Category Archives: Ethics

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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Unethical Clients: Professional coach advises lawyers to avoid strip clubs

Like most lawyers, I run into people who, upon learning that I’m a lawyer, assume all sorts of things about what I must do for a living, how I think, what’s wrong with me, and so on.  These have a … Continue reading

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Debt to Society: Prosecutors lending official letterhead to debt collectors

People call or email me all the time with situations they think involve unethical or incompetent behavior by lawyers.  Malpractice and unethical conduct are two different things and they are handled very differently — one by the courts (or maybe … Continue reading

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Ceiling, No Floor: Lawyer agreement sets cap, but not floor, on reasonable fee

Even though lawyers are supposed to know how to write a reasonable contract, it’s surprising how many lawyers and law firms don’t have a reasonable contract with their own clients.  I’ve always thought it was a bad sign that the … Continue reading

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Transactional Immunity: Maryland immunizes lawyers designating themselves as estate reps

Lawyers can make really, really bad personal representatives, executors, or trustees to babysit and distribute your money and stuff once you’re gone.  You might think that someone with a law license would be a logical choice to protect your interests … Continue reading

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Watching The Watchdog: State ethics committee member steals $3 million

We’ve noted before the frequency of problems with lawyers who deal with the elderly, or anyone who needs a guardian or has an estate that needs to be watched for them.  Older people often have substantial assets and may have … Continue reading

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DIY Criminal Law: Georgia replacing prisoners’ lawyers with legal database

Picking on unpopular groups, like prisoners, is how some politicians woo votes.   Before every election there is a race to panic the public about non-existent criminal epidemics as an excuse to jack up the sentences, take away judicial discretion, lock … Continue reading

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Psychic-Client Privilege: Lawyer-psychic doubles as psychic-lawyer

One reason why so many clients complain about their legal fees is that, unlike mechanics, plumbers, and doctors, the value of legal services can often be hard to see — it’s ephemeral.  Even the best legal work can look like … Continue reading

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Chumming The Waters: Florida Bar fights $100 charge to support legal aid

In a cartoon by Bob Mankoff, of The New Yorker, three fish consider whether the world is just:  The large fish thinks the world is just, the middle fish thinks there is some justice in the world, and the smallest … Continue reading

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Conflict Avoidance: Clients pushing back against advance, blanket waivers of unknown conflicts

Lawyers are not supposed to represent a potential client unless they can devote their full attention, and loyalty, to that client.  Their personal and professional interest must be consistent with the client’s interest, otherwise they may have a “conflict” of … Continue reading

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