalidated
Minnesota is the proper venue to resolve a dispute over the legality of a contract between a consumer litigation funder and a personal injury plaintiff, even though the contract designated New York as the venue, the Minnesota Court of Appeals...

Division of Fees
Fee-Splitting Pact Enforceable Despite Ethics Violation
A fee-splitting agreement between lawyers is enforceable even though the lawyers violated an ethics rule that governs fee-sharing arrangements, the New York Court of Appeals held Feb. 9 (Marin v. Constitution Realty, LLC , 2017 BL 39248,...


Pretrial Parade of Seized Contraband Isn’t Allowed in N.J.
New Jersey prosecutors can’t publicly exhibit the drugs, weapons, money or other contraband seized in criminal investigations, New Jersey’s professional ethics committee advised Feb. 17 (New Jersey Supreme Court Advisory...

Conflicts of Interest
Married Couple’s Lawyer Can Represent Husband in Divorce
A lawyer who jointly advised a married couple on a series of commercial real estate deals doesn’t have a conflict that prevents his appearance for one spouse in divorce proceedings, the Pennsylvania bar’s ethics committee advised...


Candor Toward Tribunals
Fifth Cir. Chops Lawyer’s Suspension for Lying to Court
A lawyer in trouble for lying to a federal district court about his receipt of e-filing notices had the length of his suspension trimmed by the Fifth Circuit Feb. 14 (In re Ramos , 2017 BL 44339, 5th Cir., No. 16-10353, 2/14/17)....

Disciplinary Procedure
Complainants Can’t Appeal Dismissal of Atty Grievance
People who lodge a grievance against a lawyer can’t appeal whatever disciplinary authorities do or don’t do about it, the New Hampshire Supreme Court held Feb. 3 (In re Lath , 2017 BL 32804, N.H., No. LD-2016-00052016-0005, 2/3/17)....

Prosecutors Faulted for Use of Freestanding Subpoenas
An assistant prosecutor and his supervisor acted unethically by issuing investigative subpoenas untethered to any pending judicial action, the New Mexico Supreme Court decided Feb. 6 (In re Chavez , 2017 BL 34861, N.M., NO. S-1-SC-35469,...


Criminal Conduct
‘Shock Is the Word’ in Bust of Akin Gump Attorney
"Shocking," "sad" and "unbelievable" are some words attorneys used to describe the recent arrest of a fellow attorney accused of trying to sell access to a sealed false claims lawsuit to a potential defendant....

Private Firm
Virtual Law Offices Offer Flexibility, Ability to Draw Talent
While other attorneys are still battling traffic or packed into subway cars, a Delaware lawyer walks 10 feet to his home office and signs into work. Despite the fact that he’d have to cross state lines twice to get to the physical office...

Corporate Counsel
Deregulation May Trump Up New Business for Law Firms
The Trump administration’s march to deregulation may open up new opportunities for law firms, even as companies continue to tighten their legal spending....


Judicial Criticism
Social Media Attacks on Judges Vex Bar Counsel
Lawyers have groused about judges for as long as lawyers and judges have existed. But the advent of the internet and growth of social media has given members of the bar a metaphorical bullhorn to air grievances against members of the bench. ...

Trilemma: Defending Malpractice, Sanctions and Discipline Cases
Lawyers who defend other lawyers in sanction, malpractice and bar discipline proceedings must often make difficult strategic choices because an acceptable resolution in one forum could spell trouble for their clients in a parallel proceeding....


Model Rule on MCLE Gets Major Makeover After Nearly Three Decades
The overhaul got underway in 2014 when the ABA's policy-making House of Delegates asked the bar group's Standing Committee on CLE to consider changes to the 1988 MCLE Model Rule. ...


Liability Under N.Y. Judiciary Law §487—How Bad Does It Have To Be?
New York Judiciary Law §487 is a familiar adjunct to suits alleging negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and/or breach of an engagement agreement against lawyers and law firms. After reciting those claims in the complaint, plaintiff...