Lawyers Working Remotely – ABA issues Formal Opinion 495

 

Source: OTHERWISE: Lawyers Working Remotely – ABA issues Formal Opinion 495

American Bar Association
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Formal Opinion 495 December 16, 2020

 

Lawyers Working Remotely Lawyers may remotely practice the law of the jurisdictions in which they are licensed while physically present in a jurisdiction in which they are not admitted if the local jurisdiction has not determined that the conduct is the unlicensed or unauthorized practice of law and if they do not hold themselves out as being licensed to practice in the local jurisdiction, do not advertise or otherwise hold out as having an office in the local jurisdiction, and do not provide or offer to provide legal services in the local jurisdiction. This practice may include the law of their licensing jurisdiction or other law as permitted by ABA Model Rule 5.5(c) or (d), including, for instance, temporary practice involving other states’ or federal laws. Having local contact information on websites, letterhead, business cards, advertising, or the like would improperly establish a local office or local presence under the ABA Model Rules

NJ Supreme Court: Attorney-Client arb agreements OK – BUT advantages and disadvantages must be explained

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Source: OTHERWISE: NJ Supreme Court: Attorney-Client arb agreements OK – BUT advantages and disadvantages must be explained

The New Jersey Supreme Court in Delaney v. Sills (A30-019) has OK’d retainer agreements that provide that all disputes between attorney and client shall be subject to arbitration.  But the court emphasizes that the fiduciary nature of the attorney-client tie requires candid explanation to the client of the advantages and disadvantages of the arbitral forum.

See discussion at link to my blog above.

As a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics I look forward to fulfilling the court’s request to us for advice on how to implement these principles.

  • GWC

U.S. District Court Judge enjoins Pennsylvania from enforcing Bar rule with broad lawyer anti-discrimination prohibitions | Lawyer Ethics Alert Blogs

By Joseph Corsmeier

Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert, which will discuss the recent U.S. District Judge for the District of Eastern Pennsylvania’s opinion and preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of a disciplinary rule broadly prohibiting discrimination by lawyers as violative of the free speech component of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  The case is Greenburg v. Haggerty, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Case No. 20-3822.  The opinion and injunction is here:  https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.paed.574138/gov.uscourts.paed.574138.29.0.pdf  from www.courtlistener.com).

Source: U.S. District Court Judge enjoins Pennsylvania from enforcing Bar rule with broad lawyer anti-discrimination prohibitions | Lawyer Ethics Alert Blogs

The opinion and injunction states:

There is no doubt that the government is acting with beneficent intentions.  However, in doing so, the government has created a rule that promotes a government-favored, viewpoint monologue and creates a pathway for its handpicked arbiters to determine, without any concrete standards, who and what offends. This leaves the door wide open for them to determine what is bias and prejudice based on whether the viewpoint expressed is socially and politically acceptable and within the bounds of permissible cultural parlance. Yet the government cannot set its standard by legislating diplomatic speech because although it embarks upon a friendly, favorable tide, this tide sweeps us all along with the admonished, minority viewpoint into the massive currents of suppression and repression. Our limited constitutional Government was designed to protect the individual’s right to speak freely, including those individuals expressing words or ideas we abhor.

The irony cannot be missed that attorneys, those who are most educated and encouraged to engage in dialogues about our freedoms, are the very ones here who are forced to limit their words to those that do not “manifest bias or prejudice.” Pa.R.P.C. 8.4(g). This Rule represents the government restricting speech outside of the courtroom, outside of the context of a pending case, and even outside the much broader playing field of “administration of justice.” Even if Plaintiff makes a good faith attempt to restrict and self-censor, the Rule leaves Plaintiff with no guidance as to what is in bounds, and what is out, other than to advise Plaintiff to scour every nook and cranny of each ordinance, rule, and law in the Nation.

“Trashed in an Online Review? Responding Is OK, But Don’t Say Too Much,” NJ Supreme Court Advisory Committee 

The New Jersey Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics has said – in a binding opinion – that lawyers slandered in an online review are limited to a denial.  Only if a definite controversy arises – e.g. in a malpractice suit or disciplinary action.  While the Committee’s opinions are subject to discretionary review by the Supreme Court itself the Committee’s published opinions bind all members of the bar.  An unusual aspect of New Jersey law is that any member of the bar and any bar association has standing to petition the state’s high court for review.

