Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fiduciary Conflicts

North Dakota has amended its Rule 1.8 (prohibited transactions) to add a provision governing lawyers who act as a fiduciary of an estate, trust or conservatorship . The pertinent addition reads as follows:

(l) Neither a lawyer serving as a fiduciary of an estate, trust, or conservatorship nor the lawyer's firm may serve as legal counsel for the fiduciary. This paragraph does not apply to matters in which the decedent, trustor, beneficiary, or protected person is a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, or sibling of the lawyer.

The new provision has the following explanatory comment:

[22] Paragraph (l) addresses situations in which a lawyer may be asked to serve as both a fiduciary for an estate, trust, or conservatorship and as legal counsel for the requesting party. Situations in which a lawyer serves in both capacities represent a conflict of interest and present, whether by design or default, opportunities for overreaching, misappropriation, or other exploitation of the dual capacity relationship. The relationship of trust and confidence between lawyer and client and with respect to the lawyer as fiduciary generally requires that a lawyer not serve in both capacities. The prohibition in paragraph (l) would not apply to those situations in which there is a familial relationship between the lawyer and the decedent, trustor, beneficiary, or protected person.

The full amended rule is linked here. (Mike Frisch)

May 30, 2009 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

An Invitation From The Center For The Study Of the Legal Profession At Georgetown

The Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law cordially invites you to attend the inaugural Lecture on the Legal Profession delivered by Theodore Schneyer, Milton O. Riepe Professor of Law, University of Arizona, speaking on the topic of “Developments in the UK and Australia: How Might They Affect the Regulation of Legal Practice in the United States?”


Monday, April 20, 2009, at 4:00 p.m., in the Gewirz Student Center, 12th Floor, 120 F Street, N.W., Washington, DC.


Please RSVP by April 10th to


The Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law is devoted to: promoting interdisciplinary scholarship on the profession informed by awareness of the dynamics of modern practice; providing students with a sophisticated understanding of the opportunities and challenges of a modern legal career; and furnishing members of the bar, particularly those in organizational decision-making positions, broad perspectives on trends and developments in practice.



March 26, 2009 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Conference on Empirical Research on the Legal Profession


[posted by Bill Henderson]

Thanks to the Georgetown Center for the Study of the Legal Profession and the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, on March 3, 2009, GULC will be holding another major conference on the empirical research on the legal profession.  As always, the public is welcomed to attend.  Details online here.

One of the best features of the Georgetown conferences is the intense interaction between the academics and the practitioners -- both groups learn a lot and really enjoy the experience.  Over the years, the Center has generated a loyal following within the DC Bar. 

Congrats to Carole Silver, Mitt Regan, Jeff Bauman, and the editors of the Georgetown Journal on Legal Ethics for putting together a wonderful program.

January 27, 2009 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tulane Symposium on Side Effects of States' DOMAs: Feb. 13, 2009

Posted by Alan Childress
A cutting-edged Tulane law journal offers a Friday the 13th conference on an interesting subject.  That is also a great weekend to see New Orleans -- lots of great parades (days and nights) and fun during the weekend before the weekend before Fat Tuesday.  And for the hook for this site, there is also an ethics CLE hour Symposiummagnetsamplelg included.  Great speakers from all over the USA.  So here is the announce:

The Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality will be hosting a symposium on Friday, February 13 at Tulane Law School in New Orleans: Beyond Marriage: The Broader Implications and Unforeseen Consequences of State Defense of Marriage Acts. The symposium will focus on the legal ramification of the state Defense of Marriage Acts, and panelists will include esteemed law professors and practitioners working in this area. The program offers 6 CLE units including 1 hour of ethics.

More information, including a PDF brochure, can be found hereRegistration for the symposium is here.

January 13, 2009 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

NOBC and APRL To Hold Mid-Year Meetings in Boston Feb. 11-14

Boston is lovely in mid-February.  This announcement from NOBC, the National Organization of Bar Counsel website: "The 2009 Mid-Year Meeting will be held at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston from February 11-14, 2009."  Info and registration coming soon to the site, under the "members' tab."

The Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, or APRL, also holds its winter meeting nearby each year.  Theirs is Feb. 12-14, 2009, so that leaves one extra day to enjoy the winter sights.  Here is the link.  Their meetings will be at the MCLE Conference Center, at 10 Winter Place, except for the joint morning program with NOBC held at the Colonnade Hotel on Feb. 14.  Accommodations are at the Jurys Hotel in Back Bay.  Here is the program agenda.

Downdate:  The two camps will meet by canoe across the Charles for the winner-take-all Annual Ethics Elympic Games on which the good guys' continued ownership of the camp inexplicably hinges.  It is predicted that the Aprl Zeals will take the egg-tossing event and the SOX race, but the Nobc Naughtybusters will come back strong in both the third-handed race and the tug-of-warrant.  The inevitable tie will be broken by a cross-country race where a now middle-aged and paunchy Wudy the Wabbit Esq., inspired by coach Bill 'Tripper' Murray, hopes to get the jump yet again on his more athletic opponent, this time in an obscene obstacle course through the Green Zone.  Have fun, all.

[Alan Childress]

December 21, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Final Links and Resources From Harvard's Conference on Globalization of the Legal Profession

Harvard Law School's Program on the Legal Profession has put up a useful webpage organizing sessions and materials presented at its intensive Nov. 21 conference.  Links to conference materials are included, and for several sessions you can view their presentations (see their webpage near the bottom for these links).  Also linked and credited (twice) is Jeff Lipshaw's own live blogging of the event, all as organized at a final post Jeff helpfully provided.  [Alan Childress]

December 6, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Follow Up to Globalization Program - New York Times Piece

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

Unfortunately, my posts from the Harvard Law School Program on the Globalization of the Legal Profession had to end at about 1:00 p.m.  I could not stay for the lunch talks by Detlev Vagts, Elena Kagan, and Ben Heineman, nor the after-lunch program moderated by David Wilkins on outsourcing of legal work to India.

As a follow-up of sorts, the New York Times has a long piece today on U.S. associates in big firms going overseas. 

Here are links back to the live blogging from Friday, November 21:

Globalization of the Legal Profession I
Globalization of the Legal Profession II
Globalization of the Legal Profession III
Globalization of the Legal Profession IV
Globalization of the Legal Profession V

November 23, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia, Law Firms | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Globalization of Law Practice - V

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

The next panel is on Lawyer Qualification and Professional Responsibility in the Global Setting.

U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns (D. Mass.) is speaking, and talking about the fact that he carries a diplomatic passport.  Russia had a pre-Revolution jury system based on the English system, abolished by Lenin in 1917, and reconstituted in the 1991 constitution.  He was involved in helping the Russian Federation with that effort.

He's also been involved with the international regimes for border security and WMD, using traditional judicial institutions.  Everything changed with 9/11.  Impulses to reject any international regime, spurred on recent economic problems - rise of nationalism and protectionism.

What does this have to do with lawyer regulation?  The question is whether the international legal regime will survive at all.      

[UPDATE:  All Jeff's posts on live-blogged sessions are collected and linked at a final post. This later-session post continues after the jump.]

Continue reading

November 21, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Globalization of Law Practice - IV

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

We're back and in the second panel on the regulatory framework in which the globalized legal profession operates.  We are getting background on the WTO and GATS from Todd Nissen, who is the Director, Services Trade Negotiations, Office of the US Trade Representative.

Bottom line:  there isn't much progress in developing "open markets" in legal services (from a regulatory standpoint). Nor has there been much progress on cross-border transparency of domestic regulation of legal services.


- Services more complicated than goods.

- Goods can all jump together; services want "proper sequencing."

- Limited leverage over the markets.

