Legal Ethics

  • January 17, 2020

    Feds Seek To Jam Revolving Door In High-Profile Cases

    Federal prosecutors are questioning whether a Skadden attorney should be disqualified from defending a former trader at JP Morgan against spoofing charges in the latest example of the U.S. Department of Justice claiming an ex-government attorney may have brought too much inside information through the revolving door.

  • January 17, 2020

    Texas Justices Won't Review Frack Co.'s Atty Malpractice Suit

    The Texas Supreme Court on Friday denied a fracking equipment leasing company's bid for the justices to review whether the business waited too long to sue an attorney who allegedly drafted a deal that effectively allowed company items to be seized.

  • January 17, 2020

    Owner of Bankrupt Golf Co. Held In Contempt In Patent Suit

    A New York federal judge on Friday held the owner of defunct golf company King Par Corp. in contempt for failing to answer a discovery request after a rival company won an $8.9 million verdict on allegations that King Par had stolen the rival's design for a golf bag.

  • January 17, 2020

    Texas High Court Passes On Appeal Against Beyoncé's Dad

    The Texas Supreme Court declined Friday to consider an appeal in a dispute between Matthew Knowles, father of pop superstar Beyoncé, and Knowles' former attorney, who allegedly overcharged Knowles for shoddy work.

  • January 17, 2020

    Napoli Bern Seeks New Trial In Asbestos Fee Dispute

    A dozen defunct law firms connected to New York plaintiffs attorney Paul Napoli have asked a Maryland federal court to overturn a jury verdict that they are on the hook for $1.5 million in a dispute over unpaid referral fees in an asbestos case.

  • January 17, 2020

    NJ Court Urged Not To Toss Suit Against Disbarred Pol

    The former running mate of a disbarred attorney and ex-New Jersey mayor who was convicted on extortion charges is urging a county court not to toss his malpractice suit against Peter Cammarano, arguing he has submitted sufficient information for the case to proceed.

  • January 16, 2020

    Law360's The Week In Discipline

    A New York judge who got into ethical hot water while representing his daughter and an Oklahoma attorney who had a "malleable" relationship with the truth lead Law360's The Week in Discipline, which compiles sanctions and conduct charges that may have flown under the radar.

  • January 16, 2020

    Zeichner Ellman Wants $150M Malpractice Suit Tossed In NY

     A New York federal court should toss a legal malpractice suit that contends a law firm schemed to wrongfully divert more than $150 million from the assignee of a trust fund, as the assignee fails to substantiate its claim, the firm has contended.

  • January 16, 2020

    Mexico Must Share Quinn Emanuel Probe Info In $700M Case

    Mexico must disclose whether it's investigating alleged improprieties committed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP stemming from its representation of U.S. investors seeking at least $700 million from the country in arbitration over terminated oil rig lease agreements, an international tribunal has ruled.

  • January 16, 2020

    Texas Atty Who Hid Client's Death Stuck In Malpractice Suit

    A Houston attorney who last week lost a bid to escape a professional misconduct suit over his failure to disclose the death of a client to the other attorneys or judge can't end a malpractice suit brought by the client's sons either, a Texas appellate court said Thursday.

  • January 16, 2020

    Copyright Atty Should Be Disbarred, Not Fined, Judge Told

    With a Manhattan federal judge weighing more sanctions against Richard Liebowitz, an opposing attorney is asking for stiff penalties against the litigious copyright lawyer that “go well beyond monetary sanctions,” including disbarment or sending him to the U.S. attorney’s office.

  • January 16, 2020

    Ticket-Fixing Ex-Judge Stripped Of NJ Law License

    The New Jersey Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred a former municipal court judge who falsified court records as part of a purported scheme to steer $600,000 in fines from Monmouth County to towns where he presided by converting motor vehicle fines to contempt of court sanctions.

  • January 16, 2020

    6th Circ. Overturns Atty Sanctions In Medical Device Suit

    The Sixth Circuit on Thursday vacated $655,689 in attorney fees that Cavitch Familo & Durkin Co. LPA and three of its attorneys were ordered to pay for discovery abuses in a dispute between two medical device companies, as the lawyers weren't given proper notice.

  • January 16, 2020

    Harvard Students Threaten To Boycott Paul Weiss Over Exxon

    A Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP recruitment event Wednesday was interrupted by a group of Harvard Law students, who sang, chanted and threatened the global firm with losing future recruits if it continues to represent ExxonMobil Corp.

