Category Archives: Ethics

New Jersey Casino: Contingent fees are not for everyone

New Jersey sued Exxon Mobil for billions in environmental damages, using a private law firm, which gets a big piece of the taxpayers’ pie, even though the state has plenty of lawyers of its own who are paid much less.  … Continue reading

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Lying Detectors: California polygraphs sex offenders for “dangerousness”

The intersection of science and the law is a confused place:  Lawyers used to bending facts and law to suit their clients often cannot tell real science from quackery and many scientists get their understanding of the law and court … Continue reading

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Search and Destroy: How lawyers aspire to unmask and sue negative online comments

In the good old days of the internet, everyone thought they were free to say what was on their mind, and share it with the world.  As many people pursued pornography, recipes, Star Trek trivia, and so on, there were … Continue reading

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The Retention Dance: Law firm claims duty to forward potential client’s inquiry to his employer

Nearly all law firms now have websites, which are primarily marketing tools to impress potential clients.  I suppose some firms would say their websites are not looking for business, they are just “informational,” whatever that means, but that’s certainly how … Continue reading

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Talking to Yourself: Lawyer discourages overcommunication with needy clients

Legal problems make many clients nervous — even if it’s something minor than can easily afford.  The whole legal process, including lawyers and courts and so on, just makes you worry. And the superior, condescending attitude of many lawyers, even … Continue reading

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Bailing Out: Malpractice defense lawyers recommend bailing on difficult clients

Many legal malpractice cases are based on snap judgments gone wrong, perhaps during a trial or other court appearance.  A failure to object at a key time or making a mistake in an argument might qualify for this.  Others have … Continue reading

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Bill or Else: Managing partner threatens to fire late billers, the day before Thanksgiving

Lawyers who bill by the hour need to keep track of their hours, which means writing them down (or entering them, including details of what was done), so the firm can issue timely bills to clients, usually monthly.  As you’d … Continue reading

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Sticks and Stones: State court sanctions lawyer for comments about agency judge

In the name of avoiding criticism by lawyers that might undermine respect for the legal system, lawyers sometimes lose normal First Amendment rights to comment about legal issues, including judges, because they may be subject to ethical sanctions for making … Continue reading

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As The Bar Turns: California Bar fires director, director sues Bar

A few weeks ago, the California Bar took the extreme step of firing its executive director — who is usually the top employee and “CEO” of a bar organization.  Usually the executive director reports to a bar’s board, which is … Continue reading

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Do As They Say: Bar officials flunk basic spreadsheet skills

One of the functions performed by the state bar organizations in the US is to administer the process of licensing new lawyers.  This has anti-competitive implications because many bars also act as the trade association for lawyers — fewer newer … Continue reading

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