ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct

September 9, 2015 · Volume 31 Number 18



Trial Conduct
Jones Day ‘Video' Sanction Reversed by 8th Circuit
A federal judge abused his discretion by requiring a Jones Day lawyer to make a training video as a sanction for what he deemed her obstructionist deposition tactics, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held Aug. 27 (Sec. Nat'l...

Trial Conduct
Wells Fargo Won't Get Sanctions From ‘Vexatious' Law Firm
Law firms can't be sanctioned under the federal statute that penalizes attorneys who use bad faith tactics to prolong litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declared Aug. 27 (Kaass Law v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2015...

Trial Conduct
Lawyer Gets $1,000 Sanction for ‘Menopause' Barb
An attorney who remarked that opposing counsel's discomfort during a deposition may have been attributable to menopausal symptoms must pay her $1,000 and attend a professionalism course, the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto...

Trial Conduct
Bankruptcy Stay Doesn't Affect Court's Sanctioning Power
Judges may sanction an attorney for litigation misconduct even after he has filed for bankruptcy, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan concluded Aug. 25 (In re Chaban, 2015 BL 273784, E.D. Mich., No. 2:14-cv-14559-SJM-RSW,...

State Rule Limiting Admission on Motion Affirmed by 3d Cir.
Pennsylvania's rule that limits bar admission on motion to lawyers whose home state extends the same privilege to Pennsylvania lawyers meets constitutional standards, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Aug. 26 (Nat'l...

Federal Court May Limit Easier Entry to State Bar Members
A local rule that allows attorneys licensed in New Jersey to gain quick admission to that state's federal district court doesn't violate federal law or the constitutional rights of out-of-state attorneys ineligible for that privilege,...

Litigation Funding Contract Didn't Violate Ethics Rules
A class action law firm can't invoke ethics rules to void a litigation funding agreement that gave a hedge fund a security interest in the firm's accounts receivable, the New York Supreme Court, New York County, held Aug. 17 (Hamilton...

Contingent Fee on Victim Restitution Money Invalidated
A law firm that represented an assault victim in a civil case against his attackers can't collect a contingent fee from a restitution payment the client received from one of the perpetrators, the Texas Court of Appeals, Fifth District,...

Expert Needed to Explain Proximate, but Not But-For, Causation
A malpractice plaintiff didn't need an expert witness to prove but-for causation, but expert testimony was necessary to prove proximate causation and the affidavit the client's expert produced fell short of the statutory minimum...

Innocence Isn't Prerequisite to Malpractice Lawsuit
Convicted clients needn't show that they were "actually innocent" of the charges before suing their former lawyers for malpractice, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Aug. 28 (Mashaney v. Bd. of Indigents' Defense Servs.,...

Private Firm
No Bias, Retaliation Claim for Black Lawyer Denied Partnership
A black associate denied partnership by Ropes & Gray LLP lacks a race discrimination or retaliation claim against the Boston law firm, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled Aug. 25 (Ray v. Ropes & Gray LLP, 2015 BL 273389,...

Lawyer-Client Relationship
Judge Could Oust Lawyer Hired to ‘Engineer' Recusal
A trial judge did nothing wrong in barring a lawyer's appearance in a case based on evidence that the party who hired the lawyer did so "in a ploy to engineer the judge's recusal," the Ohio Court of Appeals, First District, held...



Client's Adverse Claim Requires Warning About Privilege Waiver
A lawyer whose former client, acting pro se, is threatening adverse action—by filing an ineffective assistance petition, malpractice suit or bar complaint—must inform the ex-client that initiating such proceedings could...

Rule Limits When Attorneys May Report Child Abuse
Absent client consent an attorney may not report information about suspected child abuse learned during a representation unless the lawyer believes it necessary "to prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm,"...

Connecticut Lawyers May Join Bartering Network
Connecticut lawyers may become paying members of "barter exchange" networks that enable professionals and retailers to trade their respective goods and services, so long as certain ethics safeguards are observed, the Connecticut...



Lawyer-Client Relationship
Consultation Fee Didn't Make Potential Client a Real One
The fact that a divorce lawyer charged a fee to consult with a prospective client didn't make that person an actual client, and thus the lawyer didn't violate ethics rules by subsequently representing an adverse party in a related matter,...

Fitness to Practice
Lawyer Used Database to Assess Romantic Partners
An assistant attorney general demonstrated her lack of fitness to practice law by accessing a government database "to seek information about four individuals that either she or her friends were dating," the Ohio Supreme Court ruled...



Private Firm
Law Firms to Spend $6.9M to Keep Client Data Secure
Law firms this year will typically spend more than $6.9 million on information security, or 1.92 percent of their gross annual revenues, a recently released survey of big law firms said....

Corporate Counsel
Dole Counsel, CEO Liable for Buyout Fraud
Dole Food's corporate counsel and its chief executive officer are liable for over $148 million in damages for breaches of fiduciary duty arising out of CEO David Murdock's take-private transaction of the company, the Delaware Chancery...