  • January 16, 2020

    Brown Rudnick Wants $300M Malpractice Suit Tossed

    Brown Rudnick LLP is hitting back against a suit that claims the firm botched a $300 million clawback claim against the bankrupt Lyondell Chemical Co., calling the malpractice allegations little more than "Monday morning quarterbacking" and a ham-fisted attempt to avoid paying fees.

  • January 16, 2020

    Phelan Hallinan Won't Be Sanctioned For 'Stale' Accusations

    A Pittsburgh federal judge denied a motion for sanctions Wednesday against Phelan Hallinan & Schmieg LLP for allegedly making a false claim about its opponent collecting fees, since the claim appeared in a footnote to a sur-reply filed more than two years ago and was now "stale."

  • January 16, 2020

    Attys Can't Pursue Insurer For Cut Of Ex-Client's Settlement

    The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a firm looking for a share of a former client's settlement with a subsidiary of Progressive Corp. had to pursue a claim against the client directly and could not hold Progressive accountable for the firm allegedly being cut out of the funds.

  • January 15, 2020

    Atty's Racism Requires New Murder Trial, Full 9th Circ. Says

    A California man serving a life sentence for murder will get a new trial after a majority of the full Ninth Circuit found Wednesday that his virulently racist lawyer provided ineffective counsel, depriving him of his Sixth Amendment rights.

  • January 15, 2020

    5th Circ. Calls Gender Pronoun Orders A 'Quixotic' Task

    Granting requests from transgender litigants to change court records to reflect their preferred names and pronouns would be a "quixotic undertaking" that could call into question judges' impartiality, a divided Fifth Circuit said Wednesday.

  • January 15, 2020

    Ex-Attys Can't DQ New Counsel In $350M Shire Deal

    The attorneys who used to represent a whistleblower failed Tuesday to get a Florida federal judge to disqualify the whistleblower’s new attorneys in their fight over a cut of the attorney fee award in a $350 million deal with biotech company Shire Pharmaceuticals PLC.

  • January 15, 2020

    VW Aims To DQ Ex-FBI Chief From 'Clean Diesel' Bellwether

    Volkswagen has told a California federal judge that former FBI director Louis J. Freeh cannot testify on behalf of plaintiffs in an upcoming bellwether trial because Freeh previously received confidential information when he was angling to represent Volkswagen in mounting litigation tied to its "clean diesel" emissions scandal.

  • January 15, 2020

    Attorney's TV News Interview Draws Call For Sanctions

    A Pittsburgh invention marketing company sought sanctions Wednesday for an interview that plaintiff’s attorney Julie Pechersky Plitt gave local CBS affiliate KDKA-TV calling the company a “fraud,” which it says ran afoul of Pennsylvania’s rules of professional conduct for lawyers. 

  • January 15, 2020

    Atty Can't Be Both Trial Counsel and Witness, Judge Says

    Quality Plus Services' general counsel can't represent the company at trial because she is one of the key witnesses for the other side in a $1.3 million insurance dispute over cybercrime losses, a Virginia federal judge said Wednesday.

  • January 15, 2020

    Lawyer Seeks Share Of $4M Atty Fees In Wrongful Death Case

    A Michigan lawyer representing the family of a man fatally shot by police in San Bernardino County, California, is alleging in state court that the plaintiff's lead attorney cut him out of his portion of $4 million in attorney fees that emerged from the underlying case’s settlement.

  • January 15, 2020

    Profane Atty Says 'Sorry' In Allstate Sanctions Fight

    A Culver City, California, attorney who sent threatening, profanity-laced emails to Allstate's counsel during an insurance coverage suit has reiterated his apologies to the court and told the court that Allstate has submitted an inflated cost and fees estimate in its sanctions request, calling the motion "excessive and unnecessary."

Expert Analysis

  • FIRREA Remains Potent Civil Fraud Enforcement Tool

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    Last year, three court decisions addressing the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act's civil monetary penalties provision — two at the final judgment stage and one at the pleadings stage — expanded FIRREA jurisprudence and remind us why this statute cannot be ignored, say attorneys at Morgan Lewis.

