Brick and mortar is so last century. Nowadays, one can get an entire post-secondary education without ever leaving the comfort of home, including a law degree (no I’m not talking about Belmont) and an LLM. Then, with your degrees and fully developed agoraphobia in hand, you can move seamlessly into a fully virtual law practice and stay in your sweatpants all day — well, depending on what state you’re in.
From a reader:
Earlier this year, the NJ [Advisory Committee on Ethics] held that having a virtual office is not a bona-fide office within the meaning of the NJ Rules of Professional Conduct. This adds another significant cost to setting up your own shop since you have to rent a place all the time, not just for meetings. . . . I am not sure whether NJ is unique in this regard, but the decision seems wrong and anti-competitive to me and it is the smallest of firms which are the most likely to be effected by the rule.
New Jersey is not unique in this regard, but it is among a dying breed. Recently, its Delaware River neighbor issued an opinion that many small firm lawyers hope is yet another nail in the coffin of physical office constraints….
We’ve repeatedly discussed the importance to lawyers of networking. It matters whether you’re at a small firm or at a large one. It’s a necessary skill, in terms of getting the best assignments, making partner, and remaining a partner — no longer a guaranteed outcome, in these challenging times.
But networking also raises some ethical issues. When does it cross the line in to unethical solicitation? What are the limits on entertaining clients? How can you ethically handle referral fees?
This week’s Continuing Legal Education offering, handpicked by your ATL editors from the extensive CLE catalog of our friends at ALI-ABA, is all about how to network effectively and ethically. It offers those elusive ethics credits (required in many MCLE states), it’s reasonably priced, and it’s a telephone seminar — so you can participate from the comfort of your own office or home.
Check it out, and sign up, via the link below. Happy networking!
If you think about it, rules that prevent lawyers from practicing law in other states are kind of anachronistic anyway. This isn’t 1810. We’ve got planes and trains and automobiles. Clients can have legal issues in many jurisdictions, and it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to require that they use a different lawyer in Oklahoma than they do in Texas.
With that in mind, this suggestion from the New York State Bar Association is a no-brainer. They propose that in-house lawyers shouldn’t have to pass the New York State Bar Exam in order to practice in New York State. Instead, they suggest that out-of-state, in-house attorneys simply pay a registration fee.
Because this is New York — rules bore us, but money talks…
We’ve been keeping an eye on Andrew Shirvell, the Michigan attorney who has been conducting a personal crusade against Chris Armstrong, the University of Michigan student body president who happens to be gay. At the beginning of this month, we learned that Shirvell was taking a leave of absence from his day job in the Michigan Attorney General’s office. We also know that Armstrong has sought a restraining order against Shirvell.
Today, we’ve received word that Armstrong is requesting that Shirvell be brought before the bar on ethics charges. Finally. There’s got to be some kind of ethical rule that prohibits lawyers from gay bashing college kids, right?
But now maybe Miller will be a worthy contender. Newly released documents contain an email where Miller admits to lying about some of his actions while working as a borough attorney in Fairbanks, Alaska.
I have no idea how the Tea Party will spin this into a positive, but for Democrats and regular Republicans, their problem with Miller won’t be the offense, it’ll be with the cover-up. ‘Twas always thus…
I’d like to believe we live on a planet where reason dictates the choices we make as well as the policies of law firms. As numerous personal experiences and Above the Law articles have demonstrated to me, this isn’t always the case. And nowhere is this irrationality more perplexing than firm policies towards LinkedIn recommendations.
LinkedIn has a feature that allows lawyers and clients to write recommendations of each other. For a recommendation to be published online, it has to “accepted” by the person being recommended. The problem is, major law firms are prohibiting the use of LinkedIn recommendations by their attorneys (both inbound and outbound). Referrals and peer-to-peer recommendations are the lifeblood of most practices.
So why are so many firms prohibiting their use online?
Arizona attorney Tajudeen “Taj” Oladiran came onto our radar back in 2009, when he filed one of the craziest motions we’ve ever seen. Solo practitioner Oladiran, a former associate at Greenberg Traurig, filed a racketeering lawsuit against “Suntrust Bank and its pimps” for allegedly suckering him into predatory housing loans.
The motion that caught our eye — “Motion for a [sic] Honest and Honorable Court System” – was filed to vent Oladiran’s frustration with the “dishonorable” Susan Bolton, whom Taj called “a brainless coward.” That would be the same Susan Bolton who, in a not-so-cowardly move, blocked part of Arizona’s controversial immigration law.
Taj ended the motion:
Finally, to Susan Bolton, we shall meet again you know where.
Stud lawyers in Texas could have a more difficult time mating with their own clients.
Today many people made time to talk about Texas legal ethics — specifically, a proposal in front of the Texas bar that would prohibit lawyers from having sex with their clients. It’s a rule most jurisdictions have in one form or another. It’s not obvious that getting this rule enacted in Texas would be a huge problem.
But to paraphrase Louis Gossett Jr., “only two things come from Texas, steers and [a horribly anachronistic term that rhymes with 'steers'].”
Let’s deal with the steers first. It seems that the people against the new Texas Bar proposal are afraid that clients might just make up tales of affairs, and Texas lawyers — you know, people specially trained in methods of recognizing and producing evidence — will have no way to defend themselves…
Today brings good news for Madam Justice Lori Douglas, the Canadian judge captured in pornographic pictures that wound their way to the web. Alex Chapman — the 44-year-old computer programmer who sued Justice Douglas for $7 million, alleging that the judge and her husband harassed and inflicted emotional distress upon him, by pressuring him (Chapman) to have sex with her — has dropped his lawsuit against Her Honor. Chapman will continue to move forward with his suit against Douglas’s husband, divorce lawyer Jack King.
Perhaps Chapman was scared off by the “statement of defense” that was filed for Douglas earlier this week. Douglas claimed the action was barred by the statute of limitations and that Chapman’s allegations “fail to disclose a cause of action against her.” (This makes sense to us; based on what we currently know, it seems that Douglas was, if anything, also a victim here.)
With Justice Douglas out of the case, the lawsuit may become somewhat less salacious. But we will continue to bring you updates to the extent that we can.
Have you ever really needed a Jewish attorney but just didn’t know where to find one? Well, have no fear, the Jewish American Bar Association is here. There’s an ad that’s been making its way around the blogosphere that can be seen at a bus stop in south Florida:
There’s just one little problem. The Jewish American Bar Association might not be exactly what you think it is….
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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