Thus a lawyer who believes the First Amendment them to file a defamation action disclosing facts about the representation would have standing to petition the Supreme Court which, in its discretion, may overturn or modify the ACPE opinion.  – GWC

Source: ACPE – FW: “Trashed in an Online Review? Responding Is OK, But Don’t Say Too Much,” NJLJ, 12-10-20 

Lawyers who receive negative online reviews from clients are free to post a response, but must avoid disclosing confidential client information, according to an opinion by New Jersey’s Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics.

Lawyers responding to online reviews posted by clients cannot reveal “information relating to representation,” except where that information is “generally known” or the client consents to the release of such information, the committee said in ACPE Opinion 738 

While lawyers have some latitude in discussing clients’ cases publicly in the context of defending a malpractice suit or disciplinary complaint against the lawyer, the same freedom does not apply to an “informal controversy” over the posting of a negative online review, the committee said in its Opinion 738, made public Wednesday.

The committee offered a suggested response for such situations, which it said complies with New Jersey lawyers’ ethical obligations: “A lawyer’s duty to keep client confidences has few exceptions and in an abundance of caution I do not feel at liberty to respond in a point by point fashion in this forum. Suffice it to say that I do not believe that the post presents a fair and accurate picture of the events.” The statement was suggested by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

New Jersey’s committee took up the issue of responding to negative online reviews in response to several requests to the committee and its ethics assistance hotline for guidance. Lawyers said former clients and former prospective clients have posted false, misleading and inaccurate statements about them.

LAW ENFORCEMENT LEADERS CALL ON STATE BAR TO CREATE NEW ETHICS RULE TO #CURETHECONFLICT OF INTEREST BETWEEN PROSECUTORS AND POLICE UNIONS – George Gascón Democrat for L.A. District Attorney

UPDATE:  The letter submitted to the State Bar by recently elected San Francisco District Attorney  Chesa Boudin, a former public defender…

Source: OTHERWISE: LAW ENFORCEMENT LEADERS CALL ON STATE BAR TO CREATE NEW ETHICS RULE TO #CURETHECONFLICT OF INTEREST BETWEEN PROSECUTORS AND POLICE UNIONS – George Gascón Democrat for L.A. District Attorney

A letter submitted to the State Bar by recently elected San Francisco District Attorney  Chesa Boudin, a former public defender, two other county prosecutors and his predecessor George Gascon  called on the State Bar (a governmental entity) to adopt a rule or issue a formal ethics opinion to “explicitly preclude elected prosecutors-or prosecutors seeking election-from seeking or accepting political or financial support from law enforcement unions.” It was the subject of today’s Zoom public hearing before the  Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct.

Nadine Taub, Early Leader in Women’s Rights Law, Dies at 77 – The New York Times

 

Source: OTHERWISE: Nadine Taub, Early Leader in Women’s Rights Law, Dies at 77 – The New York Times

Nadine Taub was a brilliant lawyer who with Ruth Ginsburg was among the first to litigate women’s rights cases.  She began that work in 1971 at Rutgers where she was recruited by Ruth Ginsburg to found the Women’s Rights Litigation Clinic.  I tell the story of that era in my essay People’s Electric – Engaged legal Education at Rutgers Newark in the 1960s and 1970s.
I was privileged to co-author a brief with her in Collins v. Union County Jail (1997).  A gay prisoner had been assaulted by a guard.  We wrote for amicus curiae National Organization for Women and helped to overturn the New Jersey precedents that one could not recover for sexual assault unless there had been physical injury. – gwc

 New Jersey Supreme Court seeks Comment on the Duty of Confidentiality and Wrongful Convictions

Charles Toutant of the New Jersey Law Journal reports: The New Jersey Supreme Court is seeking input on a proposed rule change that would  , if adopted, would change RPC 1.6 to create an exception to the duty to keep client information confidential if that information demonstrates that an innocent person was wrongly convicted of a crime with significant penal consequences. The judiciary is accepting written comments through June 26 on the proposal made public Wednesday. Click through below for a link to the report of the divided Committee.

