Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Krishnan and Macaulay Honor Galanter's Mentoring a Generation of Scholars on the Profession and Social Change

Posted by Alan Childress

Jayanth Krishnan (Wm. Mitchell) and [contracts-in-action legend] Stewart Macaulay (Wisc.) have posted to SSRN their essay, "Toward the Next Generation of Galanter-Influenced Scholars: The Influential Reach of a Law-and-Society Founder."  It is upcoming in Law & Contemp. Probs., introducing a special issue devoted to topics and scholars influenced by Marc Galanter (Wisc.).  Here is their abstract:

To say that Professor Marc Galanter's scholarship is diverse would be a woeful understatement. In his over forty years of writing, Galanter's work has covered topics including (but not limited to) torts, contracts, constitutional law, comparative law, empirical legal studies, the legal profession, legal anthropology, and South Asian studies. With Galanter's scholarship so heavily cited and respected, we see it as only fitting, particularly upon his recently turning seventy-five, to acknowledge his achievements in a symposium that reflects back on the years of his work.

Serving as special editors to an issue forthcoming in the Duke Law School journal, Law and Contemporary Problems, we offer here a short essay that briefly summarizes the various works of the contributors participating in this dedication. Our authors provide a set of papers that cover a range of disciplines: law, sociology, political science, anthropology, history, and philosophy. The works embody Galanter's long-held belief that not only should law be studied in an interdisciplinary manner but that it can be instrumentally used by both elites and grassroots activists to effectuate social change.

The symposium-contributors also share another connection. Each views her or himself to be a student of Galanter's. Some of these students have been directly mentored by Galanter while at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and have since gone on to academic posts at other institutions. Others are more distance-students who have been influenced either while studying elsewhere or while working as academics at different universities. The common link though is that this cohort is part of the next generation of Galanter-influenced scholars who will be carrying-on the lessons of Galanter's vast scholarship for decades to come.

May 21, 2008 in Abstracts Highlights - Academic Articles on the Legal Profession, Law & Society | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mandatory Disclosure of Malpractice Insurance Closer to Rule-Reality in California

Posted by Alan Childress

Mike Frisch had an earlier post in March on the move in California toward requiring disclosure to clients as to whether there is malpractice coverage.  And HALT and the ABA tally states by their protecting clients this way, as I noted in 2006 here

Now, via The Recorder's Dan Levine, reports that the California bar's board of governors "voted 16-4 on Friday to finally approve new rules on coverage disclosure, an issue that's been festering there for two years. Under the compromise -- which still must be approved by the state Supreme Court -- lawyers who expect to bill a client for more than four hours must pipe up if they aren't covered for malpractice."  The governors rejected earlier versions which reached further -- such "proposals included noting a lawyer's insurance status on his or her Bar Web page."

The status of a similar proposal in Virginia [delayed] was noted by Mike here.

May 20, 2008 in Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

No Due Process Violation

The Connecticut Appellate Court affirmed a trial court order of an 18 month suspension of an already suspended attorney for neglect of an employment discrimination case and failure to return an unearned fee. The attorney claimed a violation of due process based on the admission of a transcript at a hearing. The court rejected the claim because the attorney had been provided a full opportunity to cross-examine in the transcript. (Mike Frisch)

May 20, 2008 in Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Perlman on Social Acquiescence to Unethical Conduct

Posted by Alan Childress

Before offering to buy Boston a drink, Andrew Perlman (Suffolk) posted to SSRN his new article (also recently in Hofstra L. Rev.) called "Unethical Obedience by Subordinate Attorneys: Lessons from Social Psychology."   It has already had 57 71 downloads.  Here is his abstract:

This Article explores the lessons that we can learn from social psychology regarding a lawyer's willingness to comply with authority figures, such as senior partners or deep-pocketed clients, when they make unlawful or unethical demands. The Article reviews some of the basic literature in social psychology regarding conformity and obedience, much of which emphasizes the importance of context as a primary factor in predicting people's behavior. The Article then contends that lawyers frequently find themselves in the kinds of contexts that produce high levels of conformity and obedience and low levels of resistance to illegal or unethical instructions. The result is that subordinate lawyers will find it difficult to resist a superior's commands in circumstances that should produce forceful dissent. Finally, the Article proposes several changes to existing law in light of these insights, including giving lawyers the benefit of whistleblower protection, strengthening a lawyer's duty to report the misconduct of other lawyers, and enhancing a subordinate lawyer's responsibilities upon receiving arguably unethical instructions from a superiors.

