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Full-Text Articles in Law

Civility And Collegiality—Unreasonable Judicial Expectations For Lawyers As Officers Of The Court?, Lonnie T. Brown Jr. Jan 2012

Civility And Collegiality—Unreasonable Judicial Expectations For Lawyers As Officers Of The Court?, Lonnie T. Brown Jr.

St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

It is a well-settled and often-recited fact that lawyers are "officers of the court." That title, however, is notoriously hortatory and devoid of meaning. Nevertheless, the Eleventh Circuit recently took the somewhat unprecedented step of utilizing the officer-of-the-court label to, in effect, sanction an attorney for the purportedly uncivil act of failing to provide defendant attorneys with pre-suit notice. While the author applauds the court's desire to place greater emphasis on lawyer-to-lawyer collegiality as a component of officer-of-the-court status, the uncertainty the decision creates in terms of a lawyer's role will potentially force litigators to compromise important client-centered duties. This …


Social Networking And Judicial Ethics., Craig Estlinbaum Jan 2012

Social Networking And Judicial Ethics., Craig Estlinbaum

St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

Social network sites (SNSs) such as Facebook, Linkedln, and Twitter have become an increasingly ever-present feature in American life since first appearing in the late 1990s. SNSs now impact virtually all parts of daily life, and the judiciary is not immune to this effect. Recent statistics show that approximately 40% of judges nationwide utilize SNSs for personal, professional, and electoral purposes. Social media, like any public communication form, presents special ethical challenges for judges. In recent years, judicial ethics committees in various states have weighed in on these questions and have not shown any clear consensus. However, it is generally …


Why Your Secretary Is Really Worth A Million Dollars: Exploring The Harsh Penalty For Not Proofreading Your Fee Agreements In Anglo-Dutch Petroleum V. Greenberg Peden., James M. Parker Jr., J.K. Leonard Jan 2012

Why Your Secretary Is Really Worth A Million Dollars: Exploring The Harsh Penalty For Not Proofreading Your Fee Agreements In Anglo-Dutch Petroleum V. Greenberg Peden., James M. Parker Jr., J.K. Leonard

St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

This Article examines the Texas Supreme Court's decision in Anglo-Dutch Petroleum International, Inc. v. Greenberg Peden, P.C. Next, this Article discusses the decision in light of other cases dealing with attorney-client contract issues. Then, an explanation of why the court's decision is inconsistent with other opinions is provided. This Article next analyzes the long-term effects of the Anglo-Dutch decision and the lessons to be learned from the case about drafting contracts and lawyers' obligations to inform clients of material terms. Finally, this Article suggests that the court's decision decreases the legal protection extended to lawyers and holds them closer to …


Taking Limited Representation To The Limits: The Efficacy Of Using Unbundled Legal Services In Domestic-Relations Matters Involving Litigation., Michele N. Struffolino Jan 2012

Taking Limited Representation To The Limits: The Efficacy Of Using Unbundled Legal Services In Domestic-Relations Matters Involving Litigation., Michele N. Struffolino

St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

The use of unbundled legal services is nothing new in this country, and it is often preferable to no representation at all. The Model Rules of Professional Conduct expressly permit attorneys to provide limited representation to their clients. Domestic-relations attorneys, in particular, have tried to ease the burden on litigants by offering unbundled legal services. However, the use of unbundled services in domestic[1]relations matters has caused difficulties for litigants, attorneys, and the courts. For these domestic-relations cases in particular, full service representation is crucial. To provide full satisfaction for their clients and to fulfill their ethical duty, domestic-relations attorneys must …


Reinventing The Wheel: Constructing Ethical Approaches To State Indigent Legal Defense Systems., Bill Piatt Jan 2012

Reinventing The Wheel: Constructing Ethical Approaches To State Indigent Legal Defense Systems., Bill Piatt

St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

Indigent defense remains in a state of crisis. Almost fifty years after the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, lack of funding, favoritism, inefficiency, and poorly-designed indigent[1]defense plans plague the system, which can best be characterized as being in a state of disrepair. As a result, accused indigent individuals, a vulnerable population, suffer from a lack of adequate representation. This Article reviews the history and implementation of various indigent-defense systems and examines the ethical issues arising from their operation. It offers a guide to reconstructing a model system, including the suggestion that attorneys first recommit the profession to …


Order In The Court!: Ethical Conduct In A Criminal Trial Under The Texas Disciplinary Rules., Edward L. Wilkinson Jan 2012

Order In The Court!: Ethical Conduct In A Criminal Trial Under The Texas Disciplinary Rules., Edward L. Wilkinson

St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

In a criminal trial, the most common ethical duties implicated are the duty of candor to the tribunal, maintaining the impartiality and integrity of the tribunal, and the fairness of the proceeding as a whole. Under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, these duties are broken down in Rules 3.03, 3.04, 3.05, and 3.06. Attorneys are charged with the responsibility of fully understanding each of these duties in order to interact accordingly with the tribunal. This Article will examine, in detail, each of these rules individually. Additionally, the Article will analyze how each of the rules overlap and coincide …


The Roles Of Attorneys As Courtroom Experts: Revisiting The Conventional Limitations And Their Exceptions., David S. Caudill Jan 2012

The Roles Of Attorneys As Courtroom Experts: Revisiting The Conventional Limitations And Their Exceptions., David S. Caudill

St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

This Article examines whether attorneys should be allowed to testify as legal experts, especially in the legal malpractice context. This Article starts by addressing the unclear distinction between questions of law and fact and reviews several recent cases that prohibited expert legal testimony. Next, this Article addresses some general exceptions to the prohibition against expert legal testimony, such as questions of complex and uncertain law. Finally, this Article examines the use of legal experts in legal malpractice cases.


Malpractice Liability Related To Foreign Outsourcing Of Legal Services., Vincent R. Johnson, Stephen C. Loomis Jan 2012

Malpractice Liability Related To Foreign Outsourcing Of Legal Services., Vincent R. Johnson, Stephen C. Loomis

St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

The outsourcing of client-related tasks to service providers in other countries is likely to generate malpractice claims against American law firms. This Article discusses the wide range of theories under which an outsourcing American law firm may be liable for its own negligence or for the actions of outsourcing providers. These theories include negligence by the outsourcing law firm, vicarious liability for the conduct of firm principals and employees, vicarious liability for the conduct of independent contractors, and vicarious liability for the conduct of business partners.


First, Do No Harm: The Consequences Of Advising Clients About Litigation Alternatives In Medical Malpractice Cases., Katerina P. Lewinbuk Jan 2012

First, Do No Harm: The Consequences Of Advising Clients About Litigation Alternatives In Medical Malpractice Cases., Katerina P. Lewinbuk

St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

This Article addresses whether a lawyer's possible duty to inform and advise his client of potential alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options actually leads to better results for doctors in medical malpractice cases. This Article first explains different theories supporting a potential duty and then argues that all such theories praising ADR rely on the assumption that "valuable" alternatives to litigation always exist and are available to all litigants. That notion is arguably not always true for a physician defending against malpractice complaints; thus, the duty becomes almost meaningless in such cases. With the adoption of the National Practitioner Data Bank …