Lawyers have the right to leave a firm and practice at another firm. Likewise, clients have the right to switch lawyers or law firms, subject to approval of a tribunal, when applicable (and conflicts of interest). The ethics rules do not allow non-competition clauses in partnership, member, shareholder, or employment agreements. Lawyers and law firm management have ethical obligations to assure the orderly transition of client matters when lawyers notify a firm they intend to move to a new firm.
Don’t we all face this problem?
By Dahlia Lithwick Slate
“It is not my job to decide if Brett Kavanaugh is guilty. It’s impossible for me to do so with incomplete information, and with no process for testing competing facts. But it’s certainly not my job to exonerate him because it’s good for his career, or for mine, or for the future of an independent judiciary. Picking up an oar to help America get over its sins without allowing for truth, apology, or reconciliation has not generally been good for the pursuit of justice. Our attempts to get over CIA torture policies or the Iraq war or anything else don’t bring us closer to truth and reconciliation. They just make it feel better—until they do not. And we have all spent far too much of the past three years trying to tell ourselves that everything is OK when it most certainly is not normal, not OK, and not worth getting over.”
The New Jersey legal community has been roiled by an unpublished – but binding – Appellate Division decision that barred enforcement of the mandatory arbitration provision of a prominent firm’s standard retainer agreement.
In Delaney v. Dickey and Sills Cummis & Gross, P.C., 2019 WL 3982756, a legal malpractice action, plaintiff Brian Delaney claims the retainer agreement used by defendants violated several RPCs and therefore its provision to arbitrate all disputes arising from the representation should not be enforced. The Chancery Division judge rejected the argument but a three judge panel reversed. Sills has now appealed to the state’s Supreme Court, and Delaney’s lawyer agrees the Court should grant certification….
The former (GW Bush administration) Inspector General of the National Security Agency on the vulnerability of the lawyers who mis-classifie…
The New Jersey Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics (ACPE) has issued a binding Opinion 735 Lawyer’s Use of Internet Search Engine Keyword Advertising
The Committee- whose published opinions bind the bar – subject to discretionary appeal – responded to an inquiry: “asking whether a lawyer may, consistent with the rules governing attorney ethics, purchase a Google Adword℠ or keyword that is a competitor lawyer’s name, in order to display the lawyer’s own law firm website in the search results when a person searches for the competitor lawyer by name. Internet search engine advertising programs permit businesses to purchase certain keywords or phrases; when a person searching on the internet uses those words in the search, the websites of purchasers of the keywords will appear in the search results, ordinarily presented as paid or “sponsored” ads.” The ACPE found that acceptable but abjured any method that would surreptitiously direct an inquirer from the competitor’s website to the lawyer’s own site.
Knowing that this story will soon disappear from Twitter and the headlines I have gathered key documents, etc. with fall classes in mind. My suggested question for discussion is “Would you have argued – if your DOJ boss insisted – that soap was not required under the settlement agreement calling for minor immigrants to be detained in “safe and sanitary” facilities?” Click through for the full post. -gwc
The court also rejected Defendants’ argument that “soap, towels, showers, dry clothing, or toothbrushes” are not required under the Agreement because the Agreement makes no mention of those items.
Civil Gideon – Right to Counsel in Child Abuse Allegation by Division of Children and Families Almost fifty years ago the New Jersey Su…
Almost fifty years ago the New Jersey Supreme Court declared in Rodriguez v. Rosenblatt that an indigent defendant facing any “consequence of magnitude” is entitled to appointed counsel. From that petty criminal matter the right has been slowly extended in civil matters such as termination of parental rights, jailing and “automatic” suspension of driving privileges for failure to pay child support, suspension of driving privileges, and involuntary civil commitment. In Division of Children and Families v. L.O. the Appellate Division has extended that right to State Division of Children and Families administrative and judicial actions to substantiate child abuse, and place the defendant on the Child Abuse Registry.
The court considered whether indigent parents and guardians – once notified that an investigation has substantiated them for child abuse or neglect – are entitled to the appointment of counsel when exercising their right to an administrative hearing to challenge that determination.
Because the potential consequences of such administrative proceedings – including permanent listing in the Child Abuse Registry – are of significant magnitude, counsel must be made available for indigent parents and guardians both at the administrative level and in any appeal of right to this court, just as that right exists in Title Nine actions commenced in Superior Court.
The court also determined that until such time as the Legislature addresses this constitutional right counsel may be appointed to serve – without compensation – in such matters. Six months ago a Superior Court judges ordered the state to provide counsel to delinquent child support obligors in drivers license suspension cases. There too funding has not been appropriated. In this era of No new taxes pledges the Legislature has failed to respond in other instances where the right to counsel has been extended. The recently elected Democratic Governor and the Democratic majority legislature have often found themselves at odds. The statewide Office of the Public Defender stands ready – if funded – to provide competent representation. But I have my doubts about whether the Governor and Legislature will address this problem. – gwc