Legal Ethics

Lawyer wants to withdraw from the case because client refuses to accept the other side’s offer to settle.

Better read this if you are in that situation.
Refusing to Settle: A Look at the Attorney’s Ethical Dilemma in Client Settlement Decisions (pdf)
Jane Y. Kim, 38 Washington U. J. of L. & Policy 383 (Winter 2012).

An attorney can be liable for aiding and abetting another’s breach of fiduciary duty.

It is not only the drafted document that be legal. In addition, the expected use of the document must be legally proper. The attorney must use due diligence to determine whether the document he/she drafts is being used by the client to breach a fiduciary duty the client owes to another.

This theory has been used in some states already. As it applies to attorneys, see Insight Technology, Inc. v. Freightcheck, LLC, 633 S.E.2d 373, 377-78 (Ga., 2006); AmeriFirst Bank v. Bomar, 757 F. Supp. 1365, 1380 (S.D. Fla. 1991); and Reis v. Barley, Snyder, Senft & Cohen, 484 F. Supp.2d 337, 350-52 (E.D. Pa. 2007). Cf., Alexander v. Anstine, 152 P.3d 497, 503 (Colo. 2007) (declining to decide whether an attorney can be liable for aiding and abetting the breach of fiduciary duty of another person.) The defendant attorney cannot avoid liability by arguing that no personal benefit was received by him/her. Cf., In re Caribbean K Line, Ltd, 288 B.R. 908, 919 (S.D. Fla 2002) (corporate director liable for aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty although director did not personally benefit from breach).

Civility is a model for litigation success!

Whether you are male or female, being the “civil” civil lawyer wins settlements and judgments. “Illegitimi Non Carborundum” (Don’t Let the Bastards Wear You Down) and you will be rewarded when “Obesa Cantavit” (The Fat Lady has Sung). The following two articles have advice based on their experience. Both of these two authors have had awards heaped on them because of their litigation success, not only within their state, but also nationally.

“Being Nice is Powerful” By Elizabeth A. Starrs

“Why Choose the Road to Civility?” By John Tarantino

ABA approves corporate counsel using their personal ethics!

That title may be an overstatement, but it focuses your attention. What do you do if your personal ethics revolts against what your client is doing? There are lots of options, but here is a 2003 article that is worth re-reading for its discussion of one option. It is an option more lawyers should use. Read More…