UPDATE (5/23):  The ABA Journal online here linked to and followed up on the above story, and followed up and added to the ABAJ story here.  Congrats, Andy.

May 20, 2008 in Abstracts Highlights - Academic Articles on the Legal Profession | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Griffith Univ. and Univ. of Queensland (Aus.) To Hold International Ethics Conference Mid-July 2008

"The Third International Legal Ethics Conference will be held on Australia's beautiful Gold Coast on 13-16 July 2008. ... The primary aim of the conference is to provide a forum for informed and lively debate within the various conference themes."  Detailed Information, speakers, and a call for papers are linked here.  Our prior link here to the colorful and printable conference schedule.

Notably for LPB readers:

The conference will be designed to cater for both scholars and legal practitioners, with a designated "practitioners’ day" which will include papers, presentations and discussions of particular relevance to practising lawyers.

The conference themes embrace international perspectives, and will provide delegates709571_csp_my_australia from Australia and abroad with opportunities to hear and share ideas and arguments that have implications for "lawyering" across jurisdictions.

[Alan Childress]

May 20, 2008 in Comparative Professions, Conferences & Symposia, Ethics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

If Nominated I Will Not Run...

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct accepted a stipulation and discontinued a proceeding alleging misconduct against a town court justice. The justice had failed to disqualify himself in a speeding ticket case against his family doctor, engaged in ex parte communication with the defendant and sua sponte granted an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal of the charges. He resigned from office and affirmed he will not seek or accept future judicial office. (Mike Frisch)

May 20, 2008 in Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Andrew Perlman Opens LEF Coffers To Make New Friends

Posted by Alan Childress

Speaking of Suffolk and Legal Ethics Forum (intersected in this previous post), their own Andy Perlman has posted this generous invite to a Thurs. May 29 dinner in a Boston restaurant.  It is for interested bloggers and friends who are in town as part of the ABA meeting in Boston May 28-31. That is the 34th National Aperlman Conference on Professional Responsibility. The conference is to be held at the Seaport Hotel in Boston.  You can approach him by face (<---) at the conference.

I wish I could join him then, especially since dinner is discounted via using LEF ad revenues.  One of the ironies of the google ad sense algorithm that generates some funds for LEF is that slogans for ads can appear randomly and incongrously right next to their substantive posts.  I note that right now displayed next to Andy's post on this dinner are the large words, "Best Kept Secret?"  But anyway that week is also the Law and Society Association's annual meeting; this year it is in Montreal, with several panels on lawyers and the profession.  I will be there and hope to meet some readers and old friends (dutch). 

But, seriously, this is actually very nice of Andy and we salute him.  I hope Jeff goes and blogs on it.

May 20, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Forwarding Address

You get a sense that a disciplinary case may be serious when the return address of the accused attorney is the Federal Correctional Facility at Morgantown, Pennsylvania. (Actually, the return address may be in error as the facility is in West Virginia). The attorney in question was suspended for three years on consent by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He was convicted by a jury of three counts of federal income tax evasion with a tax loss of over $205,000. (Mike Frisch)

May 20, 2008 in Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Prosecution of KPMG Employees By Denying Counsel, and The History of Night Legal Education

Posted by Alan Childress

Two recent items over at TaxProf are worth noting for readers particularly interested in ethics and the legal profession:

1.  Link and abstract for a new article in T.M. Cooley Law Review by Charles Doskow and Kevin Marshall at La Verne, on "the DOJ's conduct with respect to its interference with the right to counsel of KPMG's individually targeted employees. We analyze such conduct from (1) a constitutional perspective; (2) a Kpmg professional-responsibility perspective; and (3) an efficiency perspective..."  It is called Prosecutorial Interference with the Right to Counsel and the KPMG Prosecution, and so far appears only e-available as a Westlaw download.  There were some good posts here (and here) at White Collar Crime Prof Blog by Ellen Podgor (HT to Legal Ethics Forum here) on this issue.  The Judge found the DOJ actions "outrageous and shocking" in interfering with the employees' access to counsel.

