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.

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:…

California Continues its Work to Update its Ethics Rules (and switch to the ABA Model Rules Format)

California’s Second Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct continues its work to update California’s ethics rules (and switch to the ABA Model Rules format).  The Commission’s website includes a page where it regularly posts its draft rules for comment.  For example, in April 2016 the Commission posted its proposed drafts of Rules 1.2, 1.7, and 7.1-7.5, among other rules.  In May 2016 the Commission posted drafts of Rules 3.3-3.6 and a proposed rule dealing with prosecutorial responsibilities.    The June 2016 column by State Bar of California President David Pasternak urged California lawyers to submit their comments to the Commission.  Given California’s size and influence, this work deserves careful consideration by all lawyers.