Monday, January 6, 2014

A few headlines

I am still away, but I am taking some time away from my time away between semesters to catch up with some of the headlines from the last few weeks:

The Supreme Court of Ohio rules that a Texas company with offices in Ohio engaged in the unauthorized practice of law when it prepared and filed a tax appeal and appeared before the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals.

Retired lawyer suspended for lack of e-mail address.  (Sounds odd, but if you read the story carefully you'll see the attorney was really disciplined for violating a specific court rule that requires a lawyer to provide an email address.  The more interesting question is whether that rule is warranted.)

Is it ethical for attorney's to solicit clients by "texting."  There has been some discussion on this recently and here is a post arguing against it.  The big question is whether texting can be distinguished from using regular mail or e-mail which are protected speech subject to the limits imposed by the rules.  I think texting does result in more of an invasion of privacy than regular mail or e-mail.  Also, it can result in a minimal financial burden on the person who receives the message.  However, I am not sure the difference in the level of invasion of privacy is enough to justify a different analysis and, as the story mentions, the lawyers are supposed to pay for the cost of the message - although it is not clear how this can be enforced.

The Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Committee recently issued a new opinion on "A Lawyer’s Options When a Client with Diminished Capacity Refuses to Act."   The opinion is available here.

Can lawyers advise marijuana growers in Colorado?  Lawyers are caught between the new state law that says marijuana is legal and federal law that still treats marijuana as an illegal drug.

Representatives from LinkedIn met with Florida Bar officials last month and outlined changes to the social media site that should help allay concerns raised by the Board of Governors and the Standing Committee on Advertising.

Attorney suspended for seeking sex with opposing counsel and having sex with client (in different case).

Lawyer prosecuted for an alleged ethical violation that occurred in the course of representing an attorney accused of an ethical violation.