2.  Abstract and SSRN info (linked again here) on a new article by Jeff's colleague Michael Rustad at Suffolk, and Thomas Koenig at Northeastern, which is "a social history of the struggles of Boston's nontraditional students to break into the legal profession by studying in evening law schools. Suffolk Evening Law School was founded in 1906 as a counter-hegemonic institution, explicitly dedicated to the democratization of legal education by challenging the pedagogy and recruitment practices of Harvard and the other elite day schools."  It is called A Hard Day's Night: Hierarchy, History & Happiness in Legal Education, and just came out in Syracuse Law Review.

May 20, 2008 in Abstracts Highlights - Academic Articles on the Legal Profession | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Welcome to the Lawyering Blogosphere: International Law Prof Blog

Posted by Alan Childress

The Law Professor Blogs Network, of which our LPB is a member, just added a new blog yesterday which may be of interest to followers of the legal profession:  the International Law Prof Blog.  It is "for professors who teach international law (and for those who are interested in teaching international law, or just keeping current with new issues in international legal education)." You know it is a new blog when early on the morning of its second day it already has eight items posted. One of the them, I noticed (and thanks), mentioned Tulane's summer abroad program.987327_earth Here's a post on careers in international law.

The blog is coedited by Mark Wajcik (John Marshall), Cindy Buys (S. Ill.), and Michael Piel (Wash U.), with contributions by Case Western adjunct Cyndee Cherniak.  The four have a wealth of international law experience -- practice, teaching, and administrative -- and see the coverage as broadly ranging from  private and public international law and human rights to IBT, comparative law, and summer study programs.  Given their experiences (and the kind of prof who would read it, often wearing many hats at their law schools), I hope they will include teaching foreign students in the U.S. and news or ideas about such LL.M. programs, including chat about the difficult legal writing compenent of it and orientation programs.  And of course if they post on items about other legal professions, practice and licensing across borders, or other matters showing that lawyers and ethical rules vary around the world, I hope they let us know and let us link them.

For joining the uncrowded blawgworld, and for being so internationally, the blog deserves the immortal words of Lili Von Schtupp: "Velcomen, bienvenue, velcome, come on in."

Update:  While I am on the subject of international law, I noticed that Brian Leiter has reported that Tulane has hired EU- and comparative- law expert Dr. Jorg Fedtke away from University College London; Leiter describes it as "a very good appointment for Tulane."  This follows a year after renowned comparativist and award-winning teacher James Gordley joined the Tulane faculty from his chair at Berkeley.  Another velcomen is due, Jorg.

May 20, 2008 in Blogging, Comparative Professions, Teaching & Curriculum | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tardy Judge Reprimanded

The Ohio Supreme Court reprimanded a judge of the Sandusky County Court of Common Pleas for "allowing six civil cases to languish in his court for an inordinate amount of time." The neglected matters involved family law and tort cases. The court also took judicial notice of case-management statistics for a nine-year period. The stats were particularly damning in contested divorces: "By  failing to efficiently  resolve the cases before him, respondent left the parties referred to...and many others in legal limbo, often for a period of years." The court characterized its decision to sanction solely for foot-dragging was one of first impression" and considered the impending end of the judge's term in office and his hiring of a law clerk in imposing reprimand. A dissent would remand for a hearing rather than on a consent to discipline basis. (Mike Frisch)

May 20, 2008 in Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Not Ineffective Assistance

A criminal defense lawyer does not render ineffective assistance of counsel by asking a question that elicits unfavorable testimony. The cross-examination brought out an identification that the prosecutor had not gotten on direct examination. This morning, in an opinion by the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the court concluded that:

