Legal Ethics

  • August 11, 2020

    JAMS Reviewing Vetting Process After Judge's Racist Email

    Mediation and arbitration giant JAMS Inc. on Tuesday said it had "severed [its] relationship" with a retired judge who shared a racist email that portrayed Black people as inherently inferior, saying that JAMS will immediately begin reviewing its vetting process for arbitrators.

  • August 11, 2020

    Iancu Wants Case Over PTAB Fee Model Held For Arthrex

    U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu has urged the Federal Circuit to pause a case alleging that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board's fee model improperly encourages judges to institute America Invents Act reviews, saying the case should be held until the U.S. Supreme Court moves forward on Arthrex.

  • August 11, 2020

    NY Firm Isn't Exempt From Virus Closure Orders, State Says

    New York state urged a federal judge Tuesday to toss a law firm's allegations that state officials abused their power by ordering the firm to stop doing business in person due to the pandemic, saying the firm isn't "somehow exempt" from orders aimed to protect the public health.

  • August 11, 2020

    NJ City Fights Suit By Ex-Judge Accused Of Being Drunk

    Newark, New Jersey, officials urged a federal court on Tuesday to toss a former municipal judge's lawsuit alleging she lost her job because she was falsely accused of being drunk at work, arguing that she wasn't fired but rather lawfully replaced after her term expired.

  • August 11, 2020

    Full DC Circ. Not Inclined To Immediately Halt Flynn's Case

    A majority of the judges on the full D.C. Circuit bench appeared inclined Tuesday to allow a trial judge to complete his inquiry into the U.S. Department of Justice's bid to abandon Michael Flynn's criminal case, pushing back on the former Trump national security adviser's extraordinary petition for immediate dismissal.

  • August 11, 2020

    Consultant Says Fla. Firm Underpaid For Google Class Action

    A legal consultant who worked on a $22 million advertiser class action against Google Inc. has filed suit alleging that the attorneys who handled the case cheated him out of hundreds of thousands of dollars he was owed for his work on the case.

  • August 11, 2020

    Calif. Atty Sues State Bar Over Discipline For Gender Remarks

    A California attorney who was called out last year for seemingly misogynistic and homophobic remarks sued the state bar on Tuesday in federal court, arguing that disciplinary proceedings related to the incident would violate his constitutional rights.

  • August 11, 2020

    9th Circ. Denies Judge Immunity For Immigrant's Illegal Arrest

    The Ninth Circuit on Tuesday backed a decision denying a Montana sheriff deputy and local judge qualified immunity for the unconstitutional courthouse arrest of an immigrant who was allegedly in the country illegally, finding the sheriff didn't have probable cause for the bust and that the judge was an "integral participant" in the misconduct. 

  • August 11, 2020

    DC Circ. Backs Atty Fee Cap In Civil Rights Row

    The D.C. Circuit rejected the efforts of attorneys representing hundreds of parents in a civil rights case to collect over $5 million in fees from Washington, D.C., and ruled that a congressional cap that strictly limited the amount they could collect in those cases was perfectly valid.

  • August 11, 2020

    Fla. Mobile Home Park's Owners Beat RICO Suit

    A federal judge has ruled that mobile home owners cannot pursue a proposed class action accusing the owners of a Florida mobile home park of engaging in a racketeering scheme to dupe individual homeowners and buyers into accepting more expensive land rental terms.

  • August 11, 2020

    'Questionable' Advice Lets Oxygen Mask Co. Dodge Contempt

    A Minnesota federal judge refused to hold an oxygen canister mask maker in contempt of a deal it inked requiring it not to infringe on a rival's patent and trade dress, saying the deal was struck based on "questionable" legal advice.

  • August 10, 2020

    Staffing Co. Says Law Firm Bungled Advice On H-1B Pay

    Populus Group LLC sued Clark Hill PLC in Michigan federal court on Monday, claiming the law firm cost the Detroit-area staffing agency more than a million dollars when it bungled its advice on the question of how to pay workers with H1-B visas.

  • August 10, 2020

    Lawyer Says Thalidomide Client's Claims Are Years Late

    A Waters Kraus & Paul LLP attorney called on a Pennsylvania federal court Monday to toss her onetime client's allegations that the lawyer misled her about when a suit over the purported link between the drug thalidomide and birth defects would be resolved, saying the woman filed her claims too late.

