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Legal Ethics

  • October 2, 2018

    Firm Beats $5M Malpractice Claim, Wins $150K For Fees

    An Iowa federal jury held on Monday that a Nebraska law firm didn’t commit legal malpractice while representing a man in a suit over ownership of an insurance marketing company, awarding the firm $150,000 on its cross-claim for unpaid fees.

  • October 2, 2018

    6th Circ. Revives Cuban Immigrant's Bid To Vacate Sentence

    A split Sixth Circuit panel ruled Tuesday that a district court improperly denied a Cuban man’s bid to vacate his sentence for drug dealing, finding the judge’s analysis was "incomplete" for failing to consider recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions related to the deportation consequences of criminal convictions.

  • October 2, 2018

    Fla. Attys Fend Off Partnership Breach Suit, Win Sanctions

    A Florida federal judge on Tuesday granted two South Florida attorneys' request for sanctions against their former partner in California and permanently dismissed what they said were frivolous claims that they had failed to pay him his fair share of profits in their cross-country partnership.

  • October 2, 2018

    Senate Dems Push GOP To Release Kavanaugh FBI Findings

    As the FBI continues a secondary background investigation into the sexual assault allegations against D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Democrats pushed Tuesday to release as much of the findings as possible before a planned vote on his U.S. Supreme Court nomination.

  • October 2, 2018

    Judge Scolds JPMorgan, Traders For 'Excessive' Redactions

    A New York federal judge has ordered both sides in a $25 million competition suit against JPMorgan Chase & Co. to refile their motions over what evidence to allow at trial without the “extremely excessive” redactions, saying that by his estimation, up to 90 percent of the redacted information should not have been concealed.

  • October 2, 2018

    Baker Donelson DQ'd In BCBS Antitrust Row Against Ex-Client

    Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC can’t represent a Blue Cross Blue Shield unit against antitrust claims lodged by United Allergy Services, as it had represented the latter in related allegations years before, a Louisiana federal judge ruled Tuesday.

  • October 2, 2018

    Georgia-Pacific Affiliate Says Ch. 11 Should Keep Going

    Georgia-Pacific affiliate Bestwall LLC has defended its Chapter 11 filing, telling a North Carolina bankruptcy judge that a committee of asbestos claimants is pushing “unsubstantiated allegations” by asserting that its parent company is using the case to evade asbestos claims.

  • October 2, 2018

    Atty Accused Of Depositing Stolen $1M Tax Refund Check

    A California attorney has been arrested by federal agents and accused of depositing a stolen check from the U.S. Department of the Treasury worth more than $1 million, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • October 2, 2018

    Ex-King & Spalding Atty's Counsel Have Dibs On Any Award

    A federal magistrate judge in Manhattan ruled Tuesday that an ex-King & Spalding LLP associate’s “hostility and threats” toward the law firm that represented him in his wrongful termination suit gave the firm good cause to back out of the lawsuit, entitling it to a claim on any winnings collected by its former client.

  • October 2, 2018

    NYU Workers Want New Trial After Judge Joins Cravath

    The judge who threw out a $358 million Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action against New York University should have recused herself because she planned to join a law firm chaired by an NYU trustee, according to the workers who brought the suit.

  • October 2, 2018

    NJ Atty Suspended Over $16K Referral Fee Paid To Lawyer

    The New Jersey Supreme Court has suspended a personal injury attorney for three months after he failed to show cause for why he shouldn’t be disciplined for paying another lawyer $16,000 for a single referral and for evading clients’ requests for an accounting of a $175,000 settlement.

  • October 2, 2018

    Ex-Novak Druce Atty Sues Polsinelli Over Unpaid Fees

    A former associate at now-defunct intellectual property firm Novak Druce Connolly Bove & Quigg has sued Polsinelli PC and several former Novak Druce partners who now work there on claims he was cheated out of over $125,000 in commissions he earned before the firm dissolved.

  • October 2, 2018

    Fla. Justices Unsure How To Stop 'Artificial' Judicial Vacancies

    A Jacksonville attorney trying to force an election for a soon-to-open judicial seat urged the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday to reject the “artificial vacancies” created by judges stepping down a few days before their terms end to trigger a gubernatorial appointment, but the justices seemed unsure about how they could draw a line to stop the practice.

  • October 2, 2018

    Sedgwick Files For Ch. 11 Bankruptcy

    Sedgwick LLP, the shuttered San Francisco-based firm that closed its doors at the beginning of the year, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Northern California federal court on Tuesday.

  • October 1, 2018

    Justices Won't Hear Claims Against Orrick By Ill. Atty

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an Illinois lawyer’s challenge to a $75,000 sanction imposed by the Second Circuit over a faulty bid to disqualify an Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP attorney.

  • October 1, 2018

    Napoli, Firms Say Asbestos Fee Agreements Violate NY Ethics

    New York plaintiffs lawyer Paul Napoli and others connected to a now-defunct firm he co-founded asked a Maryland federal judge to rule against a Baltimore attorney in a dispute over unpaid fees in asbestos cases, saying the fee-splitting agreements she made with the defunct firm are barred by New York ethics rules.  

