Overlawyered » ethics http://overlawyered.com Chronicling the high cost of our legal system Mon, 27 Apr 2015 09:29:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 “Why Were None of the Righthaven Lawyers Disciplined?” http://overlawyered.com/2015/04/why-were-none-of-the-righthaven-lawyers-disciplined/ http://overlawyered.com/2015/04/why-were-none-of-the-righthaven-lawyers-disciplined/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 04:05:57 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=52487 The courts themselves reacted vigorously against the legal shenanigans of a copyright-mill mass filing enterprise built on the IP rights of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Nevada bar discipline authorities, however, didn’t: “disciplinary matters have a higher standard of proof than almost all civil matters in a judicial setting.” [Nicole Hyland, Orange County Register, earlier] Tags: […]

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The courts themselves reacted vigorously against the legal shenanigans of a copyright-mill mass filing enterprise built on the IP rights of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Nevada bar discipline authorities, however, didn’t: “disciplinary matters have a higher standard of proof than almost all civil matters in a judicial setting.” [Nicole Hyland, Orange County Register, earlier]

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Legal ethics issues raised in Better Call Saul http://overlawyered.com/2015/03/legal-ethics-issues-raised-in-better-call-saul/ http://overlawyered.com/2015/03/legal-ethics-issues-raised-in-better-call-saul/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 10:03:32 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=52128 An ongoing series by Nicole Hyland at Legal Ethics Forum (spoilers, earlier). Tags: ethics, humor, movies film and videos

Legal ethics issues raised in Better Call Saul is a post from Overlawyered - Chronicling the high cost of our legal system

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An ongoing series by Nicole Hyland at Legal Ethics Forum (spoilers, earlier).

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When prosecutors collect private grants http://overlawyered.com/2015/03/private-grants-to-assist-prosecution/ http://overlawyered.com/2015/03/private-grants-to-assist-prosecution/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 05:15:20 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=51756 In Altoona, Pa., a private philanthropic group assisted by local businesses has funneled millions of dollars to local prosecutors to go after illegal drug cases [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette] Leaders of the group, called Operation Our Town, “said they don’t pressure prosecutors, and only publish the annual arrest and prosecution numbers as a way to raise funds.” […]

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In Altoona, Pa., a private philanthropic group assisted by local businesses has funneled millions of dollars to local prosecutors to go after illegal drug cases [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette] Leaders of the group, called Operation Our Town, “said they don’t pressure prosecutors, and only publish the annual arrest and prosecution numbers as a way to raise funds.” Still, the practice sheds light on the changing status of privately assisted prosecutions, which were common in the Nineteenth Century but then came under an ethical cloud:

“It’s pretty much disappeared, in part because we want disinterested prosecutors who answer to the public, and not to individuals,” said Bruce A. Green, director of the Stein Center for Law and Ethics at Fordham University in New York.

Decisions by courts in California and Tennessee, among other places, have disapproved of private subsidies to prosecutors in cases where private parties had themselves been victimized by a crime or wanted to see more enforcement of obscenity laws. On the other hand, insurance and banking industry financial participation in efforts to investigate crimes like insurance fraud and bank robbery is widely accepted, although some trial lawyers have raised questions about insurers’ role.

In Key West, Fla., last year, nonprofit groups steered funds to underwrite a local prosecutor assigned to handle drunken driving cases. The arrangement died after defense attorney Jiulio Margalli sued, saying it violated state law.

“Do you want the motivation to be justice,” asked Mr. Margalli, “or do you want the motivation of the prosecutor to be a guilty verdict so that that [office] could continue to receive funding from the organization who paid them?”

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March 4 roundup http://overlawyered.com/2015/03/march-4-roundup-3/ http://overlawyered.com/2015/03/march-4-roundup-3/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 05:05:23 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=51838 “Woman who lost $500K calls ex-lawyer’s 5-year sentence for stealing $10M ‘a joke'” [Alabama; Martha Neil, ABA Journal] Canada: “Mom Lost Custody After She Left Her Kid Alone at Home for 90 Minutes” [Lenore Skenazy and Paul Best, Reason] “New British Law Will Call All Sorts of Things ‘Child Abuse.'” [Skenazy] “If I End Up […]

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  • “Woman who lost $500K calls ex-lawyer’s 5-year sentence for stealing $10M ‘a joke'” [Alabama; Martha Neil, ABA Journal]
  • Canada: “Mom Lost Custody After She Left Her Kid Alone at Home for 90 Minutes” [Lenore Skenazy and Paul Best, Reason] “New British Law Will Call All Sorts of Things ‘Child Abuse.'” [Skenazy]
  • “If I End Up On Life Support, My Family Knows The Type Of Long, Protracted Legal Battle I Would Want” [The Onion]
  • Stiff training mandates for new drivers? Don’t be surprised if trainers develop into lobby in favor of keeping program going [Maggie Thurber, Ohio Watchdog, thanks for quote]
  • “Law prof’s Garlock testimony details asbestos lawyers’ change in strategy” [Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine on Lester Brickman analysis] Plus, new ATRA website on asbestos litigation abuse;
  • “BakerHostetler 2014 Year-End Review of Class Actions (and what to expect in 2015)” [via Paul Karlsgodt]
  • R.I.P. legal ethicist Monroe Freedman [Washington Post; a 2012 post of his I admired, re: showboat prosecutors]
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    “Activist theater” and the campaign against Judge Edith Jones http://overlawyered.com/2015/02/activist-theater-and-the-campaign-against-judge-edith-jones/ http://overlawyered.com/2015/02/activist-theater-and-the-campaign-against-judge-edith-jones/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 11:11:32 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=51738 Tamara Tabo has some choice things to say following judges’ unanimous rebuff to a bogus ethics complaint against Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones: “Using professional misconduct proceedings to harm an ideological rival is worrisome. …It was weakly supported, politically motivated, self-serving, and opportunistic. It’s dirty pool.” Among jurists on the panel that recommended dismissal of […]

