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Legal Ethics

  • June 7, 2018

    Law360's The Week In Discipline

    A California lawyer who turned around a five-figure sanction on appeal and a trio of attorneys the Fifth Circuit said painted a "mosaic" of half-truths in a loan usury suit lead Law360's The Week In Discipline, which compiles sanctions and conduct charges that may have flown under the radar.

  • June 7, 2018

    Plaintiff Linked To $75M Attys' Fees Flap Wants To Stay On

    The lead plaintiff in a class action settlement at the heart of a $75 million attorneys' fees dispute involving allegations of lawyer misconduct defiantly told a Massachusetts federal judge that he wants to stay on as class representative, a week after the judge grilled him on whether stepping aside was the right move.

  • June 7, 2018

    2nd Circ. Axes Arbitrator Bias Ruling In Reinsurance Row

    The Second Circuit ordered a New York federal court to take another look at whether an arbitrator’s failure to disclose ties to a Florida workers’ compensation insurance carrier tainted an award in favor of the insurer in its battle with British reinsurers, saying Thursday the lower court applied an improper standard.

  • June 7, 2018

    Schlichtmann Must Face Avandia Settlement Malpractice Row

    Jan Schlichtmann, the attorney whose work repping Massachusetts residents inspired the book “A Civil Action,” must continue to fight claims he botched a $2 million settlement designed to repay GlaxoSmithKline for money improperly disbursed to a plaintiffs attorney in multidistrict litigation over the diabetes drug Avandia, a Pennsylvania federal judge has ruled.

  • June 7, 2018

    Fla. Justices Split On Judge-Atty Facebook Friendships

    Florida’s Supreme Court justices debated the nature of friendship Thursday, both online and offline, as they split down the middle on whether a Facebook friendship between a judge and a litigator should be grounds for recusal.

  • June 6, 2018

    Fla. Judge Can Remain On Cases Of Election Opponent's Firm

    A Florida appeals court denied petitions Wednesday from litigants in 27 civil suits and their attorneys from Cole Scott & Kissane PA seeking to remove a judge presiding over all of their cases after a member of the law firm became his sole opponent in an upcoming election.

  • June 6, 2018

    Conrad & Scherer Says Atty Perjured Himself In Chiquita MDL

    Conrad & Scherer LLP slammed an independent attorney’s effort to get the firm thrown from multidistrict litigation alleging Chiquita funded Colombian paramilitaries, telling a Florida federal court Wednesday that the solo practitioner doesn’t have the ability to represent the clients and had committed perjury.

  • June 6, 2018

    Sheppard Tells Calif. High Court Broad Waiver Saves $4M Fee

    Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP told the California Supreme Court on Wednesday that a potential conflict of interest should not have disqualified it from earning $3.8 million defending J-M Manufacturing in a qui tam suit, arguing a conflict waiver clearly conveyed the firm might one day represent another of the roughly 200 parties.

  • June 6, 2018

    Stormy Daniels Accuses Ex-Atty Of Being Trump’s 'Puppet'

    Adult film star Stormy Daniels sued her former lawyer Keith Davidson in California court Wednesday, claiming he was a “puppet” for President Donald Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen.

  • June 6, 2018

    Fla. Attorneys Risk Sanctions In Clash Over ADA Cases

    More than a dozen attorneys who regularly file Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits say they are being unfairly targeted for sanctions by Florida federal judges they believe are trying to quell actions that are critical to enforcing the law.

  • June 6, 2018

    Convicted Valeant Exec Says Dishonest Juror Tainted Trial

    A former Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. manager awaiting sentencing for his role in a $9.7 million kickback plot has urged a Manhattan federal judge to scrap his conviction, saying one of the jurors lied to hide that she's embroiled in a lawsuit alleging she abused disabled adults at a care facility.

  • June 6, 2018

    Calif. Judge's Ouster May Presage More Recall Bids

    The decision by voters in a California county to oust a judge who gave a light sentence to Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner for a felony sex assault may encourage similar campaigns against sitting judges in the state and elsewhere who hand down controversial decisions, experts say.

  • June 6, 2018

    Platinum Receiver Fights Firm’s $489K Fee Bid

    The receiver in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s case against hedge fund Platinum Partners is seeking to block a law firm’s bid for roughly $489,000 in fees it says it incurred while working for her predecessor, telling a New York federal judge Tuesday the firm was never retained and has defied the receivership.

  • June 6, 2018

    Atty Fees Awarded Over 'Blatant' Judge-Shopping In IP Row

    A Massachusetts federal judge on Tuesday partially granted MicroStrategy Inc.’s bid for attorneys' fees in a nearly six-year-old patent infringement dispute over object mapping software, finding patent owner DataTern Inc. had engaged in “blatant" judge-shopping by trying to get several cases assigned to one particular judge.

  • June 6, 2018

    Montgomery McCracken Faces $620M Suit For Toxic Tort Work

    Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP is facing a $620 million class action in Pennsylvania federal court over allegations the firm botched efforts to collect toxic tort damages owed to neighbors of a Kerr-McGee Corp. plant for claims brought before the company filed for bankruptcy.

  • June 5, 2018

    Fla. Bar Says Case Law Shows TIKD Is Unlicensed Practice

    The Florida Bar on Tuesday told the Florida Supreme Court that case law supports its assertion that traffic ticket defense startup TIKD is engaged in the unlicensed practice of law and asked for a quick win and injunction in its suit against the company.

