Legal Ethics

  • February 22, 2017

    GEICO Says Plaintiffs' Attys Used Its Secrets Against USAA

    GEICO sued two plaintiffs' attorneys in Pennsylvania federal court Tuesday, alleging they obtained confidential information in discovery in a putative class action against the insurer and tried to use it to get a leg up in a similar suit against GEICO rival United Services Automobile Association, exposing GEICO's trade secrets.

  • February 22, 2017

    Atty In NFLer’s Stock Scheme Says Insurer Owes For Defense

    An attorney convicted for conspiring with former NFL player Willie Gault to illegally inflate the stock of their heart monitor company told a California state appeals court Wednesday that an insurer wrongly denied defense coverage based on a fraud exclusion, saying his pending criminal appeal means there’s no final judgment of fraud.

  • February 22, 2017

    Oil Heir Accuses Ex-Dallas DA, Dallas Attys Of Burglary

    In a wide-ranging lawsuit filed in Texas federal court Wednesday, Hunt Petroleum Corp. heir Al Hill III accused former Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins and a handful of prominent Dallas attorneys who formerly represented him of plotting a burglary of his home.

  • February 22, 2017

    ALPS Escapes Bid For Coverage Of Bruce Lee Movie Suit

    A Virginia federal judge on Wednesday ruled BigLaw malpractice insurer ALPS can duck out of covering an entertainment lawyer in a lawsuit over a rights deal gone bad for a movie about martial arts star Bruce Lee.

  • February 22, 2017

    DA Allegedly Axed Staffer For Whistleblowing On Shady Hiring

    A North Carolina district attorney's longtime assistant was fired months before her retirement benefits vested, in retaliation for reporting an alleged scheme in which two DAs hired each other's wives to do nothing for salaries of about $50,000, according to a whistleblower suit filed in state court Tuesday.

  • February 22, 2017

    Davis Polk-Comcast Call May Have Sparked DreamWorks Deal

    A Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP attorney's phone call to a Comcast executive about the potential representation of a financial adviser in a business transaction may have spawned the cable giant’s $3.8 billion deal for DreamWorks, according to documents from an insider trading suit against a Hong Kong investor.

  • February 22, 2017

    Pa. Justices Toss Atty's Termination Fee Appeal

    After hearing arguments in the dispute in December, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday dropped an appeal over whether a law firm could enforce a contingent fee agreement entitling it to part of an ex-client’s recovery even after the client hired new counsel to handle his case.

  • February 22, 2017

    Holland & Knight Says Advisory Role Didn’t Cause Conflict

    Holland & Knight LLP told a New York federal judge on Tuesday that it should not be disqualified from its lawsuit on behalf of First NBC Bank over alleged sham transactions filed against ethanol distributor Murex LLC, saying unrelated work performed for Murex did not constitute legal services.

  • February 21, 2017

    Sidley-Authored Report On 9/11-Era Torture Defamatory: Suit

    A group of psychologists accused a Sidley Austin LLP attorney of crafting a report for the American Psychological Association that unfairly laid the blame on them for interrogation tactics used by the U.S. military after the 9/11 attacks, saying in an Ohio suit that he ignored evidence and bolstered a story by the doctors’ critics.

  • February 21, 2017

    Ex-NJ Atty, Father Plead Not Guilty In $13M Ponzi Scheme

    A former New Jersey attorney and his father potentially facing decades in prison for operating a Ponzi scheme that bilked dozens of the lawyer’s clients out of $13 million tendered not guilty pleas Tuesday in federal court in Camden.

  • February 21, 2017

    SSA Judge Sues Agency Over Mandated LGBT Diversity Video

    An administrative law judge with the Social Security Administration has asked a Texas federal court to bar the SSA from forcing him to watch a diversity training video covering the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community that he claims offends his religious beliefs.

  • February 21, 2017

    Ohio High Court Suspends Atty For Rape Victim Bribery Plan

    The Ohio high court Tuesday handed an indefinite suspension to a Cleveland lawyer who went along with a scheme to offer “civil settlements” to sex assault victims in exchange for their support at their attacker’s sentencing.

  • February 21, 2017

    Ex-Gov't Atty Can Use Sexist Emails As Evidence, Judge Says

    A Washington federal judge will allow a former deputy criminal chief for the U.S. attorney’s office in Spokane to include crude emails from a male former colleague in her upcoming sex discrimination and equal pay trial against the U.S. Department of Justice, finding they are relevant to the case.

  • February 21, 2017

    Syngenta MDL Class Counsel Want Other Firms To Butt Out

    Class counsel for a nationwide group of corn producers, as well as groups from eight states, in multidistrict litigation over Syngenta’s allegedly false promotion of genetically modified corn accused several law firms of trying to steal their clients, asking a Kansas federal court Friday to direct the firms to stay away.

  • February 21, 2017

    Shkreli, Ex-Katten Atty Seek To Split Criminal Cases

    Former Turing Pharmaceuticals Inc. CEO Martin Shkreli and his former Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP attorney have filed motions to sever their criminal securities fraud cases, saying their defenses will be at odds as Shkreli claims he relied on counsel while the attorney says he was kept in the dark.

  • February 21, 2017

    High Court Won't Hear Bias Case Against Immigration Judge

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a Nepalese man’s request to consider whether an immigration judge unfairly denied him his request for asylum by asking him 184 questions and “essentially conducting the government's examination.”