  • August 10, 2020

    Recruiter Axes Fee Suit Against Kilpatrick Townsend Partners

    After experiencing multiple losses in the courtroom, Houston-based legal recruiting firm Partners Legal Search has abandoned its $1.2 million Texas state court lawsuit that claimed two Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP partners robbed it of a job search fee by skirting the parties' 2017 agreement.

  • August 10, 2020

    Tenn. Prosecutor Beats Ex-Secretary's Disability Bias Suit

    A Tennessee federal judge on Monday handed a win to a prosecutor in a suit filed by a former secretary who claimed her firing was unlawful disability discrimination, finding that she couldn't show bias because never told her boss about her health condition.

  • August 10, 2020

    NYC Inks $3.2M Deal To Settle Illegal Wiretap Claims

    New York City and employees of the Kings County district attorney's office have inked a $3.2 million settlement with a class of individuals whose communications to a detective and an assistant district attorney were intercepted through a wiretap scheme spearheaded by Tara Lenich, a former assistant district attorney for the office.

  • August 10, 2020

    3 Immigration Judges Picked To Top Off Expanded BIA

    The U.S. Department of Justice has tapped three former immigration judges to the immigration courts' appellate board, including one judge with a nearly 99% asylum denial rate, bringing the board to full capacity after the Trump administration expanded it.

  • August 10, 2020

    BigLaw Atty Faces Ethics Complaint Over Kanye, Trump Work

    An accountability watchdog group has filed an ethics complaint against a Husch Blackwell LLP attorney who seemingly represented both the Donald Trump reelection campaign and musician Kanye West's presidential campaign simultaneously.

  • August 10, 2020

    Pa. Judge Bans Atty Exposed To Virus For Coming To Court

    A Pennsylvania judge chastised a local attorney who was exposed to COVID-19 for using the pandemic as a tactical weapon and banned her from entering county courthouse facilities after she ignored the court's directive and showed up for a hearing in person even though her son had the virus.

  • August 10, 2020

    Law Firm's 'Feeble' Efforts To Blame Over Pared-Down Suit

    A federal judge won't rethink his decision to pare down a law firm's suit against a suburban Chicago rival, blasting the firm for its "feeble prosecution" of allegations that the rival mimicked its website to confuse and steal potential clients.

  • August 10, 2020

    Ex-Mass. Judge Wants Out Of Clinician's Harassment Suit

    A former Massachusetts state judge who resigned after being accused of sexually harassing a court clinician sought an early win Monday in a civil suit alleging he orchestrated the woman's removal when she expressed reservations about continuing an affair, arguing he was not her employer.

  • August 10, 2020

    NY Judge With Alzheimer's To Retire After Conduct Concerns

    A Brooklyn state court judge has agreed to retire due to "advanced" Alzheimer's disease at the age of 54 after the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct received complaints about "erratic" behavior.

  • August 10, 2020

    USCIS Says Ga. Atty's H-1B Suit Was Served Incorrectly

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Friday sought to toss an attorney's lawsuit challenging its rejection of an H-1B visa for a Polish-speaking legal assistant in a town of 1,900 people, saying it had not been served properly.

  • August 10, 2020

    Indicted Mass. Judge To Appeal Immunity Ruling To 1st Circ.

    A Massachusetts state court judge charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly letting an immigrant escape federal custody will ask the First Circuit to weigh in on whether her actions are shielded from prosecution due to judicial immunity, according to a filing Monday.

  • August 07, 2020

    Drivers Seek Sanctions Against BMW In Defective Engine Suit

    Five BMW drivers who opted out of a nationwide class action lawsuit told a Massachusetts federal court the automaker should face sanctions for repeatedly refusing to hand over discovery, despite the fact that the court has previously ruled that the type of document requested is relevant.

Expert Analysis

  • Lesser-Known Litigation Funding Best Practices For Attorneys

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    Following the American Bar Association's recent publication of third-party litigation funding guidance, Jiamie Chen and Dai Wai Chin Feman at Parabellum Capital outline some additional considerations, including the ethical limitations on single-case funding and the futility of economic prenegotiations between attorneys and their clients.

