Welcome!

Welcome to our community of professional responsibility teachers! This web site provides teaching resources, ranging from syllabi and powerpoints to real time updates and videos. The web site accompanies our casebook Professional Responsibility:  A Contemporary Approach (4th ed. 2020). The Casebook uses the problem method and offers learning outcomes, multiple choice assessment questions, role plays and simulations, and an interactive online version that includes short audio lectures. Please feel free to share your ideas and resources with our community of adopters.

You may review the Table of Contents here.

We look forward to getting to know you and working with you and our fellow adopters.

Renee Knake Jefferson, Russell G. Pearce, Bruce A. Green, Peter A. Joy, Sung Hui Kim, M. Ellen Murphy,  Laurel S. Terry, & Lonnie T. Brown, Jr.

 New Jersey Legal Community Urges Comprehensive Effort to Reduce Bias and Discrimination in the Judicial System

Source: OTHERWISE: New Jersey Legal Community Urges Comprehensive Effort to Reduce Bias and Discrimination in the Judicial System

NEW BRUNSWICK – The New Jersey State Bar Association urged the Judiciary to take a holistic and comprehensive approach in the effort to reduce bias in the jury selection process to ensure defendants in criminal cases face a more fair and representative jury. 
   
NJSBA President Domenick Carmagnola delivered a powerful speech to the Judiciary’s Judicial Conference on Jury Selection held last week. He said it is critical to collect and examine data, as well as remain open-minded and thoughtful in the path to reform the system for the better, especially for Black criminal defendants who, in New Jersey, are incarcerated 12 times more often than their white counterparts – the highest disparity in the nation.  

“We believe this conversation and effort should be expansive, thoughtful, and comprehensive in its focus on rooting out bias – both implicit and explicit. The pursuit of a representative justice system, one that all of our citizens can trust and believe in – and be proud of – requires a complex, deep dialogue in order to determine the best ways to rid our system of the systemic and harmful presence of implicit bias and prejudice in jury selection. … We sincerely hope these matters are not pre-ordained and that this is the start of a meaningful journey to reform and improve our system of justice,” he testified. “Action for the sake of action is not the answer, and the wrong action could damage our justice system significantly and have dire consequences for the lives and the liberty of participants in it. We agree that this is the time to act – but we must do so with the goal of getting it right… An appropriate starting point is the means which the pool of jurors is created; greater diversity can most immediately be achieved by the expansion of that pool, and by an examination of the persons who are excused from jury duty, as the Supreme Court required in Dangcil. A critical area of study should be the voir dire process and how courts address challenges, both for-cause and peremptory. Reducing or eliminating peremptory challenges, which have long been viewed as the only tool available to Black and other criminal defendants of color to ensure unbiased juries, should certainly not be viewed as the only available mechanism when, as we have heard, and as we discuss in our interim report, other means achieve these essential goals.”

Read the full remarks here or watch them here
    
Carmagnola’s comments were amplified by the over 20 affinity and county bar associations that joined in support of the NJSBA Working Group on Jury Selection Interim Report, which was submitted to the Judiciary in advance of the Judicial Conference. 

 GOP Election Lawyer must face Committee on Grievances

U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg We are accustomed to the idea that attorney discipline is the province of the state where we took th…

Source: OTHERWISE: GOP Election Lawyer must face Committee on Grievances

 

Personal passion, zealous loyalty to a cause does not justify litigation.  RPC 1.1 Competence demands “the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.”  It is failure to heed that principle that led federal District Judge James E. Boasberg to refer Minnesota lawyer Erick G. Kaardal to the District’s Committee on Grievances.  Boasberg had dismissed a suit brought by Kaardal, a Minnesota lawyer, on behalf of an ad hoc group called Wisconsin Voters Alliance.  The case challenged the lawfulness of the election of Joseph R. Biden as President of the United States.

Remote Work: San Francisco Bar Association Advice in Ethics Opinion 2021-1 – Legal Ethics Advisorremotework

Source: OTHERWISE: Remote Work: San Francisco Bar Association Advice in Ethics Opinion 2021-1 – Legal Ethics Advisorremotework

