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Attorney Ethics

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The trial court held a party's attorney guilty of four counts of indirect contempt for obnoxious behavior (constantly interrupting, calling the opposition lawyer a liar, etc.) that cratered a mandatory settlement conference before a temporary judge.  This decision affirms the contempt order on only one of the four counts.  The last count (preventing the temporary judge from revealing what had… Read More

Lawyer's appeal from a contempt citation is dismissed as contempt orders are not appealable; they may only be challenged by a writ petition.  Lawyer's appeal from a sanctions order over $5,000 is appealable, but the sanctions order is affirmed.  A lawyer owes a court a duty of candor.  Here, the lawyer filed a motion to enforce a settlement.  He received… Read More

After divorcing Yim, Lee filed this suit on behalf of her daughter Doe, claiming that Yim had sexually molested Doe.  Lee, a lawyer, sought to represent Doe in the action.  Held, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in disqualifying Lee.  Under current Rule of Professional Conduct 3.7, a lawyer cannot act as an advocate "at trial" in a… Read More

A non-attorney did not engage in the unauthorized practice of law by filling out and filing an application and renewal of judgment form to renew a judgment of which he and several other individuals were judgment creditors.  The task was clerical in nature, not legal.  Choosing the right form is simple.  There's only one Judicial Council form for the task. … Read More

When a law firm or client acquires an opponent's attorney-client information through surreptitious means such as hiring an outside counsel a former employee of the opposing party, the outside counsel in question must be disqualified from the representation. Read More

A law firm hired to represent water district and later fired, need not recuse itself from representing other water districts in the same litigation, especially since the first water district did not demand the recusal until ten years after hiring the law firm and was aware of the other representations the whole time. Read More

A former client need prove only that attorney’s fraud and breach of fiduciary duty in secretly funneling information about the client to opposing party while negotiating a settlement was a substantial factor in causing her harm, not that she would have obtained a better result but from the attorney’s wrongdoing. Read More

As a general rule in California, where an attorney is disqualified from representation, the entire law firm is vicariously disqualified as well. However, the general presumption is a rebuttable one, which can be refuted by evidence that an ethical wall or other circumstances has prevented the sharing of confidences in a particular case. Read More

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