  • How Associate Life Has Evolved Over The Past Decade

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    During the last 10 years, the need to embrace change was fundamental for law firms, and that change affected associates in many ways — most, but not all, for the better, says Brad Kaufman, co-president of Greenberg Traurig.

  • Why Reformers Want Disclosure Of 3rd-Party MDL Funding

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    With third-party litigation funding increasingly being used to finance large and prolonged multidistrict litigations, more disclosure of funding agreements may be warranted to address potential biases and distortions of control and decision-making, say attorneys at Duane Morris.

  • Series

    Judging A Book: Dyk Reviews 'Democracy And Equality'

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    In their new book "Democracy and Equality: The Enduring Constitutional Vision of the Warren Court," Geoffrey Stone and David Strauss provide valuable context for U.S. Supreme Court decisions under Chief Justice Earl Warren that have profoundly affected the country, but their overly protective attitude sometimes obscures reality, says Federal Circuit Judge Timothy Dyk.

  • Rodeo Ruling Clarifies Atty Conflict Rules In Derivative Suits

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    While the Texas Supreme Court's recent decision not to disqualify Kelly Hart & Hallman's representation of owners of the Billy Bob's Texas rodeo in a dispute over control of the business is noteworthy, its clarification on firms' conflicts of interest in derivative cases is the more important point, says former Texas Court of Appeals Justice Douglas Lang, of Dorsey & Whitney.

  • 7 Insider Tips For Working With In-House Counsel

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    For outside firms wondering how to best support busy in-house lawyers, several practices can help navigate critical legal issues and novel business challenges while strengthening the working relationship, says Virginia Hudson, associate general counsel at Capital One.

  • 50 Years Later, Interpretive Challenges Remain For RICO

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    In the 50 years since the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was passed, courts' attempts to clarify the statute have had some success, but many interpretive dilemmas remain unresolved, says Randy Gordon of Barnes & Thornburg.

  • 7 Ethics Tips For Lawyers' Pretrial Social Media Use

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    As ethical constraints on pretrial social media use evolve, the American Bar Association's Model Rules and several court opinions provide guidance on avoiding violations when collecting evidence, researching jurors and friending judges, say Hilary Gerzhoy and Mark Davis at Harris Wiltshire.

  • Opinion

    States Should Not Follow ABA On Attorney Conduct Rules

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    Because the American Bar Association's new rule on diversity continues to use the Model Rules of Professional Conduct as a cultural bludgeon, states should create independent codes limited to constitutionally valid purposes of attorney regulation, says Bradley Abramson of Alliance Defending Freedom.

  • How Courts And Litigants Can Benefit From Special Masters

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    As we approach the first anniversary of the American Bar Association's adoption of guidelines for the appointment and use of special masters in civil litigation, retired U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, now at Stroock, explains how special masters can help parties and courts with faster decision-making and subject matter expertise.

  • Uber Policy Calls For Refresher On ABA Confidentiality Rules

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    Uber's recent policy update allowing drivers to audio-record passenger rides is a reminder for lawyers to observe the highest standard of care in protecting client information under the American Bar Association's confidentiality model rule, says Paul Boehm at Williams & Connolly.

  • The Real Danger Of Outsourced Government Investigations

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    Following the New York federal court ruling last year in U.S. v. Connolly excoriating the government for effectively outsourcing an investigation, the concern over the rules of engagement with the government likely is misplaced. Instead, company counsel may want to focus on growing ethical pitfalls in internal investigations, say attorneys at Foley & Lardner.

  • 4 Simple Rules For Witness Note Taking

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    Witness notes that form the center of a plaintiff’s case have largely been replaced by digital systems, but they remain on defense counsel’s radar, and with proper safeguards can be a witness's best friend, says Matthew Keenan at Shook Hardy.

  • The Meaninglessness Of 'Disinterested' Revisited

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    A federal judge's ruling — expected to be appealed Tuesday — in the securities fraud trial of former executives of hedge fund Platinum Partners, together with the testimony of a former BakerHostetler attorney, leave no doubt that the law firm should not have been allowed to represent Black Elk Energy in bankruptcy, says attorney Richard Roth.

  • Opinion

    2 Overlooked Advantages Of Hourly Fees

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    Alternative-fee disputes like Bartlit Beck v. Okada in Illinois federal court may tell us something about the reasons for the continued vitality of the hourly fee, especially among clients who have the wherewithal to pay, says attorney J.B. Heaton.