ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct

Volume 34 Issue 11
May 30, 2018

The ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct consists of:
  • a regularly updated manual and
  • a biweekly Current Reports notification service.

For more information about this publication, click here.

Here are highlights from the latest issue of Current Reports:

Leading the News

Media Storm Raises Legal Ethics Questions for Stormy's Lawyer

Lawyer Michael Avenatti has generated a lot of media attention in representing Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against President Donald Trump. But it's his statements about Michael Cohen, the attorney behind payments to the adult film actress over an alleged affair with the president, and his disclosure of Cohen's bank records that have sparked a legal ethics debate. 273

Do Attorneys Need Mandatory Technology CLEs? N.C. Bar Says Yes

Lawyers need technological expertise, whether to protect a client's sensitive information, apply a data analytics tool during discovery, or simply to be adept at using a word processing program. 275

'King of Qui Tam' Runs Into Appeals Court Buzzsaw

A prolific tax whistleblower is having a tougher time making a living after his pattern of litigation under the Illinois False Claims Act hit a dry spell and a state appeals court cut off his ability to earn fees, data obtained by Bloomberg Tax reveals. 276

Calif. Judges' Sexual Harassment, Bias Settlements Secret No More (1)

Sexual harassment and discrimination settlements involving California judges and judicial employees who use public funds will be made public under a rule set to take effect June 1. 278

Court Decisions

Judge Leans Toward Yanking Activist Lawyer's Admission

A federal judge has signaled that she won't permit a California civil rights plaintiff to be represented by a controversial, out-of-state lawyer who once convened "citizen's grand juries" to indict a former president and two U.S. Supreme Court Justices. 280

Dismiss BigLaw Malicious Prosecution Suit, Judge Recommends

A federal magistrate judge recommended the dismissal of a lawsuit that accuses Reed Smith LLP and Clark Hill PLC of using baseless lawsuits, discovery delays—and even thuggish private eyes—to help a client conceal its criminal activities. 280

Firm Booted For Reading 'Burn Files' Client Kept After Fired

A law firm is out of a case because it didn't tell a pharmaceutical company defendant that the firm possessed confidential privileged information that its whistleblower client kept copies of after he was fired, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, ruled May 23 in an unpublished opinion. 281

Malpractice Policy Doesn't Cover Overbilling Allegations

A lawyer's billing practices are not considered part of his "professional services," so a malpractice carrier had no duty to defend him against a class action alleging he overbilled, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit said May 22. 282

No Conflict for Legal Aid Lawyer Who Went In-House

The Supreme Court of Arkansas clarified that a lawyer facing disqualification needs to show just that she lacked actual knowledge of the opposition's confidential information, even if she had access to it. 283

Allstate 'Forgery' Claim Was Attempt to 'Slander' Lawyer

A federal judge lambasted an insurance company for slandering an opposing attorney in a disqualification motion and for engaging in "highly questionable gamesmanship" to try to keep its own lawyer off the witness stand. 283

NFL Player's Lender Can't Relitigate Order Voiding Loan

A third-party lender who advanced money from the NFL concussion settlement to a player can't seek to enforce the loan agreement in arbitration, a federal court ruled May 22. 284

King & Spalding Can't Dodge Wrongful Termination Case

A lawsuit lives on against King & Spalding by a former associate who accuses the law firm of firing him for reporting alleged ethical lapses by two partners. 285

Pre-Bankruptcy Attorneys' Fees Disallowed

A law firm can't recover the $17,000 it claims it is owed by a bankrupt debtor who terminated the firm's services, a New York bankruptcy judge ruled. 285

Law Firm Avoids Email-Related Sanctions in Attorney Pay Suit

Tuggle Duggins PA shouldn't be sanctioned for failing to take steps to preserve emails that are potentially relevant to a lawsuit brought by a former partner, a North Carolina Business Court judge ruled May 22. 286

Ethics Opinions

N.Y. Firms Must Bear Lawyer's Surname: Ethics Opinion

A lawyer can't use a first name as the sole name of his or her firm, the New York state bar's ethics committee advised in a May 17 opinion. 287

Disciplinary Proceedings

Lawyer Reprimanded for Telling Friend His Wife Wants Divorce

A lawyer who disclosed that a prospective client wanted to divorce her allegedly abusive husband got the unusually light sanction of a reprimand from the Supreme Court of Nevada May 11. 288

Lawyer Who Threatened Axe Murder Disbarred

Indiana Supreme Court disbarred May 24 a lawyer convicted of intimidating his estranged wife by threatening to "split [her] chest open with an axe." 288


Courthouse Affair Gets Massachusetts Judge Suspended

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court indefinitely suspended a district court judge without pay, after finding the judge's ongoing affair with a court clinician brought the judiciary into disrepute. 290

California Law Restricts Immigration Status Disclosures in Court

California attorneys are prohibited from revealing an individual's immigration status without a judge's prior approval under a new law that goes into effect immediately. 290

Litigation Funders Now Ranked by Chambers

Chambers and Partners has started ranking litigation funding firms, the latest sign that litigation finance is here to stay. 291

Trump Lawyer Bank Leaker 'Terrified,' Lawyers Say He Should Be

A law enforcement official who reportedly leaked a secret bank filing about President Donald Trump's lawyer could face a rare prosecution, white collar defense attorneys and former prosecutors told Bloomberg Law. 291

ABA's Accreditation Standards Under Microscope in Two Suits

The American Bar Association faces suits in two separate but related cases implicating its law school accreditation standards. 293

ABA Hit With Another Suit on Law School Standards

The American Bar Association has been hit with a third suit in a week alleging its law school accreditation practices are arbitrary and unconstitutional. 293

#SoWhiteMale: Civil Rules Group's Makeup Limits Its Work

The committee that maintains the federal rules of civil procedure is under fire for lacking gender and racial diversity. 294

Government Disclosures Shed Light on Big Law Salaries

Law firm partnerships fiercely guard against disclosing what they pay their principals. But when partners go into the government, federal financial disclosures help reveal some of the best kept secrets in the legal industry. 294

Lawyers Need Vacations. Case Closed.

"Work hard, play hard" is often the busy professional's mantra. "Work hard, and keep on working" might be a better description for many lawyers. 295

Copyright © 2018 by the American Bar Association and The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., Washington, D.C.