Federal courts correct bad litigation behavior, eventually.

People take being sued personally, and lawsuits can take an emotional toll on defendants, whether as an individual or as a representative of an employer. Anger and frustration always lead to the same questions: Can we sanction them for lying? Can I get my fees (or my insurance deductible) back? Won’t the court do something?
Continue Reading The Punishing Effect of Rule 11

468453132On April 3, 2016, the public learned that millions of client documents from the Panamanian law firm and corporate services provider Mossack Fonseca & Co. (MF) had made their way to an international organization, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), and that the information would be used to publish potentially damaging stories. In addition, authorities across the globe, from Japan to Switzerland to the United States, are reviewing the documents and investigating potential tax implications, regulatory violations and criminal activity.
Continue Reading What Attorneys Can Learn from History’s Largest Data Breach

EthicsAs we are taught in law school, and as some members of the public find hard to believe, attorneys are held to the highest ethical standards. One of the surest ways for an attorney to secure his or her disbarment is to misappropriate funds. In a December 18, 2014 decision, however, the New Jersey Supreme Court drew a bright line between misappropriation of client funds held in trust and misappropriation of other types of funds – the former mandating disbarment and the latter providing for more flexibility in punishment. In Re Sigman, decided December 18, 2014.

While employed by a law firm in Pennsylvania as an associate, Scott P. Sigman, among other conceded wrongs, kept client fees for himself rather than sharing them with his employer firm as required by the terms of his employment. The Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board recommended a 30-month suspension for this and other violations of the disciplinary rules, and that discipline was subsequently imposed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Continue Reading No Attorney Disbarment In NJ for Misappropriation of Law Firm Funds

ED000047When an attorney is requested to act as “local counsel” by an out-of-state attorney in a new lawsuit, the practical needs of the out-of-state client can be at odds with rules of professional responsibility and local rules that can sometimes expand the duties and responsibilities of local counsel. The client is already paying a lead counsel whom it knows and trusts, and is then asked to retain and pay local counsel as well. Surely, the client is looking to avoid duplication of effort and being charged twice the amount of attorneys’ fees. One court recognized this tension and found that local counsel’s role can appropriately be limited to save expense to the client.

Continue Reading Part 3: Local Counsel: Practical Concerns

lawyer-research115737056TSWhen an attorney is requested to act as “local counsel” by an out-of-state attorney in a new lawsuit, the local counsel may have additional duties that flow from Rules of Civil Procedure or Local Rules that govern lead counsel’s admission pro hac vice. For instance, Alaska R. Civ. P. 81(a)(3) states that “local counsel shall be primarily responsible to the court for the conduct of all stages of the proceedings, and their authority shall be superior to that of attorneys permitted to appear [pro hac vice].”

Continue Reading Part 2: Local Counsel: Duties to the Court