Welcome! We would like you to join our community as we promote study of, and debate regarding, the professional responsibility of lawyers. Although our blog will serve as a resource for users of Professional Responsibility: A Contemporary Approach (2010), the current developments, innovative teaching materials, and commentary should be thought-provoking and fun for all those interested in the legal profession. Please feel free to share your ideas and we will post as much as we can.
According to yesterday’s NY Times, attention is now turning to how GM’s legal department handled the complaints about the defective ignition switches.
Great article to share with students when discussing Model Rule 1.13.
You can read more about General Counsel Michael Milikin here: http://www.gm.com/company/corporate-officers/michael-millikin
Lyle Denniston, perhaps our most senior Supreme Court reporter, is skeptical about judges stepping into the public forum. His case in point is the Senate testimony on campaign finance reform by Justice Stevens.
Denniston’s commentary begins:
“In ways large and small, the idealized expectation that the Supreme Court will stay outside the political arena continues to diminish in a country with polarized partisanship and fragmented cultural values. One reason is that those on opposite sides of the divide increasingly seek to use the Court to advance their own agendas — and, increasingly, succeed at it.
Another reason, though, is that the Justices are moving regularly into the public realm, and taking their deep divisions with them. In short, they frequently move from the bench to the podium, and use public platforms to defend their judicial records – at times, to settle old scores or to stir up old wounds.
In some ways, this may be a welcome new form of transparency for an institution long known for its capacity to keep its own secrets. But it also may be an unhealthy turn toward public self-justification, a reluctance to let the judicial record speak for itself….”
It is in this context that another breakthrough in public advocacy has come: retired Justice John Paul Stevens took the witness chair on Wednesday before the Senate Rules Committee — his first appearance before a Senate committee since his nomination hearings thirty-nine years ago, he noted. He was there to promote reform of campaign finance law.
面子”文化 “face culture” makes shaming a form of legal discipline with particularly Chinese characteristics. Susan Finder explains how it is being used to scold and discipline judges,
New Jersey Superior Court Judge Douglas Hague required plaintiff attorneys to produce deposition transcripts for medical malpractice defendant Tamburello’s expert and precluded use at trial of any deposition document not identified beforehand. But Hague said the defense was not entitled to information about how the plaintiff would use them at trial. The Appellate Division affirmed in part in Dalton v. Crawley. Although the transcripts are discoverable (because they were not “prepared” for trial – only gathered. But in requiring plaintiff to designate those which he intended to use at trial the order intruded on a lawyer’s “mental impressions”, “trial stratagy, etc.
A New Jersey appellate court has found that aggravated circumstances permit the recovery of emotional distress damages in a legal malpractice case for breach of fiduciary duty. The court allowed counsel fees as proximately caused damages to the non-client plaintiff father.
The defendant lawyer turned over a child’s passport to the mother in violation of a parenting agreement between mother and father. The child has been separated from her father for ten years, living in Spain with her maternal grandparents who echo the mother’s unsubstantiated accusations of child abuse. The mother is serving a fourteen year sentence for child abduction. A jury awarded the father nearly $1 million in emotional distress damages. The Appellate Division upheld the award to the father but overturned the award to the child due to lack of evidence.
Disclosure: I testified for plaintiffs on breach of fiduciary duty. – gwc
“Pride precedes a fall and that is what happened to Kenneth Feinberg in the BP cases,” said George Conk, a law professor at Fordham University. “He implausibly claimed to be a neutral rather than a lawyer for BP while his law firm received hundreds of thousands of dollars to carry out BP’s obligations to provide temporary and permanent compensation to those who suffered spill-related losses.”
Kenneth Feinberg’s ADR practice is an interesting cross between mediation and traditional full-throated defense. Hiring is a way of saying “we’re gonna pay”. But he is not a neutral and that fact led him to run afoul when working for BP. His varying roles area good topic for classroom discussion or term papers. – gwc
Submissions and nominations of articles are now being accepted for the fifth annual Fred C. Zacharias Memorial Prize for Scholarship in Professional Responsibility. To honor Fred’s memory, the committee will select from among articles in the field of Professional Responsibility with a publication date of 2014. The prize will be awarded at the 2015 AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Please send submissions and nominations to Professor Samuel Levine at Touro Law Center: email@example.com. The deadline for submissions and nominations is September 1, 2014.