OTHERWISE: Law School Marketing and Legal Ethics by Ben Trachtenberg :: SSRN

OTHERWISE: Law School Marketing and Legal Ethics by Ben Trachtenberg :: SSRN.

University of Missouri law prof Ben Trachtenberg presents a new paper

This article exposes how pitches aimed at prospective students, including the seemingly straightforward recitation of statistics on law school websites, still paint an unduly rosy picture of the legal employment market. Focusing on Rule 8.4(c) of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the article explains that law school officials have exposed themselves to professional discipline, which may offer a solution to the pervasive problem of misleading law school marketing.

Calculating the lodestar and the contingent fee enhancement

New Jersey has not yet succumbed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dague v. City of Burlington loathing of fee shifting and contingent fee enhancement.  Superior Court Assignment Judge Peter Doyne’s opinion in Rivera v. Office of the County Prosecutor (Law 2012) is an excellent step by step primer in how to calculate the lodestar and apply the contingent fee multiplier (here 25%).  Also helpful is his careful discussion of each of the objections lodged by the Prosecutor in this Open Public Records Act case for which New Jersey law allows counsel fees and costs to prevailing parties. Issues discussed include a) paying a lawyer’s hourly rate for work that can be done by non-attorney staff, b) travel time to and from the courthouse, c) paying a lawyer for the time it takes to prosecute the counsel fee application, d) reducing a lawyer’s fee when he or she is less than 100% successful.

NJ Clarifies Permissible Role of Out of State Lawyers

OTHERWISE: NJ Clarifies Permissible Role of Out of State Lawyers.

The New Jersey Supreme Court’s Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law has in Opinion 49 clarified issues of cross-border/multi-jurisdictional practice under the State’s version of RPC 5.5. The Committee replied expansively to an inquiry – `Can an out-of-state lawyer representing an out-of-state client in a commercial real estate transaction for the purchase of commercial real estate in New Jersey negotiate the terms of the transaction, and prepare the contract and other related documents?’


The short answer is NO.  “Preparing real estate sale and lease contracts for a third person is the practice of law.”  But the `third person’ qualification leaves in-house counsel free to do that – assuming compliance with NJ’s limited licensure rule)


And New Jersey’s version of ABA Model Rule 5.5 contains a number of exceptions to the broad “NO”, the last of which does not appear in the ABA rule and is particularly noteworthy – the “occasional”, non-recurring representation and its consideration of the client’s interests…

California bar recommends canceling score of recent law graduate for lying about disability

The State Bar of California has recommended canceling the law license of a recent UC Hastings law graduate.  However the bar’s recommendation does not disbar the recent law graduate.  The former MoFo summer associate lied about having a disability and received time and half in taking the California bar.  The bar found that the attorney had committed acts of moral turpitude and dishonestly or corruption in violation of Business and Professional Code section 6106.

You can read the California Bar’s full decision here.

Gideon at 50

Gideon at 50 Gideon’s Trumpet called for effective assistance of counsel for all charged with a crime. Literature regarding lawyers’ professional responsibility often begins with lilting exhortations to zeal, loyalty, and confidentiality, but we see too little reference to competence. Yet without it, all the good will and loyalty in the world will be of […]