Above the Law has a short summary of the situation here. In a nutshell, some states will admit graduates without having to take the bar exam, some will allow them to start practicing pending their passing of the bar exam if they practice under the supervision of a lawyer, and some have made not changes to their current procedures. Above the Law's article has all the details.
Friday, November 27, 2020
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Louisiana Supreme Court holds that plaintiffs do not need to show that they would have been able to collect the judgment in the "case within the case" to support malpractice claim
As you know, when a plaintiff sues a lawyer for malpractice in a litigation matter alleging that the defendant's representation caused the plaintiff to lose a claim, the plaintiff has to show that they would have won the case had it not been for the negligence of the defendant (the lawyer). In torts terms, this is what the plaintiff has to argue and prove in order to establish the element of cause in fact. Typically, however, courts hold that showing that the plaintiff would have won the original case (sometimes referred to as "the case within the case") is not enough because if the plaintiff would not have been able to recover anything in that case then the plaintiff can't establish an actual "loss" (the element of injury, in torts terms).
This means that typically, the plaintiff has to show not only that the plaintiff would have won the original case but for the negligence of the lawyer, but also that the plaintiff would have been able to collect the judgment (or at least part of it) as a result.
I am writing about this today because the Legal Profession blog reported a few days ago that the Louisiana Supreme Court recently decided a case that appears to be the first time a court has held that the plaintiff in a legal malpractice suit need not prove that the underlying lost judgment was collectible.
The case is called Ewing v. Westport Insurance and you can read it here.
Saturday, November 21, 2020
How not to practice law: go ahead and open a law office even though you flunked the bar exam, ...twice
The ABA Journal is reporting that a law school graduate (class of 2014) has been sentenced to prison for practicing law even though she flunked the bar exam twice. Yeah, you should not do that! Just in case you forgot: you need to be admitted to practice to be able to practice legally. Go here for the full story.
Over at Ethical Grounds, Michael Kennedy (Vermont's Bar Counsel, and a friend) has a short but insightful post on whether competitive keyword advertising should be considered to be unethical. In case you don't know, "competitive keyword advertising" refers to the practice of paying search engines so that your ad appears before others when users search for certain keywords. The topic is interesting and Michael's post is worth reading. You can do so here.
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Monday, November 9, 2020
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Sunday, November 1, 2020
Over at The Law for Lawyers Today, Karen Rubin has published a comment on a recent ethics opinion on whether an attorney can withdraw from representing a client based on alleged fear of contracting COVID-19 as a result of some aspect of the representation.
In the opinion, the New York State Bar Association answers yes, provided that the lawyer gets permission from a tribunal.
You should read the comment here.
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Model Rule 1.7(a)(2) prohibits a lawyer from representing a client without informed consent if there is a significant risk that the representation of the client will be materially limited by a personal interest of the lawyer. A personal interest conflict may arise out of a lawyer’srelationship with opposing counsel. Lawyers must examine the nature of the relationship to determine if it creates a Rule 1.7(a)(2) conflict and, if so, whether the lawyer reasonably believes the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client who must then give informed consent, confirmed in writing.To assist lawyers in applying Rule 1.7(a)(2), this opinion identifies three categories of personal relationships that might affect a lawyer’s representation of a client: (i) intimate relationships, (ii) friendships, and (iii) acquaintances. Intimate relationships with opposing counsel involve, e.g. cohabiting, engagement to, or an exclusive intimate relationship. These relationships must be disclosed to clients, and the lawyers ordinarily may not represent opposing clients in the matter, unless each client gives informed consent confirmed in writing. Because friendships exist in a wide variety of contexts, friendships need to be examined carefully. Close friendships with opposing counsel should be disclosed to clients, and, where required as described in this opinion, their informed consent obtained. By contrast, some friendships and most relationships that fall into the category of acquaintances need not be disclosed, nor must clients’ informed consent be obtained. Regardless of whether disclosure is required, however, the lawyer may choose to disclose the relationship to maintain good client relations.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
As you probably know, earlier this year Utah and Arizona approved new regulatory systems that allows for some non-lawyers to provide some legal services (see here, here, here and here), while Washington, the first state to do so, ended its program. See here and here.
Now, Minnesota is joining the states allowing nonlawyers to handle some legal tasks in hopes of providing greater access to legal representation. According to a new rule adopted by the Minnesota Supreme Court, “legal paraprofessionals” will be allowed to provide legal services in landlord-tenant disputes and family law as long as the legal paraprofessionals enter into an agreement with a licensed Minnesota lawyer who agrees to serve as the paraprofessional’s supervisory attorney.
The paraprofessionals will be able to provide advice and make court appearances on behalf of tenants in housing disputes in certain jurisdictions. They will also be able to appear in court in some family law matters and handle family law mediations that are “limited to less complex matters.”