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Legal Ethics

  • September 7, 2018

    Atty Referral Co. Owner Accused Of Paying Cops For Leads

    The owner of an Illinois attorney referral business was indicted Thursday on federal bribery charges alongside two Chicago police officers whom he's accused of paying to give him nonpublic information on car crashes as leads for cases.

  • September 7, 2018

    State Farm Deal Takes Spotlight Off Judicial 'Dark Money'

    Judicial ethics experts are lamenting the last-minute $250 million settlement of a case accusing State Farm of rigging an Illinois Supreme Court election, calling it a missed opportunity for a public airing of the river of “dark” campaign money flowing into judicial races.

  • September 7, 2018

    Baker Donelson Fined Over Discovery 'Misunderstanding'

    A Washington federal judge on Friday ordered Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC and Corr Cronin LLP to each pay $500 in sanctions for attempting to use a “misunderstanding” as a “weapon” in a motion for a quick win in a fraud suit.

  • September 7, 2018

    Sidley Austin Atty Must Answer Questions In Investor Suit

    A Florida federal judge on Thursday ordered a Sidley Austin LLP partner to respond to questions he’d previously declined to answer during a deposition in a putative class action brought by a Linkwell Corp. investor claiming that two mergers allowed former executives to walk away with Linkwell’s main revenue generator while freezing out shareholders.

  • September 7, 2018

    7th Circ. Refuses To Grant Atty's Bid To Pull Out Of Bar

    The Seventh Circuit on Friday declined to revive a suspended attorney’s suit arguing that he should be allowed to withdraw from the district court bar before being reinstated, saying that the court did not allow for strategic withdrawals.

  • September 7, 2018

    Colo. Firm Publishes Credit Scores In Court Filings, Suit Says

    A Denver-based law firm has been hit with a proposed class action alleging it routinely publishes consumers’ credit scores in court filings when attempting to collect on debts in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

  • September 7, 2018

    NJ Judge Censured Over Profane Rant During DWI Arrest

    The New Jersey Supreme Court has censured a municipal court judge who faced ethics charges over a profanity-laced tirade he allegedly unleashed while being arrested on suspicion of drunken driving two years ago, according to a high court order released Friday.

  • September 7, 2018

    Landmark Appeals Ruling Rescues Privilege In UK Probes

    A U.K. appeals court's recent broad take on the protections legal privilege offers companies against demands from government prosecutors in a dispute over a Serious Fraud Office probe re-enshrines the confidentiality at the heart of the attorney-client relationship and offers comfort to multinationals facing cross-border investigations.

  • September 6, 2018

    Ill. Atty Accused Of Making Bogus Claims In Court Filings

    An Illinois attorney has been recommended for discipline for allegedly refusing to withdraw from a suit despite the client’s wishes, disclosing details from a client’s counseling sessions and filing multiple documents baselessly accusing an opposing attorney of attempting to extort money from his client, the last of which had previously earned him a $50,000 sanction.

  • September 6, 2018

    Judge Sanctions Business Partner In Jimi Hendrix TM Suit

    A New York federal judge on Thursday hit a business partner of Jimi Hendrix's brother with $4,000 in sanctions in a trademark dispute with the late rock star's estate, saying the partner had repeatedly missed discovery deadlines.

  • September 6, 2018

    No 'Bank' In Mexico-Tied Bank Fraud, 5th Circ. Hears

    A panel of Fifth Circuit judges questioned Wednesday whether or not Texas federal prosecutors had proven that an actual bank was involved when they won a bank fraud conspiracy conviction against a woman for moving money allegedly tied to corruption in Mexico.

  • September 6, 2018

    Ex-Sadis & Goldberg Atty Admits To Tax Evasion, Conspiracy

    A former top lawyer at Sadis & Goldberg LLP pled guilty in Manhattan federal court on Thursday to charges of tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. as part of a plea deal that calls for $1.2 million in restitution and a guideline range of three to four years in prison.

  • September 6, 2018

    Chicago IP Firm Wants Ex-Partner's Defamation Suit Tossed

    The founder of a Chicago intellectual property firm asked an Illinois state court judge on Tuesday to throw out a defamation suit filed by a former partner, saying the comments the firm made to its clients about the partner after terminating him are true.

  • September 6, 2018

    Law360's The Week In Discipline

    A Nebraska attorney who argued his longtime habit of mixing personal and client money didn't warrant disbarment and a California lawyer who used a bogus business to steal from an elderly client lead Law360's The Week In Discipline, which compiles sanctions and conduct charges that may have flown under the radar.