When unfavorable information is inadvertently elicited, a trial counsel's performance will not fall below the boundaries of acceptable professional conduct where counsel was attempting to elicit favorable information.  State v. Pretty, 134 N.C. App. 379, 390, 517 S.E.2d 677, 685 (1999) (Greene, J., concurring) (concluding that where evidence presented supports the inquiry, there will be no finding of ineffective assistance of counsel). Here, defendant's counsel was attempting to elicit a favorable non- identification by Moore. Defense counsel had ample reason to pursue such a course: During the State's direct examination of Moore, Moore had testified that he had not previously known either man that he encountered in the rear of building, and only provided a description of the men that had robbed and assaulted him -- that one man was of darker complexion than the other and that both were roughly the same height. The State did not have Moore make an in- court identification of defendant. Thereafter, defendant's counsel made a tactical choice to question Moore about his ability to identify defendant as the perpetrator of the crimes. Given Moore's testimony on direct examination, it was not unreasonable for defense counsel to conclude that Moore would likely be unable to identify defendant and to pursue the line of questioning quoted above. Accordingly, we hold that defendant's counsel's performance did not fall below an objective standard of reasonableness.

(Mike Frisch)

May 20, 2008 in The Practice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Best Old Cigarette Ads and Zoo Warnings

Posted by Alan Childress

The legal profession is big on warnings and disclaimers, of course, as witnessed by our prior posts 07 and 06 about whacky product warnings brought to you by lawyers.  Updating that notion, the 2spare site shows, among other things, the best old print ads for cigarettes (many featuring physician testimonials, or Santa pushing Camels)A183_z5 and the top ten zoo warning signs.

The site also has "Elementary, my dear Watson" and other Famous Misquotations, as well as nine clever business cards (worthy, I add, of the comparions made at the beginning of American Psycho).

Finally, consider its ten clever protest signs and the 15 worst book covers.

May 19, 2008 in Blogging | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

'Wii Fit' Makers Apologize For Game That Called a Girl Fat

I would have demanded an apology sooner if I had known Nintendo would be so compliant.  Long before Wii Fit, I swear that Mario and Luigi have been gratuitously stage-whispering that I am "morbidly obese" for years. Maybe I should quit getting my parenting and validation from a video game maker.  Or have BMI measured by a doctor instead of a nunchuck controller.  Nah.  [Alan Childress]

May 19, 2008 in Blogging | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

'Ethics of Email' CLE Offered by D.C. Bar on June 11

Speaking of metadata disasters, the District of Columbia Bar will hold a 2-hour ethics program about emails on Wed. evening, June 11, 2008 (scroll down to 6/11). Topics include  confidentiality, metadata scrubbing, document retention, and  outsourcing.  [Alan Childress]

May 19, 2008 in CLE | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legal Ethics in Financial Services: CLE in New York City June 3

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, SIFMA, offers a 2-hour CLE Legal Ethics Workshop on Tues., June 3, 2008, in New York City.  It focuses on ethical considerations for in-house counsel.  Program and speakers here. [Alan Childress]

May 19, 2008 in CLE | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Not Too Late to Study Abroad in Greece and the Greek Isles Via Tulane Law's Summer School

Posted by Alan Childress
Although Tulane's summer school program June 22-July 11 on the beautiful and car-free Isle of Spetses is almost full, I believe there are a few spots still open.  And there are openings in either of the Rhodes programs before and after Spetses, starting June 1.  Not too late to book a trip and attend for three-week sessions in these playful and historic islands.  I noticed that the Athens Hotel_04_view_3airfares just came down a lot, likely filling last minute seats.  (Search  I teach "Comparative Legal Professions" in Spetses and have posted some pics on my website.  Here is the Spetses Hotel where the Spetses program takes place -- nicest people in the world.  Its restaurant (meals are included) looks out, left, on palms and sea.

If you go to the first Rhodos session, be sure to take classes from such teaching legends as Thanassi Yiannopoulos, Robert Force, Gunther Handl, and Martin Davies.  In Spetses, book my 8:00 a.m. classBest_panorama (there is always siesta time later) or -- if you must -- a later one taught by all-stars Mark Wessman, John Kozyris, or Anastasia Alexiou.  The view from your room's balcony?  Shown right (click to enlarge).