OPINION 2021-1
[Issue date: August 2021]
ISSUE:
Is a lawyer, who is licensed in one or more jurisdictions but practices law remotely from another jurisdiction where the lawyer
resides and is not licensed, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law?
DIGEST:
A lawyer who is not licensed in California, and who does not advertise or otherwise hold himself or herself out as a licensed
California lawyer, does not establish an office or other systematic or continuous presence for the practice of law in
California, and does not represent a California person or entity, but is merely physically present in California while using
modern technology to remotely practice law in compliance with the rules of the jurisdiction where the lawyer is licensed,
should not be held in violation of California’s Unauthorized Practice of Law (“UPL”) rule and laws, specifically California
Rules of Professional Conduct (“CRPC”) Rule 5.5, or the State Bar Act, Business & Professions (“B&P”) Code §§6125-6126.
If such a lawyer does represent a California person or entity, whether the lawyer violates the UPL rule and laws will depend
on the nature of the representation, whether the representation complies with the regulations of the jurisdiction where the
lawyer is licensed, the role of other California lawyers in the representation, and other factors relevant to whether the
California client is protected consistent with the purpose of the UPL rule and laws.
A lawyer who is licensed to practice law in California, but who resides in another jurisdiction where the lawyer is not licensed
while continuing to remotely practice law under the lawyer’s California license, must adhere to California’s rules and law as
required to maintain a California law license and must also comply with the applicable regulations of the jurisdiction where
the lawyer resides but is not licensed. CRPC Rule 5.5(a); see also ABA Model Rule 5.5(a). A California lawyer who fails to
comply with that jurisdiction’s UPL regulations could be at risk for criminal and/or civil liability and could also be at risk for
discipline for violation of CRPC Rule 5.5(a).
AUTHORITIES INTERPRETED:
California Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 5.5. Business and Professions Code sections 6125, 6126.

Professional Responsibility Blog: ABA issues new opinion on lawyers passive investment in law firms that include non-lawyer owners

Source: Professional Responsibility Blog: ABA issues new opinion on lawyers passive investment in law firms that include non-lawyer owners

 

Thanks to Alberto Bernabe for the tip:

A lawyer may passively invest in a law firm that includes nonlawyer owners (“Alternative Business Structures” or “ABS”) operating in a jurisdiction that permits ABS entities, even if the lawyer is admitted to practice law in a jurisdiction that does not authorize nonlawyer ownership of law firms. To avoid transgressing Model Rule 5.4 or other Model Rules and to avoid imputation of conflicts under Model Rule 1.10, a passively investing lawyer must not practice law through the ABS or be held out as a lawyer associated with the ABS and cannot have access to information protected by Model Rule 1.6 without the ABS client’s informed consent or compliance with an applicable exception to Rule 1.6 adopted by the ABS jurisdiction.

Lawyers can grow, use, and get paid in marijuana: NY State Bar Ethics Opinion 1225 – New York State Bar Association

Not The Onion

Ethics Opinion 1225 – New York State Bar Association

Topic: Counseling clients engaged in recreational marijuana business; accepting partial ownership of recreational marijuana business in lieu of fee; personal use of recreational marijuana.

Source: OTHERWISE: Lawyers can grow, use, and get paid in marijuana: NY State Bar Ethics Opinion 1225 – New York State Bar Association

 Clients with diminished Capacity – Proposed formal opinion – California State Bar invites comments

From the digest:

In representing  a client with diminished capacity, a lawyer must sometimes make difficult judgments relating to the client’s capacity. Provided that such judgments are informed and disinterested, they should not lead to professional discipline.

When the lawyer reasonably believes that the client’s diminished capacity exposes the client to harm, the lawyer may seek the client’s informed consent to take protective measures. If the client cannot or does not give informed consent, the lawyer may be unable to protect the client against harm. A lawyer representing a competent client who may later become incapacitated may propose to the client that the client give advanced consent to protective disclosure in the event that such incapacity occurs. If appropriately limited and informed, such a consent is ethically proper.

Source: OTHERWISE: Clients with diminished Capacity – Proposed formal opinion – California State Bar invites comments

 NJ: Non-Legal Companies Offering Legal Services to Customers Engage in Unauthorized Practice; Lawyers Providing Legal Services to Company’s Customers Violate RPCs – Joint UPL/ACPE Opinion – UPL Opinion 58/ACPE Opinion 740 –

Source: OTHERWISE: NJ: Non-Legal Companies Offering Legal Services to Customers Engage in Unauthorized Practice; Lawyers Providing Legal Services to Company’s Customers Violate RPCs – Joint UPL/ACPE Opinion – UPL Opinion 58/ACPE Opinion 740 –

Two Committees of the New Jersey Supreme Court have barred a non-lawyer owned company that “matches” clients to lawyers who will represent them regarding traffic violations. The Advertising Committee itself has disciplinary authority and the Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics published opinions compel compliance by any attorney practicing in the state, subject only to discretionary review by the Court itself. – GWC

“Price lists for client leads” likely violate bar on referral fees: NJ Supreme Court Committees

 

Source: OTHERWISE: “Price lists for client leads” likely violate bar on referral fees: NJ Supreme Court Committees

A Joint Opinion of two committees of the Supreme Court of New Jersey sharply cautions lawyers regarding paying marketing companies for “referrals” of clients.  The issue before the two committees Advertising and Ethics Advisory involves marketers who “price referrals” based not on advertising costs but on the potential lucrativeness of the case leads provided.

