Tuesday, April 22, 2008
An attorney was cautioned by the Arkansas Committee on Professional Conduct, Panel B, in connection with his represenation of a client in a wrongful wood cutting case. The suit had been brought against the attorney's client by a timber company which owned the right to the timber in question. The lawyer had entered his appearence shortly after an adverse judgment was rendered against the client pro se. He failed to timely file for necessary extensions and did not perfect the record on appeal. The lapses "resulted in his clients being denied their opportunity for appellate review of a judgment of $87,603.57 against them." (Mike Frisch)
Call for Papers - 2009 AALS Annual Meeting - Joint Program of the Professional Responsibility and Clinical Sections
CALL FOR AALS ANNUAL MEETING PRESENTATION PROPOSALS Joint Professional Responsibility and Clinical Sections 2009 AALS Annual Meeting Program, Jan.7-10, 2009; Session Commemorating the Fortieth Anniversary of the Council on Legal Education for Professional Responsibility (CLEPR).
The Planning Committee for the 2009 AALS Annual Meeting Joint Program of the Professional Responsibility and Clinical Sections is seeking innovative proposals for presentations or posters related to the teaching of ethical reflection in law practice and related topics for possible inclusion in the 2009 annual meeting program. Preference will be given to proposals involving interactive presentations. Potential presentation topics might include: innovative methods of teaching reflective learning about professional values and goals through case rounds, simulations, case studies, or externship seminars; teaching of legal ethics and professionalism values through the pervasive method and/or by integrating ethics and professional reflection into substantive law courses and subjects; and assessment in course components addressed to the development of reflective, ethics and professionalism skills.
The Planning Committee will consider proposals for possible oral or poster presentations. Please submit proposals describing anticipated presentation, along with any supporting materials, to Susan Carle at email@example.com, by June 15, 2008.
The South Carolina Supreme Court accepted a consent discipline proposal and disbarred an attorney as a result of a criminal conviction. The case is worth a mention because the court notes (see footnote 2) that the underlying criminal conduct had taken place prior to the attorney's admission to the South Carolina Bar. (Mike Frisch)
Monday, April 21, 2008
Posted by Alan Childress
The bepress journal Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology announces at this link its newest issue, Vol. 2, Issue 1. The journal "is a peer-reviewed and policy-focused journal that examines the ethical and legal issues that arise from emerging technologies." All papers are easily accessed in PDF via links at either site above. Its table of contents for lead articles (plus discussions and book reviews not listed here) is as follows:
Death in Traffic: Why Are the Ethical Issues Ignored?
The Ethics of Autonomous Military Robots
Privacy, Data Protection, and the Unprecedented Challenges of Ambient Intelligence
The Legal and Ethical Changes in the NHS Landscape Accompanying the Policy Shift from Paper-Based Health Records to Electronic Health Records
Alan C. Gillies
Engineering Greater Resilience or Radical Transhuman Enhancement?
The Historical Idea of a Better Race
Adam Smith Esq. has a review of last week's two-day symposium at Georgetown Law on The Future of the Global Law Firm. The symposium, sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession, was by all accounts a notable success that will stimulate both academic and practice-oriented debate on the direction of transnational practice and the role of the law firm in shaping the future of the profession. Congrats to Mitt Regan, Jeff Bauman and Larry Center for organizing the symposium and playing a crucial role in focusing the profession on issues that will be of increasing significance over the near and long term. (Mike Frisch)
A Georgia lawyer was permitted to resign, an action "tantamount to disbarment," by order of the Georgia Supreme Court. The lawyer had pleaded guilty to a felony of bringing dangerous weapons into a jail facility and conspiracy to aid a prisoner in an escape. (Mike Frisch)
An attorney who had recently been indefinitely suspended was disbarred by the Maryland Court of Appeals. The misconduct in both matters was similar-- failing to escrow and spending an unearned fee for personal purposes and failing to respond to the bar complaint. The attorney also violated a number of ethical rules in the handling of divorce matters. One matter involved a petition to modify a custody order and for ex parte relief. The lawyer claimed that a hearing on the motions had been set when it had not. (Mike Frisch)
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
As someone who has made a few moderate shifts in career focus, I'm always interested in seeing stories about people who overcome, as they say in behavioral economics, path dependency. In more colloquial terms, that would be the career track, or to some, the career rut. Right? Once you've made it in a particular area, the costs of, and barriers to, movement to another area outweigh any momentum or desire to make the move. (For some data on career satisfaction, exemplified by the chart, left, see the ABA Journal's October 2007 issue.)