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    Tamara Tabo has some choice things to say following judges’ unanimous rebuff to a bogus ethics complaint against Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones: “Using professional misconduct proceedings to harm an ideological rival is worrisome. …It was weakly supported, politically motivated, self-serving, and opportunistic. It’s dirty pool.” Among jurists on the panel that recommended dismissal of the complaint was respected D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland, a Clinton appointee [Above the Law, opinion] We cast a dubious eye on the allegations earlier here, here, and here.

    Petitioners in the case, to quote the opinion, “include the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); the NAACP (Austin Chapter); the National Bar Association (Dallas Affiliate – J.L. Turner Legal Association); the Texas Civil Rights Project; La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE); legal ethics experts, and law professors specializing in judicial ethics.” They should each reflect upon the costs to an independent judiciary of leveling unsubstantiated allegations for political motives. More: Jonathan Adler.

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    How common a practice is this? http://overlawyered.com/2015/02/common-practice/ http://overlawyered.com/2015/02/common-practice/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 10:24:25 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=51625 Feds charge two California private investigators with hiring hackers to obtain information about litigants in civil suits [ABA Journal] Tags: ethics, lawyering vs. privacy, surveillance

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    Feds charge two California private investigators with hiring hackers to obtain information about litigants in civil suits [ABA Journal]

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    Garlock allegations unsealed http://overlawyered.com/2015/01/garlock-allegations-unsealed/ http://overlawyered.com/2015/01/garlock-allegations-unsealed/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:05:17 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=50919 “U.S. personal injury lawyers allegedly concealed evidence and induced clients to commit perjury to drive up asbestos-related settlements and garner bigger fees, according to lawsuits unsealed on Tuesday in the bankruptcy of a gasket maker.” [Reuters, earlier] My 1998 piece on asbestos witness-coaching is here. Tags: asbestos, ethics

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    “U.S. personal injury lawyers allegedly concealed evidence and induced clients to commit perjury to drive up asbestos-related settlements and garner bigger fees, according to lawsuits unsealed on Tuesday in the bankruptcy of a gasket maker.” [Reuters, earlier] My 1998 piece on asbestos witness-coaching is here.

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    Downfall of a law firm http://overlawyered.com/2015/01/downfall-law-firm/ http://overlawyered.com/2015/01/downfall-law-firm/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 10:43:30 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=50619 Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler was once seen as South Florida’s fastest-growing law firm. Now all three of its name partners are disbarred and serving time in federal prison [Sun-Sentinel, earlier here, here, and here] Tags: ethics, Florida

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    Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler was once seen as South Florida’s fastest-growing law firm. Now all three of its name partners are disbarred and serving time in federal prison [Sun-Sentinel, earlier here, here, and here]

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    The ten-bests continue http://overlawyered.com/2015/01/ten-bests-continue/ http://overlawyered.com/2015/01/ten-bests-continue/#comments Fri, 02 Jan 2015 05:15:58 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=50490 Adding to our list of lists, a few more: John Steele’s top ten legal ethics stories of 2014, National Law Journal via TaxProf’s list of ten legal education stories, and James Beck’s ten best pharmaceutical-law cases from a defense perspective, to go with the earlier list of ten worst. Daniel Schwartz has three predictions about […]

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    Adding to our list of lists, a few more: John Steele’s top ten legal ethics stories of 2014, National Law Journal via TaxProf’s list of ten legal education stories, and James Beck’s ten best pharmaceutical-law cases from a defense perspective, to go with the earlier list of ten worst. Daniel Schwartz has three predictions about labor and employment law (intensifying battles over NLRB; alarm at wave of regulation coming out of the administration; Supreme Court continues to meander and zigzag)

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    “Prosecutors Who Rent Out their Letterhead to Debt Collectors” http://overlawyered.com/2014/11/prosecutors-letterhead-debt-collectors/ http://overlawyered.com/2014/11/prosecutors-letterhead-debt-collectors/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:16:59 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=49329 The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility moves against a dubious practice. “The demand letters are effective at scaring consumers because they are sent on prosecutor letterhead and contain threats of criminal prosecution — threats that no other debt collector could make.” However, they mobilize the prosecutor’s apparent public authority on […]

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    The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility moves against a dubious practice. “The demand letters are effective at scaring consumers because they are sent on prosecutor letterhead and contain threats of criminal prosecution — threats that no other debt collector could make.” However, they mobilize the prosecutor’s apparent public authority on behalf of legal threats which typically the prosecutor has not reviewed individually exercising professional judgment, and they can deceive debtors about the legal status of their claimed obligation. [Deepak Gupta, Consumer Law & Policy; earlier]

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