May 19, 2008 in Comparative Professions | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Useful Sites To Avoid Grading

Posted by Alan Childress
(Cross-posted in an email from me to my gmail account and back again)

I once saw an ad, for real, in the Berkeley student newspaper, touting "Procrastination Workshop.  Pre-registration required."  The great site electronic ephemera has some website rewards for the procrastinator in you, handy during this should-be-grading season.  Instead of pondering the fine line between mediocre and unimpressive (since the extremes grade themselves), you can:

--Aggregate your web accounts in one place, PageOnce.  Or use FuzzFind to combine social tagging with bookmarking to search better, whatever the hell that means.
--Create a logo at logoease.  Self-logoing is so emo.
--Follow 400 European newspapers online, constantly updated, at eufeeds.
--Learn to speak "12 year old" with a translator algorithm of kids' text messaging.  GROWNG OLD SUX BTW.
--Search the criminal trials of the Old Bailey, 1647-1913, "containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court."  The world of ordinary people, organized online.
--Play Pictionary-esque games online with complete strangers.  Yes, that really is a tree.
--Watch an online, live astral observatory from your sofa.  Also see Google Sky.  I named that one after917258_rich_star_field you, baby.
--Read all of Hammurabi's Code of Laws.  Little is said there about torturing while painstakingly not calling it that.
--Start a fire without matches, nine ways.  Preferably not at Jeff's vacation house by the lake.
--Track the details of the startling truth that Captain Kirk did not actually have sex very often, despite legend (only four to possibly seven times in 80 episodes).  That is like over four and a half years, and a bazillion light-years of travel.  Should have gone to Key West!  As Columbus was really trying to do.
--Search and track all 50 states simultaneously for pending and introduced bills, including key word and number searches.  Could be a valuable resource for dedicated policy wonks and law professors, or just tell your law review editor to use it to fill out footnote 8.  Also, search the Library of Congress.
--Use this dress code engine not to arrive dressed inappropriately, this time by accident.
Or just grade the damn exams already.

May 19, 2008 in Blogging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cautionary Tale of Leaving the "Track Changes" Unaccepted. Or, I Never Metadata I Didn't Like

Posted by Alan Childress

From the law-tech website The Connected Lawyer comes an abject lesson in leaving metadata or similar residual thoughts intact when sending a document to a client, opposing counsel, or partner down the hall. (Our posts here, here, and here -- and Legal Ethics Forum here and here -- on the inconsistent ethics737931_winter_footprints rules in varying jurisdictions over mining metadata and inadvertent disclosure.)   In this particular case, it was a business plan of a start-up sent out without accepting Word's "Track Changes" (way more stupid than forgetting to scrub true metadata), leaving splayed some marginal comments for readers to enjoy, like:

  • “When you talk through this point on your slides, make Chanukah jokes, he is Jewish and will get them.”
  • “I’d delete this section since we don’t have these features on the roadmap and haven’t figured out how to code this unless you believe the investors won’t catch this.”
  • “VCs are typically stupid when it comes to this section so be prepared for a dumb question blizzard.”

The Connected Lawyer links and credits this post, which in turn links lots of other cautionary tales and examples. (Originally the above problem was noticed by this VC/venture capitalist.) We have some other classic horror stories in our own prior post on the subject.  Here is a resource of bad examples, good examples, and how to remove Track Changes in MSWord.

May 19, 2008 in The Practice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ALI-ABA To Hold "Legal Ethics & Lawyer Websites" CLE By Phone Or Web On June 4

It's a one-hour remote CLE program on lawyer websites and blogging, and their ethical implications.  It earns 1 to 1.2 ethics MCLE credits.  It will be held live on Wed., June 4, 2008, 1:00 eastern.  Topics include domain names, solicitation issues with third-party sites and chatrooms, and multijurisdictional practice issues.  [Alan Childress]

May 19, 2008 in CLE | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)