Saturday, February 24, 2018

Legal Talk Network: Podcast on Limited License Legal Technicians

Long time readers of this blog will remember the debate on whether non lawyers should be licensed to provide limited legal services and how Washington state became the first jurisdiction to recognize Limited License Legal Technicians (LLLTs).  See here, here, here and here, for some of my posts on this starting back in 2015.  Go here for a 2017 podcast on the subject.

Last week, the Legal Talk Network published a new podcast on the subject.  You can access it here.

Comments on proposed changes to the ABA rules on advertising

As you know, the ABA is considering a series of changes to some of its rules related to advertising.  As I have commented before, the changes are somewhat controversial, but mostly because many think they are not bold enough.  Go here for a summary of the issues.

2Civility, a website of The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, has published a short comment on the proposed changes that includes interesting comments from readers.

Also, Avvo's Lawyernomics has published (here) a comment called "Why the ABA’s Proposed Attorney Advertising Rule Changes Don’t Go Nearly Far Enough."

Avvo's comment is interesting but not quite well reasoned.  One of its main points is that states should eliminate rule 7.2 (and some others) entirely because the only rule needed is 7.1 which bans the publication of false or misleading advertising.

First of all, if we are going to eliminate something entirely, I'd say let's get rid of the notion of "misleading."  But that aside, the problem with arguing that everything can be "dealt with" by looking at the principle in rule 7.1 is that that principle is different than the one expressed in rule 7.2.

The principle in 7.1 is that the state has the authority to regulate speech that is not protected by the First Amendment.  Evidently, if the speech is not protected, the state can regulate it.  The principle in rule 7.2 is that, in addition to that, under certain circumstances the state can also regulate speech that is protected.

Opponents of the regulation of advertising can argue that the state should not engage in the regulation  of protected speech or that the regulation should be more limited than it is now.  That is a valid argument over which reasonable people can disagree.  But the basis of the argument is a debate on whether regulation is a good idea as a policy matter; not that rule 7.1 already covers it.

Comment on ABA Opinion on whether a judge can independently research adjudicative facts on the internet

Professional Responsibility: A Contemporary Approach has published a short comment on the ABA's Formal Opinion 478 on the restrictions imposed by the 2007 ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct on a judge searching the internet for information helpful in deciding a case. The  opinion concludes that Rule 2.9(C) of the Model Code prohibits a judge from researching adjudicative facts on the internet unless a fact is subject to judicial notice.  You can read the comment here.  You can read the opinion here.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Trump's budget proposal would eliiminate all funding for the largest single funder of civil legal aid for low-income people

At a time when the legal profession continues to debate how to best provide access to legal services for those who can't afford it, the Trump's administration budget proposal is trying once again to eliminate funding for the Legal Services Corp., the largest single funder of civil legal aid for low-income people.

ABA President Hilarie Bass issued a statement Friday saying the administration’s latest proposal to defund the LSC “is unwarranted and should be dead on arrival.”

The president also sought to cut all funds to the LSC last year but Congress kept the LSC budget at last year’s level, and at one point added $15 million to fund legal services for victims of natural disasters.

Go to the ABA Journal for more details.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Update on the Florida case challenging the notion of unathorized practice of law (and maybe the state's authority to regulate the practice of law)

Last month I posted that one of the important stories to watch in 2018 was going to be an $11 million antitrust lawsuit against the Florida Bar filed by an online service that helps people resolve claims related to driving tickets challenging the state of Florida's authority to regulate the practice of law.

In the most recent developlemtn in the case, the Florida Supreme Court has issued an order directing the company - TIKD - to file a response to the Florida Bar's allegations that TIKD is practicing law without a license, and to show cause why the court should not issue an injunction blocking its services.

In the meantime, a state senator presented an amendment to a bill that would allow TIKD to conduct its business but later withdrew it after lawyers raised concerns about whether the company was practicing law without a license.

Faughnan on Ethics has a comment here.

Thanks to Roy Simon for the updates!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Short summary of the ABA proposed changes to advertising rules (and some questions left unanswered)

Over at The Law for Lawyers Today, Karen Rubin has posted a short but informative comment on the ABA proposed changes to the Model Rules on advertising and solicitation.  You should go take a look at it here.

As she explains, the proposed changes are not that bold and do leave some of the most controversial issues untouched.  However, I do like the proposal that eases the approach to the ban on advertising as "specializing in" a particular area of law which I have criticized many times in the past.  (See here, and here for example.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Reminder: You can comment on the ABA's proposed amendments to rules regarding advertising

The Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has released a Working Draft of proposed amendments to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct on lawyer advertising. More information about the Working Draft is available here. The Ethics Committee wants to hear your opinion on its draft and your ideas for making it better.  You have two ways to communicate your thoughts and suggestions: (1) attend the February 2, 2018, public forum in Vancouver, Canada held in conjunction with the ABA MidYear Meeting and (2) provide written comment to the Committee through its email address modelruleamend@americanbar.org.  The Center’s Ethics Department has compiled a summary of the proposed amendments. It is available here.

UPDATE (1/20/18):  Legal Ethics in Motion has an update a lots of links to more information here.

Monday, January 29, 2018

9th Circuit finds juvenile facing deportation has no right to free lawyer

The ABA Journal is reporting that a federal appeals court ruled today that a minor has no right to a court-appointed lawyer in immigration proceedings.  Go here for the full story.

UPDATE (1/20/18):  Jurist has more on the story and links to the decision here.

Friday, January 26, 2018

US Supreme Court hears oral argument in McCoy v Louisiana; Justice Sotomayor compares it to an ethics class in law school -- UPDATED

Back in October I wrote a comment on McCoy v. Louisiana, a case before the US Supreme Court in which a Louisiana death row inmate is arguing ineffective assistance of counsel because his lawyer conceded his guilt over the defendant's objection.  During the argument Justice Sotomayor said the case sounded like a law school hypo.  And she is right (for all the reasons I mentioned in my comment).  Also, according to the ABA Journal, Justice Neil Gorsuch was among the justices who appeared to see merit in the defendant's case.

The ABA filed an amicus brief (see here).

The oral argument is available here.

Bloonberg Law has a story on the case here.

The New York Times has an article on the case here.

The SCotUS blog has a summary and analysis of the case here.

NPR's coverage of the case is here.

Above the Law has a post on the case here.

I am very interested in how the Court will decide this case and, particularly, how it will treat Florida v. Nixon.  (Again, see my comment above).

UPDATE 1/26/18: Ethical Grounds has a comment on the case here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Why has the legal system failed to keep pace with technology?

If you think that the legal system failed to keep pace with technology, you may wonder why that is the case.  Robert Ambrogi, who writes and speaks frequently on issues related to technology offers his answer here.