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Ethical Considerations in Obtaining New Clients

Before accepting a client in a matter, the attorney must consider two major things. First and foremost is whether the attorney has a conflict of interest in representing the client, whether that conflict be real or potential. The second consideration is whether the attorney has the competence and time...

Ethical Responsibilities to the Tribunal

An attorney is required to zealously represent a client; however, this representation is limited by the requirement that such representation be within the bounds of the law. There is a moral component to that representation that is found in Rule 3.3 of the ABA Model Code, which covers a trial attorney’s...

Ethics and Professional Responsibility for Attorneys in Securities Transactions

With the collapse of Enron and other major corporations, corporate governance and the individuals that contribute to the corporate governance framework have received significant public attention. "Investor confidence in the quality and integrity of public company corporate governance is compromised...

Ethics and Professional Responsibility Issues in Real Estate Transactions

Of all of the new realities in representing clients in real estate transactions, undoubtedly the least friendly is the new reality of the vastly increasing number of claims against attorneys based upon conflicts and violations of ethics or rules of professional conduct. Several years ago when course...

Ethics Considerations for the Environmental Lawyer

Environmental practitioners confront various ethical issues of particular concern to them, and these arise for reasons ranging from substantive issues conflicts, to conflicts in multi-party CERCLA cases, to those inherent in a practice in multiple jurisdictions. The many government lawyers who practice...

The Law of Fraud and Professional Obligation

The law of fraud limits the legally acceptable conduct of lawyers and clients. If you or your client commit fraud, civil or criminal consequences could result. If you do so, you also face a third possibility: professional discipline. The Model Rules contain four provisions that effectively incorporate...

THE EXPANDING ENTERPRISE: Too Good To Be True?

I wonder if something is askew. My client's business plan seems too good to be true. My clients employees leave me uncomfortable. I am just not sure everything is on the up and up. Yet it is nothing I can put my finger on. And the fellow is paying my bills promptly and they have been marching steadily...

The Instrumental Lawyer and the Limits of the Law

We have seen that the agency relationship between client and lawyer requires the 4 C fiduciary duties to assure that a lawyer acts subject to the client's control. At the same time, every agency relationship is subject to one limitation: neither the principal's power nor the agent's duty...

Extrajudicial Statements: Lawyers' Ethical Obligations in Communicating with the Press

In an era when attorneys have broad access to the media and the public has a seemingly insatiable appetite for information about high profile legal cases and cutting edge legal issues, an attorney's familiarity with the professional obligations of communicating with the press has become increasingly...

Doing The Right Thing-A Matter of Ethics, A Matter of Good Lawyering

Trust Yourself “What’s most important to a lawyer—whether it’s your first day of practice or your last day of practice—is to trust yourself, your instincts, your own innate intelligence and your own judgment,” Comiskey states. “You’ve learned the ethical...

Lessons from Qualcomm

The litigation community was rocked in January when Magistrate Judge Barbara Major of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, in the case of Qualcomm Inc. v. Broadcom, Inc. (No. 05cv1958-B), entered an order imposing sanctions of $8.5 million against the plaintiff and...

Professionalism and the Need for Civil Behavior

"The legal profession is in crisis. Public perception of the profession has plummeted from once being considered a highly respected vocation to one often characterized by an increasing lack of credibility, declining ethics, and outright greed." Krista Riddick Rogers, PROMOTING A PARADIGM OF...

Email Security and Attorney-Client Privilege

The 2008 American Bar Association (ABA) Legal Technology Resource Center recently completed a survey of how the legal profession uses technology. In conjunction with an outside research firm, the Center surveyed the legal profession in January through May 2008. The results of the survey indicated that...

Limiting Professional Liability

Worried about getting sued for legal malpractice? You probably think your professional liability insurance will be sufficient to cover any claims. What if it isn’t? Can you prospectively limit your liability to a client by including such a limitation in your engagement letter? And can you settle...

Ethical Implications of Outsourcing Legal Work

In the November issue of ABA Journal Magazine, associate ethics counsel for the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Eileen Libby reported that the ABA Standing Com­mittee on Ethics and Pro­fessional Con­duct has concluded that U.S. lawyers may outsource work under the ABA Model Rules...

PA Supreme Court Disciplinary Board's Top Disciplinary Cases for 2008

In its latest edition of its Attorney E-Newsletter, the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, www.padb.us , announced its picks for the Top Five Disciplinary Cases of 2008. The Board chose its finalists based on the novelty of issues presented, the significance for guidance to the...

Drafting Pleadings in Crayon

This morning, a tweet from OnTheDocket clued me in to a gem of an opinion that I'd never had the pleasure of reading previously. Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp. , 147 F. Supp. 2d 668 (S.D. Tex. 2001), involved a claim for personal injuries filed by a seaman pursuant to the Jones Act. I'll let...

Emailing Clients at Work May Imperil Privilege

Lawyers take e-mailing clients for granted. But there may be hidden risks in sending e-mails to clients at work. It is probably fair to say that most lawyers have grown accustomed to the convenience of emailing clients. Less disruptive than phone calls, more efficient, creates documentation of conversations—hard...

Professional Responsibility Reminders

Developing good practices early in one's career is necessary to avoid malpractice. If you require information regarding an ethical question or are concerned about the conduct of a colleague, contact your state's licensing entity and consult your state's rules of professional conduct. By following...