Source: OTHERWISE: New Jersey Supreme Court seeks Comment on the Duty of Confidentiality and Wrongful Convictions

Toward the Abolition of Slavery under the Aegis of Islamic Law – The Comparative Jurist

Source: OTHERWISE: Toward the Abolition of Slavery under the Aegis of Islamic Law – The Comparative Jurist

Lawyers have long sought not only to clarify but to improve the law.  So it is with the three great Abrahamic monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam  They are religions of the book.  Scripture is a powerful command, but like the United States Constitution adherents and aspirants find themselves impaled on the products of the founding fathers contradictions. In U.S. law it is between the Enlightenment values of the slave-holding signers of  the Declaration of Independence and the protection  and acquiescence in racism and chattel slavery embedded in the Constitution of 1787.  Only Civil War could end it and even so the post civil war Second Founding was only a qualified success.
Similarly Christianity – a dissenters religion founded on lionization of the victim of an unjust execution has (at least since becoming the religion of empire in 314 AD.) tolerated war and capital punishment.  Only in the past few years has the Catechism of the Catholic Church abjured capital punishment.
Evidenced by the practices and justifications claimed by ISIS and Boko Haram  Bernard  Freamon argues that although freeing slaves is lauded in the Quran the practice – particularly in war – is not definitively abjured.   His objective is to spur Islamic scholars and lawyers to develop the foundation in Islamic law for complete abolition,  – GWC
Toward the Abolition of Slavery under the Aegis of Islamic Law – The Comparative Jurist William & Mary Law School
by Bernard Freamon (author of Possessed by the Right Hand, The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law and Muslim Cultures)

Utah Advances the Conversation: Future of Lawyering to Include NonLawyers?

Source: OTHERWISE: Utah Advances the Conversation: Future of Lawyering to Include NonLawyers?

by Legal Ethics in Motion

The Utah Supreme Court recently posted its Standing Order 15 and proposed amendments to its Rules of Professional Conduct 5.4 (Professional Independence of a Lawyer) and 1.5 (Attorney Fees), which pave the way for  collaboration between lawyers and non-lawyers to both provide legal services and share revenue.
Utah Supreme Court Justice Constandinos “Deno” Himonas spoke to the ABA Journal and explained, “We are envisioning a combination of lawyer and tech people working together to use the platforms of the 21st century in providing legal services.” He also stated that the fundamental ethical duties, such as client confidentiality will be maintained.
Utah is proposing a regulatory sandbox so that its Supreme Court can maintain oversight of collaborative proposals. Justice Himonas noted that COVID-19 has further revealed the need for lower cost legal services and regulatory reform.
The Utah proposals are posted and open for comment for 90 days.
Stay tuned for what may become one of the most significant events in the U.S. legal profession’s history.

Message to SCOTUS: Maximize voting and public health – Wisconsin teaches us

 

Source: OTHERWISE: Message to SCOTUS: Maximize voting and public health – Wisconsin teaches us

by George W. Conk

When the United States Supreme Court, split along the familiar lines, reversing the courts below, ordered “Per Curiam” that Wisconsin voters who chose mail ballots must have them post-marked by midnight of election day, Tuesday, April 7, the usual alarms rang.  Defenders saw a ruling to maintain regular order and ballot integrity; critics saw a partisan effort to reduce voting and aid a Republican seeking to retain a state Supreme Court seat. Of course, neither an effort to save or gain a court seat should motivate the decision on how to conduct an election.

KEEP READING

 

DOJ Inspector General backs dismissed IG Atkinson

Source: OTHERWISE: DOJ Inspector General backs dismissed IG Atkinson

Complaints about the erosion of rule of law are so pervasive that it becomes like the drone note in a dirge.  But very so often someone usually quiet raises a voice.  Unfortunately it’s usually someone retired or who served in the ancien regime before the debacle.  So it was good to hear Michael Horowitz, who is both Chair of the `Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency’ (CIGIE) and the Inspector General at the Department of Justice speak of dismissed Inspector General Michael Atkinson.  Horowitz has put his own job on the line. – gwc
DOJ Inspector General backs dismissed IG Atkinson

Michael Atkinson, the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community: “Inspector General Atkinson is known throughout the Inspector General community for his integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight. That includes his actions in handling the Ukraine whistleblower complaint, which the then Acting Director of National Intelligence stated in congressional testimony was done “by the book” and consistent with the law…

Federal Defenders: 2d Circuit directs mediation re Bureau of Prisons obstructiveness of client access

Source: OTHERWISE: Federal Defenders: 2d Circuit directs mediation re Bureau of Prisons obstructiveness

