Welcome to the Contemporary Approach to Professional Responsibility Blog

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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.

Work-product privilege – Lawyer must disclose documents to be used in cross exam

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.

Read more: http://www.njlawjournal.com/id=1202650460417/Work-Product-Privilege-Covers-Using-Experts%27-Prior-Testimony-To-Impeach#ixzz2yaTUSQz1

Law Firm That Enabled Child Snatch Liable for Father’s Emotional Distress | New Jersey Law Journal

OTHERWISE: Law Firm That Enabled Child Snatch Liable for Father's Emotional Distress | New Jersey Law Journal.

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

Feinberg hired by GM to guide it through maze of lawsuits //Detroit Free Press

Feinberg hired by GM to guide it through maze of lawsuits //Detroit Free Press.

“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

Fred C. Zacharias Memorial Prize for Scholarship in Professional Responsibility

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: slevine@tourolaw.edu.  The deadline for submissions and nominations is September 1, 2014.

The Florida Supreme Court Rules on the Eligibility of Unauthorized Immigrants For Bar Admission

The Florida Supreme Court has finally issued a per curiam decision in the much watched case of an undocumented immigrant who sought admission to the Florida Bar.The applicant, Jose Godinez-Samperio, graduated from Florida State University School of Law, and passed the Florida Bar Examination.  http://www.floridabar.org/DIVCOM/JN/JNNews01.nsf/SMTGT/Are%20undocumented%20immigrants%20eligible%20for%20Bar%20admission%3F

The Supreme Court ruled that unauthorized immigrants are ineligible for bar admission and must show that they are legally present in the United States. Even though the applicant was covered by the Dream Act (DACA) under Federal Law, the Supreme Court found that the State of Florida still needed to take legislative action to permit aliens to receive public benefits, including the granting of a license to practice law.  In a passionate concurrence, Justice Labarga notes the injustice of this result as mandated under federal and state law.

The decision is full is found here. http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2014/sc11-2568.pdf

Janet Stearns

Dean of Students and Lecturer

University of Miami School of Law

New York Changing Its Contingency Fee Formula – New York Personal Injury Law Blog

OTHERWISE: New York Changing Its Contingency Fee Formula – New York Personal Injury Law Blog.

The Second Department of the Appellate Division of New York Supreme Court is tinkering with the time-honored rule in personal injury cases – the plaintiff;s law firm fronts the costs, pays itself back off the top, and calculates the contingent fee on the net recovery. Eric Turkewitz reports and discusses the issues. – gwc

Senate Rejects Obama Nominee Linked to Abu-Jamal Case – NYTimes.com

OTHERWISE: Senate Rejects Obama Nominee Linked to Abu-Jamal Case – NYTimes.com.

Capital defense attorneys – like others who represent the despised – have long been held in high regard by the legal profession. “A lawyer’s representation of a client”, RPC 1.2 (c) tells us “does not constitute an endorsement of the clients political, economic, social or moral views or activities”. One would hope, we know now in vain, that the United States Senate would appreciate that point. Instead conservative Democrats from “red states” abandoned “Debo P. Adegbile, who headed the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund when it represented Mr. [Mumia] Abu-Jamal decades after his conviction, could not overcome a concerted campaign by Republicans, conservative activists and law enforcement organizations, still infuriated by the murder of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.” – gwc