  • February 21, 2017

    High Court Passes On Ex-Grant Thornton Atty’s ERISA Fight

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up a lawsuit against accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP by a former attorney alleging her ex-employer failed to comply with fiduciary and reporting duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • February 17, 2017

    Auditor Reviewed Dewey's London Tax Docs, Jury Hears

    A defense attorney for ex-Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP Chief Financial Officer Joel Sanders on Friday questioned the firm's former overseas finance director’s assertion that certain accounting maneuvers Sanders had pursued were improper, showing a New York jury evidence that outside auditors had reviewed the transactions.

  • February 17, 2017

    Ill. Supreme Court Faults Unregistered Legal Rep

    The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday declined to rule on the broad question of whether corporations must have attorneys represent them in administrative hearings, instead deciding 4-3 on the narrow issue brought by Stone Street Partners LLC that the person who represented the Chicago company at a 1999 code violation hearing did not properly file paperwork to do so.

  • February 17, 2017

    Plaintiff's Lawyer Fights Reed Smith Atty's Sanctions Bid

    An employment attorney who allegedly said that a Reed Smith LLP partner was displaying "female energy" during a deposition pushed back against a bid to sanction him for his remarks, telling a California federal court Thursday there has been hostility throughout the underlying wage-and-hour suit from counsel on both sides. 

Expert Analysis

  • Opinion

    Calif. Court Gets Automatic Funding Disclosure Right

    Matthew D. Harrison

    Detractors of litigation funding have strained to characterize a recent decision from a California federal court as significant headway in their crusade against the litigation funding industry. However, in truth, this is a victory for both the industry and those in need of capital to bring meritorious claims against wrongdoers in an often prohibitively expensive legal system, say Matthew Harrison and Priya G. Pai of Bentham IMF.

  • Talking 'Bull': Episode 15, What’s Your Number?

    Roy Futterman

    In this weekly column, real-life New York City jury consultant and psychologist Roy Futterman parses fact from fiction in "Bull," the new TV series airing on CBS about a fictional NYC jury consultant/psychologist. Spoiler alert ...

  • A Reprieve From The Deluge Of Hail Litigation In Texas

    James W. Holbrook

    The Texas Fourth Court of Appeals' ruling in Garcia v. State Farm is a definitive answer to one question commonly presented in hail disputes, holding that an insurer's payment of an appraisal award generally insulates the insurer from liability. This raises some ethical concerns, as hail lawyers continue to sign up insureds on a 40 percent contingency fee basis while knowing that their clients' disputes will likely be resolved by s... (continued)

  • In Retrospect

    Relearning The Lessons Of Korematsu's Case

    Randy Maniloff

    Fred Korematsu’s U.S. Supreme Court case challenging President Franklin Roosevelt’s executive order that led to the incarceration of approximately 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry may sound like ancient history. However, Feb. 19 marks the 75th anniversary of the order's signing, and that it’s celebrating its diamond anniversary now is breathtaking timing, says Randy Maniloff of White and Williams LLP.

  • How A General Counsel Should Think About AI: Part 2

    Bruce J. Heiman

    General counsels face the challenging task of understanding how companies can navigate the rules surrounding uses of artificial intelligence. To get smart on AI, general counsels must ask the right questions about areas such as human resources, intellectual property, liability and insurance, say Bruce Heiman and Elana Reman of K&L Gates LLP.

  • A Rule Against Pretext, Taken Out Of Context

    Charles Luce

    An attorney who negotiates a serial killer's surrender is suspended from legal practice. A highly successful investigative unit that protects children from internet predators is shut down. These are the results of an overly dogmatic approach to the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, which prohibit lawyers from engaging “in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation,” says Charles Luce of Moye White LLP.

  • Talking 'Bull': Episode 14, It's Classified

    Roy Futterman

    In this weekly column, real-life New York City jury consultant and psychologist Roy Futterman parses fact from fiction in "Bull," the new TV series airing on CBS about a fictional NYC jury consultant/psychologist. Spoiler alert ...

  • How A General Counsel Should Think About AI: Part 1

    Bruce J. Heiman

    Though the Trump administration has yet to make an official statement regarding artificial intelligence, support for AI is consistent with its expressed desire to promote American business. As such, general counsel will inevitably have to navigate what big data and AI mean for compliance with current and future laws and regulations, say Bruce Heiman and Elana Reman of K&L Gates LLP.

  • Saving Lawyers 1 Less Drink At A Time

    Jennifer Gibbs

    Lawyers are likely turning to alcohol to lessen stress and anxiety, to socialize, and even to sleep better. Unfortunately, many are unaware that their nightly pour could be causing or exacerbating the anxiety that is plaguing the legal profession, says Jennifer Gibbs of Zelle LLP.

  • Does Anti-SLAPP Law Apply To Legal Malpractice Claims?

    Felix Shafir

    After years of appellate opinions seeking to play down or mitigate the divisions among courts over the California anti-SLAPP statute’s application to claims against attorneys for alleged malpractice or other professional or ethical misconduct, a recent court of appeal dissent has acknowledged the clear and unmistakable conflict in the law. It is high time the California Supreme Court stepped in, say members of Horvitz & Levy LLP.