By Karen Rubin on Posted in Communication,Confidentiality,Law Practice ManagementOld-time lawyers say that it used to be easy to get the court's permission to withdraw from a case. You would just go to the judge and state, "Your Honor, we are not ready to go forward, and I am seeking leave to withdraw, because Mr. Green has not arrived." You know: "Mr. Green" aka the moolah, aka the promised fee from the client. And, so the story goes, the judge would bang the gavel and grant your motion.… Continue Reading
By Karen Rubin on Posted in Communication,In-house Counsel,Unrepresented partiesWhen the government comes knocking during a grand jury investigation, can a G-man interview one of your executives without getting consent from counsel? Last month, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine said "Yes," and refused to suppress an executive's statements in the tax fraud case against him, holding that the ex parte chat didn't violate ethics rules. The case shows how in a federal criminal investigation, an exception to the well-known "no-contact" rule can sweep away its protection.
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By Karen Rubin on Posted in Communication,Conflicts,How Not to Practice,MalpracticeWhat should you do when you are co-counsel on a case or in a deal, and you become aware that the other lawyer has made an error? A new ethics opinion from the New York State Bar Association says that if you reasonably believe that your co-counsel has committed a significant error or omission that may give rise to a malpractice claim, you must disclose the information to the client.… Continue Reading
By Karen Rubin on Posted in Communication,Fees,Law Practice ManagementIn today's soft legal services market, some aspiring members of the profession feel pressure to work for free, but the fairness of such arrangements in general has come under scrutiny. In a twist, the New York State Bar Association earlier this month said that law firms could bill clients for services provided by unpaid legal interns, as long as the amount is not excessive, and the internship program complies with applicable law. … Continue Reading
By Karen Rubin on Posted in Communication,Competence,Law Practice Management,PrivilegeWhat’s ethical may nonetheless not be a best practice — timely advice from the ethics committee of the New York State Bar Association, which weighed in recently with an ethics opinion on the practice of blind copying your client on e-mails you send to opposing counsel. The inquiry to the NYSBA’s Committee on Professional Ethics arose because the… Continue Reading
By Karen Rubin on Posted in Communication,Unrepresented partiesWe’ve mentioned before that some courts look with disfavor on lawyers helping pro se litigants by ghostwriting briefs for them to file as their own. Some opinions discussing the issue frame the conduct as lawyer deceit, as misrepresentation, or even as potential contempt of court. In a related twist, the ABA ethics committee has recently tried to issue some… Continue Reading