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Attorney Ethics

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To have standing to move to disqualify another party's attorney, the movant must generally be a present or former client of the challenged attorney, or at least a person who shared confidential information with that attorney in the course of a confidential or fiduciary relationship.  Otherwise, the movant is generally not affected by any breach of the attorney's duties of… Read More

A provision in an attorney's contingency fee agreement that purported to allow the attorney to consent on the client's behalf (and over the client's objection) to any settlement offer that the attorney thought was reasonable and in the client's best interest violated the Rules of Professional Conduct and was void.  Such a provision creates an immediate, direct conflict of interest… Read More

It is misconduct for counsel to argue to the jury that there is no evidence on an issue when he knows that such evidence exists but was excluded at his request.  Here counsel exacerbated that misconduct by telling the jury that the court's admonition to ignore the arresting officer's statement about defendnat's intoxication showed the testimony was nothing but a… Read More

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

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