Updates on Legal Ethics as 2018 Concludes

As 2018 comes to a close, I've been busy presenting on key developments in legal ethics in what has proven to be a year of significant developments. On December 29 I spoke before the Orange County Bar Association at their annual Ethics Update 2018 presentation. I covered recent legal developments in legal ethics, legal malpractice …

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Ethically Withdrawing from Representation

Properly withdrawing from representation pursuant to applicable rules, ethics opinions and case law can reduce the risk of a legal malpractice claim. On November 1, 2018, California’s revised Rules of Professional Conduct will become effective, and the current Rule 3-700 governing withdrawal will be replaced with new Rule 1.16. A lawyer must take “reasonable steps” …

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New Ethics Rules for Law Firm Managers and Supervisors

Effective November 1, 2018, California's new Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC), will become applicable to all California attorneys. The new RPCs include both significantly modified rules and entirely new rules. One new series of rules applicable in California for the first time includes Rules 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3, governing law firms and associations and addressing …

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Is an Advance Conflict of Interest Waiver Effective?

The Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP v. J-M Manufacturing Co., Inc. case, pending before the California Supreme Court, will provide California lawyers with further insight regarding whether an advance waiver of a conflict of interest is enforceable, and if so, under what circumstances.  An advance conflict of interest waiver is a waiver given by a client to …

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Preparing to File a Civil Suit? Avoid Liability for Malicious Prosecution

Several important ethical considerations converge when the attorney is preparing to file a civil lawsuit. Under California law (the Rules of Professional Conduct, and Business & Professions Code), an attorney has an ethical obligation to maintain only claims and defenses that are just, and also not to encourage actions based on passion or corruption. In …

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Does a Lawyer Surrender First Amendment Rights by Representing a Client?

Oasis Realty v. Goldman, pending before the California Supreme Court, raises the question, how far does the duty of loyalty extend? Can a lawyer who formerly represented a developer later oppose the very project on which the lawyer worked? Attorney Goldman and his firm represented Oasis Realty in connection with the development of a property …

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