ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct

June 29, 2016 · Volume 32 Number 13


Conflicts of Interest
Adverse Use of Would-Be Client's Inquiry Justifies Firms' Ouster
Attorneys must stop representing a gun manufacturer in a personal injury suit because they used the fact that a plaintiff consulted one of the defense firms for possible representation to "attack and intimidate" her during her deposition,...

Conflicts of Interest
Looming Conflict Barred Representation of Shareholder
A law firm can't continue representing a shareholder in litigation against a corporation for which the firm was serving as counsel when it agreed to make the shareholder a client as well, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held June...

Trial Conduct
Mass. Lawyers May Initiate Contact With Jury After Verdict
A 2015 change to the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct "effectively overruled" four decades of case law that prohibited lawyers from initiating post-verdict contact with jurors without court approval or oversight,...

Trial Conduct
Unethical Compensation of Witness Doesn't Mandate Exclusion
The fact that a witness agrees to testify in exchange for a cut of the client's recovery, in violation of lawyer conduct rules, doesn't mean he has to be kept off the witness stand, the Colorado Supreme Court held June 20 (Murray v. Just...

Trial Conduct
6th Cir.: Bankruptcy Courts Can Sanction as ‘U.S. Court'
Bankruptcy courts are "courts of the United States" that are authorized to sanction attorneys under the federal vexatious-litigation statute, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled June 15 (Grossman v. Wehrle (In...

Client Who Couldn't Afford Arbitration May Sue in Court
A former client who ran out of funds to pay her share of the costs of arbitrating her malpractice claims against a law firm can go ahead and litigate those claims in court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled June 15 (Tillman v. Rheingold,...

Va. Allows Frustrated Beneficiary to Sue Will-Drafting Lawyer
A nonprofit that says it lost $600,000 because of an error in a benefactor's will may sue the lawyer who crafted it because the organization "was a ‘clearly and definitely intended' beneficiary of the contract to draft the...

Corporate Deal Didn't Require Arbitration of Malpractice Claims
An arbitration clause in the operating agreement of a company that a former Nixon Peabody partner formed with a client wasn't broad enough to cover claims in which the client accuses the lawyer of malpractice and breaching his fiduciary...

N.Y. Wipes Away Redskins Owner's $17m Malpractice Win
New York's highest court June 2 vacated a $17.2 million verdict that a private equity fund run by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder won in a malpractice suit that accused Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP of "botching a one-page...

ABA Was Wrong Target for Blind LSAT-Taker's Bias Suit
A blind man who claims the Law School Admission Test discriminates against visually impaired test-takers "sued the wrong party" when he asserted his Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit against the American Bar Association,...

Justices Offer Mixed Ruling on Legal Fees
Neither side won a clear victory as a result of a June 16 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on what standards apply for making a loser in a copyright infringement case pay the winner's attorneys' fees (Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons...


Advertising and Solicitation
Lawyer-Client Matching Services: Ethical High-Wire Act
Ohio lawyers can't take part in an online, nonlawyer-owned service that matches a prospective client with a lawyer for a particular legal service unless the business complies with the state's rule on lawyer referral services and...

Private Firm
Lawyer in UK ABS Can Be Partner in Separate NY Firm
A New York-licensed lawyer who is admitted in a foreign jurisdiction and practices with nonlawyer partners there may also practice in a separate New York law firm under certain conditions, according to a May 20 opinion from the New York state...


Fitness to Practice
Lawyer's ‘Extortion' Scheme Reaps Indefinite Suspension
A Kansas lawyer indefinitely lost his right to practice June 10 for making misrepresentations and wrongful demands to an oil producer that wanted to acquire mineral rights from him and other local property owners (In re Holyoak, 2016 BL 185310,...

Trial Conduct
Courthouse Prank Gone Wrong Gets Prosecutor Suspended
A prosecutor got a 30-day suspension of his law license from the Delaware Supreme Court June 10 after he convinced an officer to pull a gun on a colleague in a workroom at the county courthouse as a practical joke (In re Gelof, 2016 BL 185517, Del.,...


Private Firm
Battle Over Former Heller Attorneys' Billings Rages On
Clients’ right to choose who takes care of their legal matters outweighs a shuttered law firm’s interest in hours subsequently billed by attorneys who fled the sinking ship, counsel for law firms that hired those attorneys told...