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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Nursery Rhyme Lawyer

Have you ever wondered what would happen if Jack and Jill or Humpty Dumpty sued for their personal injuries?  Call the Nursery Rhyme Lawyer!  Click on this link to hear his song:

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Most significant changes in the practice of law

A timely article in this week's issue (9/5/11) of the Virginia Lawyers Weekly (Dolan Publishing Co.), celebrating its 25th "Silver Anniversary" as a paper, covered interviews of prominent lawyers in our state who were asked to identify the most significant changes in the practice of law: Marketing and specialization, commercialization, and a substantial decline in jury trials were the top three.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

New Rule 1.18 Adopted by Supreme Court of Virginia

The Virginia State Bar's Standing Committee on Legal Ethics proposed that the Court adopt ABA MR 1.18 and the Court has adopted this rule effective June 21, 2011.  Rule 1.18 addresses the ethical duties owed to a  prospective client with whom a lawyer has communicated but has not agreed to represent that person.  A prospective client is a person with whom the lawyer is willing to discuss the possibility of employment.  The comments to the rule make clear that not all unilateral communications with a lawyer are protected, only those communications had with a reasonable expectation of forming a client-lawyer relationship.  In that case, the communications are protected under the lawyer's duty of confidentiality under Rule 1.6, and the lawyer who has received significantly harmful information from a prosepective client may not represent a client adverse to that prospective client.  However, the imputation of this conflict can be avoided if the tainted lawyer is screened from participating in any matter adverse to the prospective client and timely notice is given.  It is believed that this new rule will help mitigate the practice by some people of "lawyer shopping" solely for the purpose of strategically disqualifying the lawyer or law firm because of an interview or other contact.  At the very least the new rule should help law firms avoid an imputed disqualification when one of its lawyers has some communication with a prospective client.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Casey Anthony . . . Get Over it, people!

The public lynching of Casey Anthony, her lawyer, Jose Baez (a/k/a "sleazeball defense lawyer") and the jury that sat through this trial is despicable and needs to stop.  Guilty as Casey Anthony may appear to the general public, the jury did its job correctly by acquitting her of murder because the government did not have a case.  Her lawyer did what he was supposed to do and so did the jury.  How about complaining about the prosecutor for putting on a case that needed more investigation and work?  The sad part about all of this bloodlust for Casey Anthony in the media is that these same people would want the same criminal justice system to work for them if their life or libery was on the line.  Finding Casey Anthony guilty of first degree murder on the flimsy evidence the prosecution had would be a travesty and miscarriage of justice, even assuming she committed the crime.  The answer is for the police and prosecution to prepare their case before bringing it to trial, not bashing the defense or the jury on the perception that Casey Anthony "got away with murder."  We cannot disregard or begrudge the constitution, burden of proof and procedure safeguards afforded any citizen charged with a crime just because we don't like the result in a highly publicized case.  Let's put things in perspective and get over it, folks.

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Rule Encourages Pro Bono Work By Corporate Counsel

The Supreme Court of Virginia approved April 15, 2011, effectively immediately, a proposed amendment to Supreme Court Rule 1A:5, Corporate Counsel & Corporate Counsel Registrants, which allows Virginia corporate counsel admitted in States other than Virginia to do pro bono work. This proposal came at the recommendation of the Joint Virginia State Bar and Virginia Bar Association Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Task Force (Task Force), with the hope of increasing the number of lawyers eligible to provide pro bono public services while ensuring that such lawyers are subject to adequate professional guidelines regarding competence in the handling of such matters.

The approved changes also revise paragraph (g) of the rule in three respects: (1) removes the requirement for Part I corporate counsel registrants to participate only in pro bono programs operated and controlled by any Virginia licensed Legal Aid Society; (2) removes the requirement that the Part I corporate counsel work under the “direct supervision” of a legal aid lawyer or a pro bono volunteer who is a regular active member of the Virginia State Bar; and (3) removes limitations on the specific services that can be performed by the corporate counsel volunteer. These changes broaden the scope of appropriate pro bono legal services for specific clients over other legal aid services, thereby creating additional opportunities for pro bono services for Part I corporate counsel. Even though the approved changes eliminate the provisions in the Rule pertaining to supervision, Part I corporate counsel are required by Rule 1.1, like all lawyers who practice law in Virginia, to serve their clients competently and have an ethical duty to make sure they received proper and sufficient training to handle a pro bono matter.

New Article Published on Lawyer Websites and Blogs

The April 2011 issue of The Virginia Lawyer has my latest article on lawyer websites and blogs and the ethics issues that arise out of their use.  Check it out!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

New Article Published on Cloud Computing

"Cloud Computing--Silver Lining or Ethical Thunderstorm for Lawyers" is published in The Virginia Lawyer (Feb. 2011)

Check it out!