- Wide range of legal traditions

- Territorially defined regulation

- Independence of the judiciary

- Classification issues

Continue reading

November 21, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Globalization of Law Practice - III

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

Peter Kalis, of K&L Gates.  Interesting.  Very similar to my own beginnings.  Kirkpatrick & Lockhart was a 80 person firm in Pittsburgh; my firm Dykema was a 100 person firm in Detroit in the late 1970s.  K&L Gates is now 1,700 lawyers in 28 countries.

He's talking about how odd law firm management and leadership is.  Leaders of the firm kind of accede to their positions.  Mature profession/industry; "elevator assets;" the differentiators are people, brand, technology, and management.  Scale and scope matter.

In financial performance among big law firms, bigger is better.  If you want to run with the big dog, you have to be in London, Paris, Brussels, Hong Kong.  Top 50 firms have more offices there than in Los Angeles.

The mother ship and satellite model is changing.  US firms really have a three continent strategy; not clear that the UK firms do (with their limited number of US outposts).  The percentage of work originated in one office and performed in another is increasing and that's what drives innovation.

November 21, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Globalization of Law Practice - II

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

Trevor Faure now speaking; he's the European GC for Tyco.  He's a British barrister but not wearing his wig and gown.

Like most in-house lawyers in my experience, me included, he's taking a business approach that may or may not resonate with the audience here:  law is a commodity that is bought and sold around the world all in the pursuit of return on invested capital that may come from anywhere in the world.  Ivy covered walls, whether in the Inns of Court or the HLS (actually there's no ivy here), are NOT the driver of globalized big law.

He's showing an organizational chart that puts law as one small part of operating a business.  Yup.  He's also showing a three-legged stool as it were of legal coverage versus how much it costs to have it netted against how much it costs not to have it.  Consistent with my own experience:  e.g. if it is a contract for less than $X, and it is terminable in less than a year, YOYO (you're on your own).

Really good model of the problem of balancing (or optimizing) coverage versus head count versus consequence.  He's using a lot of business management tools, polarity matrices, Six Sigma gap analysis, things about which our young lawyers, not to mention many long time big law partners, have no clue.

November 21, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Live Blogging the Harvard Conference: Globalization of Law Practice

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

The first panel is an overview of law firm globalization with James Jones of Hildebrandt, Trevor Faure, the European GC for Tyco International, and Peter Kalis, the managing partner of K&L Gates.

Jones starts with an overview of globalization generally, and making the point that it impacts all law firms of any size, even though the program is on large firms that have themselves globalized.

The trend started with outpost "ex-pat" offices in Europe, mainly Brussels, but today US and other firms have become truly global, with the primary form being national offices staffed by nationals, not US ex-pats doing US law.

Pretty stable number of US firms with international offices over the last ten years, but huge increase in the numbers of offices per firm and the number of lawyers.

[UPDATE:  All Jeff's posts on live-blogged sessions are collected and linked at a final post. This first-session post continues after the jump.]

Continue reading

November 21, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Live Blogging From Harvard Program on Globalization of the Legal Profession

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

I am sitting in the Ropes & Gray Room in Pound Hall at Harvard Law School, next to Bill Henderson, attending a day-long program on the globalization of the legal profession.  Right now, Dr. David Nersessian, the executive director of the Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession is giving an overview of the day, which will include a keynote address from Ben Heineman, the former GC of GE, and talks by David Wilkins, Elena Kagan, and other luminaries.  Bill just said, hey, why don't you live blog?  And that's what I'm going to.

November 21, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Globalization of the Legal Profession

[by Bill Henderson, crossposted to the ELS Blog]

For anyone interested in the  economic and political forces that are reshaping the legal profession, here is an event that you need to attend.  On Friday, November 21, the Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession and the American Society of International Law are sponsoring a conference entitled "The Globalization of the Legal Profession."  Conference registration is free, but space is limited. Details are online here.

Back in April, the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at GULC put on a conference entitled the "Future of the Global Law Firm." Similar to upcoming program at Harvard, speakers included academics, practitioners, clients, and allied professionals.  The shared sense of rapid and major structural change was palpable.    I consider the upcoming program an important extension of that conversation. 