Unlike bar association opinions which provide guidance, the two New Jersey Committees carry the authority of the court – though any bar association or licensed lawyer can petition the Court for review.

– GWC

Rudy Giuliani suspended by NY Appellate Division

IN THE MATTER OF RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI, AN ATTORNEY – PER CURIAM   Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, First Judicial Department…

Source: OTHERWISE: Rudy Giuliani suspended by NY Appellate Division

Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, First Judicial Department Rolando T. Acosta, P.J., Dianne T. Renwick Sallie Manzanet-Daniels Judith J. Gische Barbara R. Kapnick, JJ. Motion No. 2021-00491 Case No. 2021-00506

In the Matter of RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI (ADMITTED AS RUDOLPH WILLIAM GIULIANI), an attorney and counselor-at law: ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE FOR THE FIRST JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT, Petitioner, RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI, (OCA ATTY. REGISTRATION NO. 1080498), Respondent. 

The Attorney Grievance Committee moves for an order, pursuant to Judiciary Law §90(2) and the Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters (22 NYCRR) §1240.9(a)(5), immediately suspending respondent from the practice of law based upon claimed violations of rules 3.3(a); 4.1; 8.4(c) and 8.4(h) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0) (Rules of Conduct or RPC).

Respondent was admitted to practice as an attorney and counselor at law in the State of New York on June 25, 1969, under the name Rudolph William Giuliani. He maintains a law office within the First Judicial Department.

For the reasons that follow, we conclude that there is uncontroverted evidence that respondent communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020. These false statements were made to improperly bolster respondent’s narrative that due to widespread voter fraud, victory in the 2020 United States presidential election was stolen from his client.

We conclude that respondent’s conduct immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law, pending further proceedings before the Attorney Grievance Committee (sometimes AGC or Committee).

Lawyers press D.C. Bar Ethics Board to investigate William Barr

Last July a distinguished group of lawyers including  ten former Presidents of the D.C.Bar joined together to file a Request for Oversight of their comprehensively detailed demand for an investigation of the conduct while in office of the former Attorney General William Barr.  Spurned by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the group has now appealed to William Kaiser, Chair of the Board on Professional Responsibility to exercise the Board’s oversight authority.

Source: OTHERWISE: Lawyers press D.C. Bar Ethics Board to investigate William Barr

Nominations for the Fred C. Zacharias Memorial Prize for Scholarship in Professional Responsibility

Submissions and nominations of articles are being accepted for the twelfth 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 2021.  The prize will be awarded at the 2022 AALS Annual Meeting.  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, 2021.

 William Barr: D.C. Bar Disciplinary Counsel Refuses to Investigate

Source: OTHERWISE: William Barr: D.C. Bar Disciplinary Counsel Refuses to Investigate

Via a form letter the D.C. Bar Office of Disciplinary Counsel informed the lawyers – including four former D.C. Bar Presidents that it would not investigate the actions of former Attorney General William Barr.  The gravamen of the charges filed is stated concisely by   former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger in a post on Just Security.  The charges are that in his service to the President rather than the country Barr should be sanctioned

Asserting that the complainants lacked “personal knowledge” the Office of Disciplinary Counsel said it does not “intervene in matters that are being discussed on the national political scene.

Justice Barrett’s moment of conscience – Jackson Women’s Health v. Dobbs

Source: OTHERWISE: Justice Barrett’s moment of conscience – Jackson Women’s Health v. Dobbs

Justice Amy Coney Barrett will be confronted by the conflict
between precedent and conscience as her Notre Dame colleague
and philosopher John Finnis argues that every fertilized egg is a person under the 14th Amendment, making abortion unconstitutional.

Former DC Bar Presidents and Bar Members Renew Call Disciplinary Action against Former AG William Barr in Light of Court Ruling

Below is a press release by Lawyers Defending Democracy

Source: Former DC Bar Presidents and Bar Members Renew Call Disciplinary Action against Former AG William Barr in Light of Court Ruling

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Four former presidents of the DC Bar and twenty-three other distinguished DC Bar members today renewed their 2020 call to the DC Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel to investigate and take disciplinary action against former Attorney General William P. Barr.