The Wall Street Journal has a story today about a lawyer, Katharine Bostick, who made what sounds like a counter-intuitive jump - from chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force for the Pacific Region (previously an assistant U.S. attorney in New York) to Senior Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs - Asia Pacific for Microsoft. The "interview" has a public relations department feel to it (people don't really talk like this, do they?), so I'd say it likely over-emphasizes her work in helping Microsoft combat cyber-crime, but I have no doubt that she means it when she says "I need to ensure that our legal teams are integrated into the business, understand the business and listen to the needs of our business teams."
As I've said before, academic punditry has a way of taking a black-and-white post-hoc view of the relationship of law and business. It's in fact a nuanced interaction in which you are always seeking a reflective equilibrium between the needs of the business and the legal, ethical, and moral strictures. Says Ms. Bostock, "I emphasize that the best way to serve our customers is to win the right way, which doesn't mean winning at any cost."
The real fear is making this jump is usually about transactional skills. I wouldn't suggest that it's easy to go from being a federal prosecutor immediately to doing markups of preliminary prospectuses for initial public offerings. But deal work and corporate work (i.e. governance related), particularly at the in-house supervisory level more often narrows down to three or four big issues - intertwining law and business - on which you quickly come up to speed, and then the question is judgment. That just doesn't differ all that much from area to area. Three instances come to mind: (a) I used to deal with the general counsel of a major auto supplier in the Detroit area. Earlier in his career he had been the prosecuting attorney for one of the less populated counties in central Michigan. (b) At AlliedSignal, I hired somebody who had been a litigator his entire career at Rogers & Wells to be the general counsel of one of our business groups. Eleven years later, he is the general counsel for one of the largest divisions, and one of the most senior lawyers, at Honeywell. (c) George Mitchell. I don't know much about his early career, but he was a judge and then a senator, and somehow developed the skills to be the chairman of the Disney board during and after the Ovitz litigation, and through the transition out of the Eisner era.
The Ohio Supreme Court has proposed new rules that would govern the conduct of suspended and disqualified lawyers. The court's web page summarizes the proposed rule:
"[the rule] would prohibit a disqualified or suspended attorney from direct client contact or handling client funds. In addition, a client must be notified in writing if a disqualified or suspended attorney assists another attorney on a client’s case."
The above link leads to a link to the text of the proposed new rule. Comments are due on or before May 13. (Mike Frisch)
The New Hampshire Supreme Court accepted the recommendation of its Committee on Judicial Conduct and imposed a censure on a superior court judge. In addition, the judge was suspended without pay for three years, an increase from the proposed three-month suspension. The judge was found to have aided her husband in protecting assets from creditors and thus impeding collection of a valid judgment. The judge was also ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding.
A dissent concludes that it is undisputed that the judge had engaged in serious misconduct over an extended period of time and would impose an indefinite suspension without pay. (Mike Frisch)
Sunday, April 20, 2008
The State Bar of California, as announced by this webpage, will hold its 12th annual ethics seminar at University of San Francisco Law School on Sat., May 3, 2008. Its theme is NOTORIETY – When the Spotlight Is on Ethics, and it includes a keynote speech by UC-Irvine's Dean Erwin Chemerinsky (previously at Duke while Nifong was D.A.--that should be interesting); the panel on prosecutorial misconduct includes Mark Garegos. Other panels are on inadvertent disclosure, public lawyers, and rules revisions.
"This program offers up to 6.25 hours of MCLE credit in legal ethics." The price is extremely affordable, ranging from free to $125 including lunch.