  • June 5, 2018

    Allstate, Sheppard Mullin Atty Fight Sanctions At 9th Circ.

    Allstate urged the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday to toss a magistrate judge’s imposition of nearly $14,000 in sanctions against it and its Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP attorney in a medical billing case, arguing the magistrate wanted to sanction Allstate for its settlement position and searched out minor violations to justify doing so.

  • June 5, 2018

    Real Estate Co. Escapes Fine Over DQ Bid For JAMS Judge

    A California Superior Court judge Tuesday decided not to fine a real estate company for seeking to disqualify a retired judge aiding proceedings over a loan for a San Francisco apartment complex, sidestepping accusations the disqualification bid made a "mockery of the judicial process" by finding the sanctions motion couldn’t pass procedural muster.

  • June 5, 2018

    Venezuela's Oil Co. Slips Contempt, Attys Dinged In Bribe Suit

    A Florida federal judge ruled Tuesday that an energy trader and one of its employees had not proved allegations of misconduct by Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA, in a bribery case it brought against them, but admonished its attorneys over an apparent lack of candor.

  • June 5, 2018

    Ex-SEAL's Malpractice Row Not Just Speculative, Judge Says

    A former Navy SEAL can keep the bulk of his suit accusing his attorney of costing him $6.7 million after advising him to skip a prepublication review of his book, an Indiana federal judge ruled Tuesday, finding it was at least plausible the lawyer had cost him the royalties.

Expert Analysis

  • Series

    Dissolving Practice: How To Fix A Dysfunctional Law Firm

    Larry Richard

    I am often asked, “When there are one or more partner departures, what can a firm do to prevent this from escalating to a catastrophic level?” The short answer is “nothing.” Law firms need to adopt culture-strengthening lifestyles to prevent defections from occurring in the first place, says Larry Richard of LawyerBrain LLC.

  • Attys Must Remember Duty Of Confidentiality When Online

    Trisha Rich

    In a recent opinion on lawyers' public online commentary, the American Bar Association noted that even when attorneys don't name clients, a breach of confidentiality can occur if a third party could deduce the client's identity. But state laws can differ, so lawyers must know their own jurisdictions' rules, say Trisha Rich and Allison Martin Rhodes of Holland & Knight LLP.

  • Series

    Dissolving Practice: Partner Agreement Clauses That Can Help

    ​​​​​Leslie Corwin

    Given the competing public policies of protecting clients’ right to counsel of their choice, lawyer mobility, and the fiduciary duty partners owe to a dissolved firm, it behooves law firms to carefully review their partnership agreements to make sure they adequately spell out what happens in the unfortunate event that the law firm chooses to wind down, say ​​​​​Leslie Corwin and Rachel Sims of Blank Rome LLP.

  • Series

    Dissolving Practice: The Unfinished Business Doctrine

    Thomas Rutledge

    There has been, of late, significant dispute as to the application of the unfinished business doctrine, particularly with respect to hourly rate matters of now-dissolved large law firms. And the California Supreme Court’s recent decision in Heller Ehrman, like others as to similar points, is highly questionable, says Thomas Rutledge of Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC.

  • How Florida Affirmed Fiduciaries' Lawyer-Client Privilege

    Paul Marino

    The lawyer-client privilege is a cornerstone of the American legal system. But until recently, there was significant doubt in Florida as to whether communications between a lawyer and a fiduciary client could be kept confidential from a beneficiary seeking to compel the production of those communications, say Paul Marino and Jay Kauffman of Day Pitney LLP.

  • There Is A Cognitive Science Behind Big Jury Verdicts

    Dennis.Stolle

    In most trials with large verdicts, the jury award is determined by multiple factors, including the facts of the case, strength of evidence, bias, emotion and jury instructions. However, we should not disregard the effect on jurors of the cognitive limits conceptualizing large numbers, say Dennis Stolle and Amit Patel of ThemeVision LLC, a jury research and litigation consulting firm affiliated with Barnes & Thornburg LLP.

  • Opinion

    BigLaw Doesn't Have A Diversity Problem

    Marlen Whitley

    Although the lack of racial and gender diversity among the ranks of the majority of both midsized and top law firms is a major issue, it’s past time to shed light on the real problem — inclusion, or lack thereof, says Marlen Whitley of Reed Smith LLP.

  • The Importance Of Attorney Etiquette In The Courtroom

    Christina Marinakis

    It’s difficult to say whether an attorney’s social etiquette has any impact on the verdict outcome, but the fact that jurors continually tell us about counsel’s irksome behaviors suggests that, at the very least, these behaviors distract jurors from the issues on which they should be concentrating, says Christina Marinakis, director of jury research at Litigation Insights.

  • Opinion

    Roman J. Israel, Esquire, Meet Donald J. Trump, POTUS

    Kevin Curnin

    Despite the Trump administration's desire to shut down the Legal Services Corp., thankfully the budget that Congress passed and the president signed into law last week has restored $410 million of funding to the legal aid organization. An unlikely brief for preserving LSC may be found in the quirky Denzel Washington film "Roman J. Israel, Esq.," says Kevin Curnin, immediate past president of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel.

  • Opinion

    We Need A Cybersecurity Framework For Law Firms

    Shaun Jamison

    In order to enable lawyers to best meet cybersecurity challenges, state bars should pass rules that adopt a cybersecurity framework to be developed by a national committee, says Shaun Jamison, associate dean of faculty and professor at Purdue University's Concord Law School.