ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct

July 13, 2016 · Volume 32 Number 14



Conflicts of Interest
N.Y. Court Endorses ‘Intrafirm' Attorney-Client Privilege
A corporate executive who claims he lost $5 million in stock options because of a lawyer's poor advice can't discover communications between the allegedly negligent attorney and her firm's general counsel, a New York intermediate...

Conflicts of Interest
Waivers Found Useless in Sprawling Medical Fraud Case
A law firm had a disqualifying conflict of interest in representing both the plaintiff in civil racketeering litigation and a criminal defendant who pleaded guilty in the scheme, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California...

Conflicts of Interest
Proskauer Doesn't Have Disqualifying Issue Conflict
Proskauer Rose won't be disqualified as co-counsel for a company on the basis of conjecture that the company's legal position in the litigation is adverse to the interests of Proskauer's current clients in other cases, a federal...

Judicial Error Can Relieve Trial Counsel of Malpractice Liability
A trial judge's error—rather than a law firm's alleged negligence—was the proximate cause of damages incurred by clients who pursued a successful but expensive appeal of an adverse verdict, the Texas Supreme Court...

Conflicts of Interest
Ex-Judge Can't Represent Defendant He Arraigned
A former judge who left the bench shortly after presiding over a defendant's arraignment and plea hearing was properly disqualified as counsel for that man in his still-pending criminal case, a deeply divided Arkansas Supreme Court held...

LLP Law Firms Needn't Carry Insurance When Winding Down
LLP law firms that are closing shop in New Jersey don't have to keep their malpractice insurance in place while winding up their affairs, nor must they buy "tail coverage" for claims lodged against them after dissolution, the state...

Trial Conduct
Court Retained Sanction Power Despite Defective Motion
A trial court doesn't lose the power to sanction violations of Florida's frivolous litigation statute merely because the party that sought the penalty filed a defective motion, the Florida District Court of Appeal, Fourth District,...



Lawyer Must Disclose Co-Counsel's Malpractice to Client
A lawyer who reasonably believes that her co-counsel in a pending matter has committed a significant error must disclose that information to the client, the New York state bar's ethics committee advised in a recent opinion (N.Y. State...

Conflicts of Interest
Knowledge of Ex-Client's Assets Bars Representation of Lender
A lawyer who represented a businesswoman on various other matters over seven years may not represent a new client in suing the businesswoman for allegedly defaulting on a loan, the Philadelphia bar's ethics committee advised in a June...

Lawyer Can't Divulge Client Secrets in Response to Bad Online Review
An attorney can't disclose confidential information about a former client to respond to negative reviews that individual posted about the lawyer on consumer rating websites, the Nassau County Bar Association's ethics committee...



Covert Meddling With Ex-Firm's E-Mail Brings Suspension
An attorney must stop practicing law for at least six months for surreptitiously accessing his former firm's e-mail accounts, deleting messages he exchanged with the firm's principal about possible legal action and lying about...

Prosecutor's Tardy Disclosure Brings Six-Month Suspension
A prosecutor who kept mum about having obtained suggestive eyewitness identifications until that evidence came out at trial deserves a six-month suspension for violating the ethics rule on prosecutors' special responsibilities,...

Obligations to Third Persons
Crafty Dealings With Adversary Usher in Suspension
A lawyer pushing a copyright infringement suit against the performing artist Usher unethically inveigled an unrepresented defendant into thinking he was just a witness who wasn't on the hook for personal liability, the U.S. Court of...

N.M. Clarifies Requirements for Nonmonetary Flat Fees
A lawyer who accepted real property as a flat fee breached ethics rules in several ways, such as by transferring an interest in the property to his legal assistant before he fully earned it, the New Mexico Supreme Court held June 16 (In re Montclare,...

Reciprocal Discipline
UPL in Other States Brings Disbarment in Home State
A lawyer deserves to be disbarred in Oklahoma as reciprocal discipline for his unauthorized practice of law in other states, the Oklahoma Supreme Court decided June 28 (State ex rel. Okla. Bar Ass'n v. Auer, 2016 BL 206495, Okla., No. SCBD-6213,...



Model Rules
Cal. Rules Redo Marries Borrowed Rules With Old and New
The California State Bar is seeking feedback by Sept. 27 on a big set of proposed revisions to the rules governing lawyer conduct in the Golden State....

Labor Department
Court Declines to Block DOL Persuader Rule
A federal district court in Minnesota said a Labor Department's rule change covering "persuader" activity under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act is inconsistent with the statute, but the court refused to...

Regulation of Bar
Panel Recommends Limits on ABA's Accreditation Power
A independent advisory panel recently recommended that the U.S. Department of Education issue a one-year suspension of the ABA's authority to accredit new law schools. ...

Social Media
Judge's Facebook Posts Prompt N.M. Ethics Guidance
Recent ethics guidance from the New Mexico Supreme Court shows social media is risky business for judges, scholars told Bloomberg BNA (State v. Thomas, 2016 BL 195991, N.M., No. 34,042, 6/20/16)....

Criminal Conduct
Lawyer Couple's Sex Extortion Convictions Stand
A pair of married lawyers who were convicted in state court of blackmailing the wife's paramours can't undo their convictions in federal court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held June 29 (Roberts v. Anderson, 2016...

Malpractice Action Survives After Massive Records Dump
The production of a single e-mail from a mortgage company CEO after the company destroyed electronic evidence for nearly two years requires an adverse inference instruction, the New York Supreme Court held June 28 in an unpublished decision...