  • September 6, 2018

    Pa. Atty Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering, Extortion

    An attorney and former director of public safety for a Pennsylvania township pled guilty Wednesday to a money laundering and extortion scheme, admitting that he and his co-conspirators engaged in a plot to launder money made from health care fraud and illegal drug trafficking, and leaving a magisterial judge as the last alleged conspirator to not plead guilty.

  • September 6, 2018

    Lenders Say Ex-Ill. Atty Pocketed Client Settlement Cash

    Two Chicago lenders have sued a now-disbarred personal injury attorney in Illinois state court, claiming that after settling his clients' claims, he pocketed their proceeds and never paid off nearly $900,000 in loans those clients took while pursuing their own claims.

  • September 5, 2018

    5th Circ. Won't Extend Deadline For Adjuster Negligence Suit

    The Fifth Circuit has declined to apply a special Texas rule extending the deadline for filing legal malpractice claims to a homeowner’s suit, which alleged a public insurance adjuster botched her claim for coverage for Hurricane Ike damage, saying the rule does not apply to insurance adjusters. 

  • September 5, 2018

    Fla. Appeals Court Affirms DQ Of Ferraro Firm In Engle Case

    A Florida appeals court weighed in Wednesday on the ongoing fight to disqualify a law firm battling Philip Morris in dozens of smokers’ lawsuits, ruling that the trial court did not err when it disqualified the firm because it had hired a lawyer who had done work for the cigarette company.

  • September 5, 2018

    Kirkland Wins Rare Discovery Sanction In Texas Prisoner Case

    A pro bono team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP landed a rare discovery ruling and sanction in a federal case accusing Houston officials of systematically ignoring their duty to get a timely probable cause hearing for people arrested without warrants or to cut them loose.

  • September 5, 2018

    Lens Makers Fight Sanctions Over Defunct Facebook Page

    Johnson & Johnson and Alcon asked a Florida federal judge not to sanction them for allegedly hiding the existence of a Facebook group where they’d supposedly hashed out a price-fixing conspiracy with other companies, arguing the consumers in the multidistrict litigation couldn’t prove they’d hidden it on purpose.

Expert Analysis

  • 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.

  • Opinion

    3 Pros, 3 Cons Of Litigation Finance

    Ralph Sutton

    An educated guess puts the number of new litigation funders launched in the past 18 months at 30 — an astonishing number, with more to come. Is this a blessing to our legal system or something more akin to tulip mania? Maybe both, says Ralph Sutton, founder and CEO of litigation funding firm Validity Finance LLC.

  • How Attorney Discipline Is Evolving In The #MeToo Era

    Bonnie Frost

    In March, the American Bar Association issued a manual to help legal employers and victims fight sexual harassment in the legal profession. While automatic disbarment for sexual misconduct with clients may have been considered too harsh a sanction almost a decade ago, it may be revisited in the current climate, say Bonnie Frost and Kristi Terranova of Einhorn Harris Ascher Barbarito & Frost PC.

  • Modern Communication Brings E-Discovery Challenges

    Thomas Bonk

    As new communications platforms displace email, the legal industry is awkwardly grappling with complex e-discovery questions. Fortunately, this environment provides a very fertile ground of incentives for innovation in both e-discovery technology and service offerings, says Thomas Bonk of Epiq.

  • Opinion

    It's Not All About The Benjamins, Baby (Lawyer)

    J.B. Heaton

    Notwithstanding the latest salary war among prominent law firms, I urge my middle-aged and older colleagues to help the recent graduates we know focus on the long term. Even if the salary is the same, there is a big difference between an institutional firm and the relatively younger firms matching BigLaw, says J.B. Heaton, a University of Chicago business law fellow and former partner at Bartlit Beck.

  • Series

    Judging A Book: Hood Reviews 'Lawyering From The Inside Out'

    Judge Denise Hood

    Law professor Nathalie Martin's new book, "Lawyering From the Inside Out: Learning Professional Development Through Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence," can be of value to any lawyer aiming to achieve greater productivity, relieve the stress of the legal profession and focus on goals, says U.S. District Chief Judge Denise Page Hood of the Eastern District of Michigan.

  • Series

    High Crimes And Misdemeanors: Making Political Judgments

    Laurence Tribe

    Presidential impeachment exists not so that one party can decapitate the other, but to preserve the foundation of our democracy. For an impeachment to be legitimate, it must be a fair process in which Congress speaks for a majority of the American people in undoing an election, say Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School and Joshua Matz of Gupta Wessler PLLC.

  • 3 Top E-Discovery Case Law Lessons Of 2018 (So Far)

    Casey Sullivan

    The blockbuster e-discovery cases, with big sanctions and bigger controversies, have been few and far between this year. But that doesn’t mean the legal questions around e-discovery have been answered. Let’s take a closer look at three cases worthy of our attention, says Casey Sullivan, an attorney at discovery technology provider Logikcull.