Further, as I reflect on the proliferation of so-called "global law schools" in China and India, which are being set up to serve major US and UK legal employers (and a topic at the HLS event), I am convinced that globalization will eventually reshape the  American legal education system. Now is the time to plan; in ten years, the majority of law schools could be in the uneviable position of reacting to a major structure change.

November 6, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Conference Announcement: Using Empirical Data in Jury Trials

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

My colleague and suite-mate, Mike Rustad, is co-chairing "Successful Strategies for Jury Trials," a day-longVidmarn conference to be held at the Suffolk University Law School here in the heart of downtown Boston on Friday, V_hans October 24, 2008.  The panels will include state and federal judges, distinguished trial lawyers, and two of the leading academics in jury research, Professor Valerie Hans (left) of the Cornell Law School, and Neil Vidmar (right) of the Duke Law School.  Take a look at the brochure:  the topics will include how to conduct pretrial jury management in light of empirical research, the best trial strategies, insights into how juries make decisions, how juries perceive experts, and the role of jury consultants.

Highly recommended.  Enroll while it's hot!

August 22, 2008 in CLE, Conferences & Symposia, Teaching & Curriculum, The Practice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Symposium Opportunity: Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics

[posted by Bill Henderson]

During the upcoming academic year, the Georgetown Center for the Study of the Legal Profession and the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics will be co-hosting a symposium on current trends and issues confronting lawyers and law firms. The organizers are particularly interested in work that provides insight into the dynamics of modern practice through the use of qualitative or quantitative empirical research methods. In the spring of 2009, the papers will be presented to a combined academic and practitioner audience at Georgetown University Law Center (travel and lodging paid for by symposium organizers). Researchers interested in participating should submit a working title of the proposed paper/study to Professor Mitt Regan ( and Editor-in-Chief Matt Smith ( by August 1, 2008. A draft of accepted papers will be due by October 30th; completed drafts will be due by November 30th. Please contact the symposium organizers with any additional questions.

July 7, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Call for Papers: International Journal on the Legal Profession

[Posted by Bill Henderson]

The International Journal on the Legal Profession has issued a call for papers on the topic "Impact of Legal Change on Legal Practitioners."  Here are the details:

The International Journal of the Legal Profession invites submissions for a symposium on how legal changes impact the day-to-day work of legal practitioners. The types of issues that would be appropriate for articles includes how legal change impacts such things as the market for specialized legal practices, lawyers’ decision making practices about which cases to pursue, the way lawyers handle specific types of cases, or how lawyers work with experts; these topics are meant to be suggestive not exhaustive. More specific examples in the U.S.context would include the impact of tort reform, the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005, changes in immigration law in the wake of 9/11, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and the Class Action Fairness Act 2005. Examples of legal changes in the UK that might be considered are The Companies Acts, Charity Act 2006 and Legal Services Act 2007. While the examples are drawn from the U.S.and the U.K., submissions dealing with the impact of legal change on legal practice in other countries is strongly encouraged.

The symposium editor will be Professor Herbert Kritzer, William Mitchell College of Law ( Authors who have questions about whether their work would be appropriate for the symposium should contact Professor Kritzer.

More information after the jump:

Continue reading

June 25, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Debriefing on the ISBA Solo & Small Firm Conference

[posted by Bill Henderson]

Last week, I attended the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) Solo & Small Firm Conference.  I first started attending this event back in 2004 when I was preparing to teach my course on The Law Firm as a Business Organization.   (In fact, the first year I attended the "boot camp" for lawyers who want to open their own practice.)

It is often said by practicing lawyers that law school does not prepare students to practice law.  Within the law school environment, this is commonly interpreted as lack of practical skills training.  Thus, externships, clinics and skills courses are often cited as the solution. Yet, my regular attendance at the  ISBA Solo & Small Firm Conference has given me a different gauge to understand where we come up short. And frankly, I think the gap between law school and practice is often about something much more fundamental and human.   