Their submission today is prompted by the May 3, 2021 opinion of Judge Amy Berman Jackson in CREW v. DOJ

, confirming that Attorney Barr and the Department of Justice under his leadership misled Congress and the public about the findings of the Mueller report.

 

The arguments filed today serve as a supplement to the comprehensive and detailed 37-page ethics complaint the group submitted against the former U.S. Attorney General in July 2020.

In Count I of the original complaint, the signers analyzed the ethical rules violated by Mr. Barr’s communications to Congress and the public concerning the Mueller report. Judge Jackson’s decision, the authors state, confirm the core allegation that, in absolving former President Trump of criminal liability for obstructing justice upon receiving the Mueller Report last year, Mr. Barr repeatedly engaged in dishonest and deceitful conduct. This latest rebuke of Mr. Barr follows similar conclusions reached by Judge Reggie Walton in another case last year.

The original complaint is believed to be the first time that former DC Bar Presidents and other bar leaders have ever united to file an ethics complaint against an Attorney General.

Andrea Ferster, a former DC Bar President and a signer, stated:

“When it is the country’s chief law enforcement official whose conduct two federal judges independently describe as ‘misleading,’ ‘distorted,’ ‘disingenuous’ and ‘lacking in candor,’ the integrity of the legal profession requires holding him accountable.”

Gershon (Gary) Ratner, the lead signer, co-founder of Lawyers Defending American Democracy and a former HUD Associate General Counsel for Litigation, continues:

“When lawyers’ gross ethical misconduct goes undisciplined, we give permission for others to do the same. As a self-regulating profession, we lawyers must show the public that this is not how lawyers of any kind, much less those in positions of power, may behave.” 

In urging the Bar to take action, the submission today concludes:

“The evidence here establishes that the highest law enforcement officer of the country misled the Congress and the public by blatant and cynical misuse of his office. . . . [T]he abuse of office by Mr. Barr and his subordinates is a critical test of the legal profession’s ability to regulate itself. If Mr. Barr’s misconduct is ignored or otherwise swept under the rug, the public may justly conclude that the powerful and connected are above the law.”

Today’s supplemental letter is being filed with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, District of Columbia Court of Appeals.  The letter is published by Lawyers Defending American Democracy and can be viewed online here.

Minnesota Legal Scholars Weigh In on Aftermath of Chauvin Verdict – Courthouse News Service

 

Source: OTHERWISE: Minnesota Legal Scholars Weigh In on Aftermath of Chauvin Verdict – Courthouse News Service

The astute former prosecutor who tweets as @legalnerd observes that there are serious issues to be raised on appeal.  Prominent among them, in my mind, are the refusal to move the trial from Minneapolis where jurors might feel pressured by the prospect of riots or social disapproval whether they acquitted or convicted; prejudicial publicity via the publicly announced $27 million settlement of civil claims by George Floyd’s family.  Such arguments are not frivolous.  They will fuel those unwilling to accept the conviction as just.- GWC

 California State Bar declares RPC 1.1 duty of tech competence, expands RPC 5.4 non-profit fee sharing rules

California State Bar declares RPC 1.1 duty of tech competence, expands RPC 5.4 non-profit fee sharing rules      Rule 1.1 addresses a lawyer duty of technical competence, and 5.4 declares that attorneys fees from a settlement – not simply court-awarded fees – may be shared with a non-profit….

Source: OTHERWISE: California State Bar declares RPC 1.1 duty of tech competence, expands RPC 5.4 non-profit fee sharing rules

 NJ ACPE Opinion 739: RPC 4.2 – Lawyers Who Include Clients on Group Emails and Opposing Lawyers Who ‘Reply All

Contrary to several other states, the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics holds that a lawyer who “cc’s” a client impliedly consents to his/her client receiving any replies directly.  – GWC

Source: OTHERWISE: NJ ACPE Opinion 739: RPC 4.2 – Lawyers Who Include Clients on Group Emails and Opposing Lawyers Who ‘Reply All

 Priscilla Read Chenoweth – lawyer, editor, crusader, dies at 90 – NY Times

She spent seven years and much of her retirement savings to prove that a teenager had been wrongly convicted of murder. 

Source: OTHERWISE: Priscilla Read Chenoweth – lawyer, editor, crusader, dies at 90 – NY Times

Priscilla Read Chenoweth was the most widely read lawyer in New Jersey for many years.  Her weekly precis of new decisions made the New Jersey Law Journal essential reading.  But she was also an impassioned advocate.  A passion she passed on to her daughter Lesley who, with her husband Michael Risinger leads Seton Hall’s Last Resort exoneration project. – gwc