2d Circuit judges John Walker, Barrington Parker, and Susan Carney write:
“the Federal Defenders have raised claims of the utmost gravity about the lawfulness of the BOP’s unilateral curtailment of pretrial detainees and others confined…a dramatic challenge is presented by COVID-19…The impact of this recent emergency on jail and prison inmates, their counsel (in the lead the Federal Defenders), the United States Attorneys, and the BOP,including the wardens and personnel…is just beginning to be felt.”
The Circuit panel directed the District Judge to appoint as a mediator “an individual with the stature, experience, and knowledge necessary to meditate this weighty dispute and ultimately facilitate the adoption of procedures for dealing with ongoing and future emergencies, including the COVID-19 outbreak.” – GWC See opinion  HERE

Judge’s Criticism Of Trump Could Spur Misconduct Review – Law360

Source: OTHERWISE: Judge’s Criticism Of Trump Could Spur Misconduct Review – Law360

Federal judge Lynn Adelman (ED WI) who wrote in the Harvard Law & Policy Review an article titled “The Roberts’ Court’s Assault on Democracy”. Adelman defended himself in an interviewed by Law 360.  Adelman  sees his article as consistent with a judge’s role of commenting on the law – “speaking writing, and teaching” about the law and legal system as Canon 4 of the Code of Conduct of United States Judges frames it.

Such bluntness evokes the 2004 remarks by Judge Guido Calabresi – former Yale Dean. Calabresi said at a conference that George W. Bush should not be re-elected, that he had become President through the “illegitimate acts of a legitimate institution”.  Calabresi later apologized for his remarks, was admonished by Chief Circuit Judge John Walker (a first cousin of Bush 42).  Walker’s admonishment was ratified by a 2005 judicial discipline report of the 2d Circuit, 404 F. 3d 668.

– GWC

Law360 (March 11, 2020, 7:21 PM EDT) — A Wisconsin federal judge mJudge’s Criticism Of Trump Could Spur Misconduct Review – Law360ay find himself in hot water after publishing a law review article critical of Republicans and the U.S. Supreme Court, with an ethics expert forecasting misconduct complaints and a former federal judge predicting the article will lead to recusal demands.

While the code of ethics for federal judges allows for public discussion of the law, it prohibits political activity, especially when it deals with candidates for office. U.S. District Judge Lynn S. Adelman’s article said conservative justices are “undermining democracy” while President Donald Trump’s “temperament is that of an autocrat,” Republicans are “focused on serving the wealthy,” and GOP senators display “zealous partisanship [reminiscent of] those fervent defenders of slavery who pushed the South into the Civil War.”

“A judge is making public remarks that can be construed as opposing a sitting president who is running for re-election,” said Arthur Hellman, a University of Pittsburgh law professor who has advised Congress on judicial ethics. “The whole theory of judicial impartiality is not that judges have no views on political and social issues, but that they can separate those personal views from what they do as judges. If judges go out in public and start talking about their political and social views, I think people will legitimately wonder, can they separate them?”

Judge Adelman stood by his article in an interview with Law360 Wednesday.

“Judges are encouraged to talk about current legal issues and problems,” he said, adding that it is “certainly reasonable and important to talk about” Supreme Court decisions.

Nancy Gertner, a former federal judge in Massachusetts who teaches at Harvard Law School, told Law360 that such commentary is part of academic debate.

“You can speak critically about the administration of justice,” she said. “There are many of us who are law professors who have written critically about [a] decision. This is within the zone of what it’s appropriate for a judge to talk about.”

 

Trump should keep hands off courts – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Bar Associations

Source: OTHERWISE: Trump should keep hands off courts – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Bar

“I just don’t know how they cannot recuse themselves for anything Trump or Trump-related” – Donald Trump speaking of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Ginsburg

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

In restrained but firm language two leading bar associations have called attention to Donald Trump’s attacks on the judicial system  The Philadelphia Bar declared in a recent statement “Recently, we have seen a course of conduct, including communications meant to exert undue influence on the judiciary, that seems intent on undermining the rule of law and disrupting the system of checks and balances. Such attacks are dangerous in the extreme. We cannot allow them to continue.
“We call for an end to these unwarranted attacks on the judiciary and for all Americans to speak up in defense of the Constitution and our democratic principles.”
In similarly constrained language the Pennsylvania Bar Association declared:
“The integrity of our system of justice requires that this equal branch of government be free from outside influence. In particular, we must assure that the independence of the judiciary is always respected and never diminished.”

