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 (2nd. ed 2013), 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.

New DC Data & Recommendations About Global Practice

In May 2016, the DC Bar issued the Interim Report of its Global Legal Practice Task Force.  In June 2016, the Board of Governors of the DC Bar approved the report’s recommendations.  As the DC press release noted, “D.C. Bar members practice in 83 countries, and nearly 1,500 of the Bar’s 101,500 members live and work abroad. Fifty-four percent of the Bar’s domestic members were very or somewhat interested in expanding their international practices within the next five years …with 57 percent of that number indicating that they expect to expand their practices during that time.”

The DC Bar sent separate surveys to bar members located in the US, bar members located outside the US, and Special [Foreign] Legal Consultants.  To my knowledge, this is the first survey of its kind, in which bar members were asked demographic data about their practices and qualifications, as well as questions about the ways in which they currently interact with the DC Bar and the services they would like.   Anyone who is interested in the globalization of legal practice will find the Interim Report an interesting read.

The DC Bar press release announcing Board approval of the recommendations summarized the Task Force work as follows:

To best achieve its charge, the Task Force divided its study into three areas: examining how best to serve domestic Bar members with international practices and clients, and Bar members who live and work overseas (outbound); studying the rules by which lawyers from foreign countries can be admitted and licensed to practice in the District (inbound); and studying developments in alternative business models being employed by law firms domestically and in other countries. The interim report reflects the recommendations of the outbound subgroup and a recommendation to conduct ongoing study of alternative business structures and multi-disciplinary practice. The Task Force’s work continues on issues about the regulation, admission, and practice of foreign-educated lawyers in the District of Columbia.

 The Task Force’s proposals for outbound members fell into three broad categories: connections or networking, resources, and education and professional development.

Highlights of the proposals for short-term implementation recommend that the Bar should:

• Develop networking opportunities with substantive content for smaller groups of domestic Bar members with international legal practices.

• Improve the exchange of information about resources, education, and networking for all members engaged in the practice of cross-border and international law.

• Create varying “expertise” levels of educational programming in international law topics for all members and develop marketing for this programming.

• Develop educational programming about issues in international practice that all members often encounter: multi-country litigation; record keeping; e-discovery training and tools; conflicting legal ethics rules; attorney-client privilege abroad; and data security and privacy.

Highlights of the proposals for long-term implementation recommend that the Bar should:

• Facilitate informal gatherings of its members residing in specific regions of the world where these members commonly live and practice, such as Canada, China, France, and the United Kingdom.

• Facilitate networking between members who reside and practice outside the United States and local business groups.

• Partner with international groups and organizations based in Washington, D.C., for hosting networking events with domestic members with international practices.

• Develop and maintain a list of volunteer “resource attorneys” by international law subject matters or by conducting business in specific regions of the world.

Two Examples this Week of Technology and Artificial Intelligence Promoting Access to Justice

Two examples in the news this week of the potential for AI to increase access to justice – and perhaps raise UPL issues?  My hope is that the academy and the profession will focus on how this helps the public, while allowing lawyers to practice to the top of their license.


First, a 19 year old in Britain launched a bot in New York and London that allows folks to appeal their parking tickets.  In April, the bot had a 64% success rate.  Up next: Seattle.
Note that the developer is also working on a bot to help refugees seeking asylum, as well as a bot for HIV positive individuals to better understand their rights in disclosing their medical status.  More here from Business Insider.


Second, Bloomberg reported Thursday that some countries are using automated dispute resolution tools for family law issues (divorce, child custody and support), condominium, landlord-tenant, and employment disputes.  The tool uses algorithms to guide individuals “through a series of questions and explanations to help them reach a settlement by themselves.”  Human adjudicators may be brought in if a settlement is not reached.

Shifting Incomes for American Jobs | FlowingData

Source: Shifting Incomes for American Jobs | FlowingData

 

The average American hourly wage is $24/hour.  So how many people can afford to hire you?  The average person makes 40% of what you do – IF you earn $100,000.
Click through for an interactive graph which Nathan Yao has designed. It shows the distribution of income within occupations by occupation  in 1960, 1980, 2000, and 2014.  Looking at lawyers income you will see that most lawyers make under $100,000.  A handful make $150,000 and then a sizeable group earning above $200,000 This is no surprise to me.  It is a struggle to generate the $500,000 in business and fees you need to make $100,000.  Note that there is employer’s shareof Social Security and Medicare is 7.65%.  Plus health insurance.  A good individual plan costs about $700/month. So to make declare $100,000 costs you about $115,000 minimum.  So that comes to $57/hour if you work 2,000 hours/year.    GWC
Shifting Incomes for American Jobs | FlowingData
by Nathan Yao

As you progress through time, you’ll notice the distributions of income spread out more. This is especially obvious when you switch between 1960 and 2014. With the exception of lower paying jobs in areas such as food preparation and cleaning, it looks like there’s more opportunity to earn a higher salary (among those who have jobs at least).
That said, even if a job typically pays well, there are still people at the lower end of the bracket.

Manhattan Prosecutors Plan to Retry Remaining Dewey and Leboeuf Defendants

For those of you following the Dewey & LeBoeuf criminal trial, you know that the jury deadlocked last October after nearly six months of deliberations on dozens of charges against Steven H. Davis, the former chairman of Dewey, and two other former executives of the law firm, Stephen DiCarmine and Joel Sanders. The three men were accused of being the architects of an accounting fraud that enabled their law firm, Dewey & Leboeuf, to defraud its lenders and creditors during much of the financial crisis.

In January and February of this year, Manhattan prosecutors reached deferred prosecution agreements with Steven H. Davis and Zachary Warren, one of the original defendants.

The Manhattan prosecutors are now planning to retry the case against DiCarmine and Sanders, the remaining defendants. The trial is expected to begin early next year in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan – just in time for your spring semester 2017 P.R. classes. Apparently, DiCarmine has communicated that he wants to replace his longtime lawyer, Austin Campriello.

Update on the case can be found here.

 

Judiciary Court Files Charges Against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

Source: Judiciary Court Files Charges Against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary on May 7 filed a complaint against Chief Justice Roy Moore for obstruction of the duty of Probate Judges to comply with the order of a federal court.  Moore has been suspended with pay. Moore  was previously removed for defiance of an order to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse.  He was reelected.
The Court of the Judiciary complaint relates to a January 6, 2016 Administrative Order by Moore which – after Obergefell v. Hodges – declared “Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act [which]remain[s] in force and effect.”
The Court asserts six counts of violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, including Canon 2A for failure to respect  and comply with the law”.

Moore’s Liberty Counsel defenders filed a federal action to enjoin the suspension. See complaint.

Trump, Christie and Judicial Impartiality

Source: Trump, Christie and Judicial Impartiality

That neither race, ethnicity, nor gender presumptively bars a judge or juror from passing impartially on a case is deeply embedded in our law.  Only a week ago in Foster v. Chatman, Warden the Supreme Court vacated a capital conviction because the Prosecutor arbitrarily excluded prospective jurors who, like the defendant, were African American.

That an African American judge may pass on matters in which race is relevant is deeply embedded in our law, as is the corollary principal that female may pass on women’s issues.  The landmark judicial opinion on the issue is Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Local 542, 388 F. Supp. 155 (974).  there Judge A. Leon Higgiinbotham, later Chief Judge of the Third Circuit, repudiated the proposition asserted in a motion to disqualify him in a class action alleging discrimination by a building trades union. He wrote:…