  • Opinion

    ADA Protects Lawyers With Disabilities, But We Must Do More

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    As an attorney with cerebral palsy, Danielle Liebl at Reed Smith says that while the 30-year-old Americans with Disabilities Act has protected her against discrimination, the legal industry must do more to accommodate lawyers with disabilities and make them more comfortable in self-identifying.

  • Perspectives

    Legal Deserts Threaten Justice In Rural America

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    Many small towns and rural counties have few lawyers or none at all, which threatens the notion of justice for all Americans and demands creative solutions from legislators, bar associations and law schools, says Patricia Refo, president of the American Bar Association.

  • Analyzing Upward And Downward Trends In Legal Tech

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    Advances in legal technology are often accompanied by bombastic overstatements, but it is important to separate the wheat from the chaff by looking at where various technologies stand on the hype curve, says Lance Eliot at Stanford Law School.

  • Opinion

    ABA's New Guidance On Litigation Funding Misses The Mark

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    The American Bar Association should revise its recently approved best practices on third-party litigation funding as they do not reflect how legal finance actually works and could create confusion among lawyers, says Andrew Cohen at Burford Capital.

  • What Firms Should Ask Before Hiring Attorneys From Gov't

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    In the final year of any presidential administration, there is an undeniable appetite on the part of large law firms for government-savvy legal talent, but firms need to first consider how they will actually utilize their new star hire, says Michael Ellenhorn at Decipher.

  • The Ethics Of Using Chatbots For Legal Services

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    Delegating legal work to robots involves several risks, including running afoul of statutes dictating unauthorized practice of law, but with the right precautions, law firms can lawfully employ artificially intelligent chatbots that can imitate human conversations, say attorneys at Haynes and Boone.

  • Opinion

    ABA Must Seize Opportunity To Respond To Bar Exam Chaos

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    The challenges of administering bar exams this year have put the future of the profession in jeopardy, but the American Bar Association at its ongoing annual meeting can adopt a resolution that would urge jurisdictions to take emergency actions with respect to licensure of new attorneys, says Nicholas Allard, former president of Brooklyn Law School.

  • How Pandemic Is Affecting The Pace Of Judicial Opinions

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    The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way judges work, but how has it impacted the volume of work product they generate? Ben Strawn and Omeed Azmoudeh at Davis Graham investigate using data from the PACER federal courts registry.

  • Opinion

    DOJ 'Taint Teams' Pose Privilege Risks For Defendants

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    The U.S. Department of Justice's new Special Matters Unit may resolve some of the concerns regarding the agency's so-called taint teams reviewing potentially privileged material, but defense attorneys must stay vigilant as taint teams' inherent conflict of interest remains, say Jim Brochin and Pat Linehan at Steptoe & Johnson.

  • 6 Steps For Law Firms Looking To Improve Their Culture

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    The COVID-19 crisis represents an inflection point for law firm culture, and smart firm leaders will take advantage of this moment to build innovation-welcoming environments that support partners, associates, business services teams and clients alike, say Jennifer Johnson at Calibrate Legal and Kathleen Pearson at Pillsbury.

  • Virtual Courts Amplify Lawyers' Corporate Spokesperson Role

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    Greater access to virtual court proceedings during the pandemic means an increased likelihood that legal arguments will jump from the courtroom to the court of public opinion, so counsel must tailor statements with the client's reputation in mind, says Mike Dolan at Finsbury.

  • Law Firms Must Note Pandemic's Outsize Impact On Women

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    In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, gender roles in many families have reverted to scenes from the 1960s, and law firms have a huge opportunity — indeed a business imperative — to avoid the mistakes of the past, say Roberta Liebenberg at Fine Kaplan and Stephanie Scharf at Scharf Banks.

  • The 'Rocket Docket' Show Goes On Despite Setbacks

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    After 11 years as the fastest civil trial court in the land, the Eastern District of Virginia rocket docket is now tied for second place among the nation's 94 district courts, but the court has moved swiftly to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis and continues to dispense justice safely and efficiently, says Robert Tata at Hunton.

  • Opinion

    Pandemic Lays Bare The Inequities Inherent In The Bar Exam

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    The outrage over the life-altering consequences of decisions being made around state bar exams during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the classism built into the exam, and the legal profession should take this moment to reevaluate how new attorneys are licensed, say Naomi Shatz and Katherine Dullea at Zalkind Duncan.

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