What does it mean to “induce” or “encourage” unlawful presence? – SCOTUSblog

Source: OTHERWISE: What does it mean to “induce” or “encourage” unlawful presence? – SCOTUSblog

Gabriel (Jack) Chin at Scotus blog has a good discussion of U.S. v. Sineneng-Smith – a challenge to the Immigration and Nationalities Act which in Section 1324 presents a risk of criminal prosecution to lawyers, advocates, and families of people without a legal right to be in the U.S.

***Put simply, the issue is this. 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) imposes criminal penalties on any person who “encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence in is or will be in violation of law.”
Is this, as the government argues with the support of a single amicus brief, a narrow provision prohibiting criminal solicitation and aiding and abetting? Or is it, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit found and a range of amici argue, a constitutionally overbroad statute criminalizing a wide range of protected expression, including political speech, attorney representation, charitable and religious counseling, support and outreach, and grandmothers urging their foreign-born grandchildren not to leave them?***

The President is an office-holder, not a sovereign – Bernadette Meyler //Harvard L Rev

The President’s oath of office is to the laws and constitution.  He/she is not the sole receptacle of the power of the executive branch of the executive branch of the United States government.  Attorney General Barr has embraced the opposite view.  But Bernadette Meyler (Stanford Law) has amplifed the argument tellingly stated by Fordham law profs Andrew Kent, Jed Shugerman, and Ethan Leib.

Source: OTHERWISE: The President is an office-holder, not a sovereign – Bernadette Meyler //Harvard L Rev

If you haven’t looked at this discussion I recommend that you take a good luck at this ongoing and very accessible discussion which began and continues in the pages of the Harvard Law Review.  As officers of the court we are acutely aware of the limits of our authority – and of our duty of independence – bred of our oath to uphold the law.  But by the fulsome embrace of the unitary executive theory which places all executive authority in a single person – not the office, but the person of the President – Attorney General Barr abdicates his duty.  In his own words, he works under “presidential supervision” rather than as a protector of the people as sovereign. – gwc

 

New York City Bar Association Urges Congress to Commence Formal Inquiries into Conduct of Attorney General William P. Barr | Media Listing | NYC Bar

Source: OTHERWISE: New York City Bar Association Urges Congress to Commence Formal Inquiries into Conduct of Attorney General William P. Barr | Media Listing | NYC Bar

The New York City Bar Association has sent a letter to Congressional leaders, urging them “to commence formal inquiries into a pattern of conduct by Attorney General William P. Barr that threatens public confidence in the fair and impartial administration of justice.”

The letter asserts that in several extended public statements during the past few months, Mr. Barr has disregarded “bedrock obligations for government lawyers,” including “to avoid even the appearance of partiality and impropriety, and to avoid manifesting bias, prejudice, or partisanship in the exercise of official responsibilities.”

These statements include an October speech at the University of Notre Dame, now posted on the Department of Justice’s website, in which Mr. Barr stated that “the Founding generation . . . believed that the Judeo-Christian moral system corresponds to the true nature of man” and that “Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct.” Expressing his view that “Judeo-Christian values . . . have made this country great”—while simultaneously rejecting the moral basis of secularism and, by implication, other religions (and atheism) as “an inversion of Christian morality,” Mr. Barr vowed to place the Department of Justice “at the forefront” of efforts to resist “forces of secularization.”

In a November speech at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention, Mr. Barr charged that “opponents of the Trump presidency’s policies” have been “engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law” and referred to what he called a “progressive holy war,” characterized by the use of “any means necessary to gain momentary advantage.” By contrast, Mr. Barr proclaimed, conservatives “tend to have more scruple over their political tactics” and are “more genuinely committed to the rule of law.”

In December – following earlier remarks at a Fraternal Order of Police gathering in which he criticized District Attorneys from “large cities” who “style themselves as ‘social justice’ reformers, who spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the law,” and “an increasingly vocal minority” that “regularly attacks the police and advances a narrative that it is the police that are the bad guys”  and “automatically start[s] screaming for the officers’ scalps, regardless of the facts” following “a confrontation involving the use of force by police”– Mr. Barr warned at a DOJ awards ceremony that “the American people have to . . . start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves,” and “if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.” While Mr. Barr did not specify which “communities” were at risk of seeing decreased police protection because they lack respect for law enforcement, and notwithstanding his later denial that he had suggested that people should not criticize police officers and his assertion that he had merely been referring to the high rates of job vacancies in police agencies throughout the country, “his comment was understood by some observers, not unreasonably, as being directed toward members of communities of color protesting excessive use of force by police,” the letter states.