  • October 1, 2018

    Proposed Asbestos Trust Rep Faces Depo In Duro Dyne Ch. 11

    Amid enhanced government scrutiny of bankruptcy trusts for asbestos exposure victims, a New Jersey bankruptcy judge said Monday that the proposed representative for future claimants in the Chapter 11 case for Duro Dyne National Corp. must show evidence of disinterest before being formally appointed.

  • October 1, 2018

    5th Circ. Says Ethics Class Sanction For Atty Unreasonable

    The Fifth Circuit has affirmed two sanctions imposed on an attorney who was unresponsive to his client after losing an appeal of a criminal sentencing in Texas federal court, but softened the requirement that he take ethics courses because it would necessitate that he enroll at a law school.

  • October 1, 2018

    Mass Tort Firm Faces Employee Class Suit Over 401(k) Fees

    A proposed class action by employees of the national mass tort law firm Andrus Wagstaff PC against Nationwide Life Insurance Company over allegedly exorbitant retirement plan fees has been updated to include claims against Andrus Wagstaff, saying the firm breached its fiduciary duties to its employees by picking the plan.

  • October 1, 2018

    Insurer Need Not Cover Pa. Law Firm's Malpractice Suit

    An insurer doesn’t have to cover a Pennsylvania law firm in a professional malpractice suit that a client filed after the firm allegedly used privileged information to benefit its attorneys’ side business in a real estate development, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Expert Analysis

  • Series

    Clerking For Ginsburg: The Equality Lessons

    Margo Schlanger

    In 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and I began my two-year clerkship with her. In her first opinion as a justice, and in dozens since, Justice Ginsburg reminded us how the law needs to operate if equality is to be a reality, says Margo Schlanger, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School.

  • NY Commercial Division Backs Technology-Assisted Review

    Elizabeth Sacksteder

    Neither the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure nor most state procedure codes expressly address whether, in what circumstances, or how a party may use technology-assisted review to fulfill its disclosure obligations. A new rule introduced last week by the Commercial Division of the New York Supreme Court aims to fill that gap, say Elizabeth Sacksteder and Ross Gotler of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP.

  • Why CFPB Should Not Regulate The Practice Of Law

    Joann Needleman

    After a four-day jury trial, an Ohio federal judge ruled this week that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau failed to prove that debt collection law firm Weltman Weinberg & Reis Co. LPA had misled consumers by sending them demand letters. The decision calls into question the CFPB's authority to investigate or bring enforcement actions against collection law firms, says Joann Needleman of Clark Hill PLC.

  • The Future Of Authenticating Audio And Video Evidence

    Jonathan Mraunac

    The recent emergence of artificial intelligence-based technology has prompted serious concerns about the future integrity of recordings. Attorneys must think critically about standards for authenticating audio and video evidence as well as legislative and regulatory safeguards to discourage pervasive manipulation and forgery, says Jonathan Mraunac of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC.

  • Calif. Rules For Advising Cannabis Clients Need Clarity: Part 2

    Francis Mootz III

    California's State Bar and Supreme Court should draw from other states' approaches to cannabis lawyering and proactively address ethical concerns in the proposed amendments to its Model Rules of Professional Conduct, say Francis Mootz III of the McGeorge School of Law and Ian Stewart and Sehreen Ladak of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP.

  • Calif. Rules For Advising Cannabis Clients Need Clarity: Part 1

    Francis Mootz III

    Proposed changes to California's Rules of Professional Conduct threaten to limit the extent and quality of legal work that is badly needed to ensure a safe and orderly transition out of the gray market for the cannabis industry, say Francis Mootz III of the McGeorge School of Law and Ian Stewart and Sehreen Ladak of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP.

  • Opinion

    Law360's Global 20 Doesn't Acknowledge Global Networks

    Glenn Cunningham

    While I read with interest Law360's report analyzing the top 20 global law firms of 2018, I also noticed it doesn't tell the whole story. Global networks of independent law firms compare favorably with multinational firms in terms of geographic coverage, legal expertise, and awareness of local cultures and customs, says Glenn Cunningham of Interlaw Ltd.

  • Time For Sunshine On 3rd-Party Litigation Funding

    Mary Novacheck

    On July 1, Wisconsin became the first state to require disclosure of third-party litigation financing contingent on the outcome of cases. Individual states' and courts' efforts to shed more light on such funding arrangements are an inconsistent patchwork. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure should be revised to require such disclosure nationwide, says Mary Novacheck of Bowman and Brooke LLP.

  • Suddenly, ALJs Become Political Appointees

    Brian Casey

    Less than three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission, President Donald Trump signed an executive order applying the court’s rationale in Lucia to the hiring — and firing — of all administrative law judges in the federal government, making them entirely beholden to the heads of their agencies or the president for their jobs, says Brian Casey of Barnes & Thornburg LLP.

  • What Kavanaugh's Writing Tells Us About His Personality

    Matthew Hall

    People with certain personality traits tend to use certain words. A computer analysis of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s D.C. Circuit opinions reveals that he is highly extraverted, which means that he would be a prominent voice on the U.S. Supreme Court, says Matthew Hall, a professor at the University of Notre Dame.