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California Legal Ethics

Doris Day and the Man Who Was Too Mean to Die

Posted by David Carr | May 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

The death of beloved entertainer Doris Day at the age of 97 naturally evokes in a California ethics lawyer memories of another who was not at all beloved.  Jerome Rosenthal.  The “man who was too mean to die”, as described by one of the discipline prosecutors who spent 20 years disbarring Rosent...

Too Clever By Half

Posted by David Carr | May 07, 2019 | 0 Comments

Another interesting State Bar Court decision, this one unpublished.  In the Matter of Bhardwaj.  Aside from another reminder that lawyers can be disciplined for conduct occurring outside the practice of law when they represent themselves, there is an interesting discussion of one of the things th...

State Bar Court Precedent Blooms in the Spring

Posted by David Carr | May 03, 2019 | 0 Comments

Like May toadstools sprouting after an April rain, three new published Review Department decisions appeared together on the State Bar Court's website on or about May Day.  Only one (In the Matter of Amponsah) is recent, filed April 22, 2019; the other two (In the Matter of Chance Gordon and In ...

Real Lawyers Do Take Notes

Posted by David Carr | Apr 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

The reported exchange between President Trump and the former White House counsel Mr. McGahn regarding his note-taking shines a light on one of the bigger fault lines in legal ethics: the tension between the lawyer's role as an advocate for a client and the lawyer's responsibilities to others.  N...

DA Work Product: Who Does it Belong To?

Posted by David Carr | Apr 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

When is a privilege not a privilege? When it is the attorney work product “privilege” is at least one possible answer to that question.  A recent published opinion (People v. Superior Court (Jones, case no. D074028, published 3/09/19) from Fourth Appellate District, Div. 1, continues to the dis...

Playing With Someone Else’s Chips: Lawyer Extortion

Posted by David Carr | Mar 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

There is probably no bad time to discuss the ethics of extortionate lawyer demands, written and otherwise, but this time may be better than most. These ethics may seem a little paradoxical, much like the crime of extortion itself – how can I be criminally liable for threatening to do something t...

New Summary Disbarment: Now With Extra Summary!

Posted by David Carr | Mar 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

California lawyers who commit felony crimes found their sledding a bit tougher on January 1, 2019. On that date new amendments to Business and Professions Code section 6102(c) went into effect, expanding the definition of crimes subject to summary disbarment. Summary disbarment, as the name impli...

New San Diego Ethics Opinions on Lawyer Marketing

Posted by David Carr | Mar 07, 2019 | 0 Comments

A pair of new ethics opinons from the Legal Ethics Committee of the San Diego County Bar Association addressing lawyer marketing issue have been approved and published. Opinion no. 2019-1 discusses attorney's marketing of legal forms. It asks: Under what conditions may lawyers provide electronic ...

Down To Serfdom

Posted by David Carr | Mar 06, 2019 | 0 Comments

The ABA Journal has the story about a law firm suing  an associate who signed a employment contract providing for three year term. The associate left after just one year. The contract includes a stipulated damages clause that requires the payment of $10,000 if the associate leaves before the end ...

State Bar Complaints about Political Speech

Posted by David Carr | Feb 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

Florida Congressman and lawyer Matt Gaetz is the latest public figure slash lawyer to be targeted over something incredibly stupid that he or she said or did. In Representative Gaetz's case, the stupid was tweeting a comment that appeared to be aimed at dissuading a witness from testifying before...

The Perils of Rule 9.20

Posted by David Carr | Feb 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

One of the most dreaded consequences of disciplinary action is the requirement that the disciplined attorney comply with California Rule of Court 9.20. Rule 9.20 requires  the disciplined  lawyer to do a number of things, including giving notice by certified mail of the suspension to all clients,...

New Ethics Opinion: Technology Assisted Review

Posted by David Carr | Feb 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

The San Diego County Bar Association has published an ethics opinion relevant to electronic discovery issues.  San Diego County Bar Association Formal Ethics Opinion 2018-3 poses the question: To what extent may lawyers use technology assisted review to identify documents to be produced in respon...

New California Rules: Where Will They Change?

Posted by David Carr | Feb 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

The new California Rules of Professional Conduct are just over three months old. Aside from scattered murmurings of discontent, there is surprisingly little uproar.  A large number of lawyers seem blissfully unaware that there's been any change at all in the landscape of their professional obliga...

Welcome to California Legal Ethics!

Posted by David Carr | Feb 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

Welcome to California Legal Ethics! My aim to provide timely and relevant information about California legal ethics to the California lawyers, law students and other legal professionals.  The legal profession is undergoing rapid and disorienting change.  Many of those changes  and traditional leg...

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