For example, this year (like every year), some touchstones of success included: 

  1. Listening to clients--it is amazing (a) how unnatural this skill is for most lawyers and (b) how it can revolutionize your career if you learn how to do it.
  2. Updating your client monthly with a (free) status report--well-informed clients are usually more satisfied, less likely to complain, more likely to pay the bill, and more likely to refer business.
  3. Leveraging technology to increase office efficiency, including the importance of paying for high-quality training--few people are more tech-savvy than the solo and small firm crowd.  Why?  It is really a matter of financial survival.   
  4. Learning to say "no" to matters outside your area of competency or to a client who has unrealistic expectations--which is extremely hard to do when you are experiencing cash flow problems.  Yet, in small firm practice, poor judgment has serious and potentially irreversible financial consequences.
  5. The importance of networking, reputation, and not being a jerk--the most successful small firm lawyers enjoy relationships with people as an end in themselves.  And from these relationships flow tremendous referral business.

None of these "skills" are taught or even signaled as important in law school.   Indeed, with the large tilt in law schools toward professors with large law firm experience--and virtually all as associates rather than equity partners--it is likely that we law professors undervalue the importance of commonsense and practical judgment in building a successful career.  (How many of us could meet a payroll twice a month?  What a daunting prospect!) Law schools supposedly teach students how to think like a lawyer, but this often takes the form of an appellate lawyer who manipulates the law under a fixed set of facts--with the most proficient having a shot at becoming a law professor. But in my observation, this is a extremely truncated view of how lawyers add value to clients and ultimately earn a living.   

In sum, I want to go on record with my admiration of many solo & small firm lawyers who juggle a wide array of difficult client problems with such good humor and grace.  They also provide concrete evidence that professionalism and integrity are the cornerstones of successful and happy careers.   That is a message I hope to convey to my students.  I am immensely grateful to the ISBA Solo & Small Firm Conference for once again giving me the opportunity to learn more about the lives of lawyers.

June 10, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

Monday, June 2, 2008

New Ethics Journal Edition Out

The Spring 2008 edition of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics is now available. Included are articles and a transcript of the Journal's 2007 symposium on corporate counsel. The articles are authored by Sarah Helene Duggin, Sung Hui Kim and Tanina Rostain. There are also articles from Dzeinkowski & Peroni on lawyer referrals to non-lawyer conflicts of interest, Lebovits, Curtin & Solomon on ethical judicial opinion writing, and (near and dear to me) an article on New Jersey's permanent disbarment rule by James R. Zazzali, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Special kudos to my former student and Journal Editor-in-Chief Tonio D. DeSorrento and Geoffrey R. Thompson for their conversation on derivatives-based innovation in the legal profession and capital markets. (Mike Frisch)

June 2, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gallagher to Present at L&S on How IP Lawyers Do Their Work

There will be many good panels on the legal profession and ethics that are set to appear at Law & Society Montreal next week, about which Legal Ethics Forum posted extensive guiding comments, including John Steele's talk on retainer agreements.  Also look for a paper to be presented May 29 by William T. Gallagher (Golden Gate, shown left as Clark Kent), reporting "the results of a study of the everyday Gallagherw lawyering practices of attorneys who enforce intellectual property rights in copyright and trademark cases." ..."perhaps over-enforce." Such devices as SLAPP suits and cease and desist letters will be considered.  The presentation is Strategic Intellectual Property Litigation in Copyright and Trademark Cases

Bill's panel on culture and IP practice also features the always-fascinating Susan Scafidi (SMU, visiting Fordham, shown right in always-apt pearls), whose blogging on culture and fashion Scafidi_2 including knock-offs [Counterfeit Chic] is widely read by both lawyers and fashionistas (Vogue-pawers and even accounting types who follow the big business of fashion production, marketing, and insignia).  Scafidi authored the book Who Owns Culture?  I wonder what her chic blog would say about my sister-in-law's dress design being knocked off by Forever 21...

[Alan Childress]

May 22, 2008 in Conferences & Symposia, Law & Society, The Practice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)