Recent Articles by Marc Garfinkle

Water Runs Uphill Here: Navigating Legal Ethics
Much about an ethics matter is counter-intuitive, especially for litigators. Understand that you are in a different dimension at every interface you have with the OAE.
>> NJ Law Journal July 17, 2017

 

Ethics Upon Ethics: The Attorney's Dilemma
In practice, lawyers have two codes of ethics: their personal moral compass, and the Rules of Professional Conduct. Sometimes there is discord between these two ethical guides.
>> NJ Law Journal May 29, 2017

 

Your Reputation Precedes You, Counsel
Our reputations and our practices are damaged whenever negative information is published in any way. Here are some options for fighting back.
>> NJ Law Journal April 24, 2017

 

The First Annual TWITA Awards
TWITA, the acronym for, "That's What I'm Talking About!" is my personal enterprise, whose mission is to identify and acknowledge groups and individuals whose service to lawyers or to the law exemplifies the best of our profession.
>> NJ Law Journal March 27, 2017

 

I am Your Sword and Your Shield
This month's column is about a lawyer's imperative to race into the breach to defend the Constitution. Lawyers have a sacred obligation to defend the Union from tyranny.
>> NJ Law Journal February 13, 2017

 

Reversing the Tide: Restoring Public Confidence in Lawyers
A call to attorneys to treat the Rules of Professional Conduct with the respect they require. Our adherence to them must be closer to their heart than to their edges.
>> NJ Law Journal January 23, 2017

 

The Ten Commandments of Defensive Lawyering
Reminders, suggestions and pointers to help lawyers navigate the perilous waters of practice, avoiding malpractice claims and ethics problems.
>> NJ Law Journal December 12, 2016

 

Marc’s Remarks to the NJSBA Subcommittee on Judicial Independence in Municipal Court
>> 2016

 

Caveat Arbiter: Judicial Conduct and the ACJC
RPC 8.3 provides a remedy for judicial misconduct; you need not sit in silence as some rogue, unfit or substandard judge wreaks havoc upon justice.
>> NJ Law Journal October 10, 2016

 

Random Compliance Audits: Preparing for the Bogeyman
Knowing more about random audit process might set attorneys' minds at ease.
>> NJ Law Journal September 12, 2016

 

Pop Quiz: What Would You Do?
Our legal-ethics expert tests your knowledge.
>> NJ Law Journal August 5, 2016

 

What If I...?
An ethics attorney shares the three questions he hears most often, and his advice on those matters.
>> NJ Law Journal July 11, 2016

 

The Semicolon Is Not Your Small Intestine
The Supreme Court should consider standards and testing for attorneys' grammatical competence.
>> NJ Law Journal June 14, 2016

 

Walking the Line
As lawyers, no one is watching us or monitoring our decisions for compliance with the rules; but be prepared to defend any decision you make.
>> NJ Law Journal May 4, 2016

 

The Judge's Name is 'Your Honor'
We should educate our clients and retrain ourselves to treat the court system with greater respect.
>> NJ Law Journal April 6, 2016

 

Damned if you do: Reporting misconduct under RPC8.3
RPC 8.3 requires attorneys to report misconduct by attorneys to the Office of Attorney Ethics. We look at where the lines are drawn.
>> NJ Law Journal March 9, 2016

 

What's My Name?: Labels, titles, ego, and the bar
The OAE takes great interest in how we hold ourselves out to the public. This article sheds some light on what we can say and how we may say it.
>> NJ Law Journal February 8, 2016

 

Minding Your Own Business: Attorneys with ancillary commercial interests
For those attorneys who try their hands at business, special rules apply. Violating those rules may result in ethical violations and worse. This column looks at what lawyers need to know when they go into a business other than lawyering.
>> NJ Law Journal January 14, 2016

 

Riding Shotgun: Helping Colleagues in Need
The best way to avoid human error is to submit our intended actions for review by another human. Since you are a lawyer, that other human should be a lawyer, too.
>> NJ Law Journal December 8, 2015

 

The Way You Do the Things You Do
Each of these scenarios involves the Rules of Professional Conduct, which establish guidelines and protocol for attorney behavior, ostensibly to protect our clients, but ultimately protecting us.
>> NJ Law Journal November 4, 2015

 

Tell Me What I'm Looking At: Ethics Violations and the Quantum of Discipline
When faced with an Ethics Committee Grievance or Complaint, attorneys, for reasons lodged deep in the human psyche, fear the worst. Suspension. Disbarment. Prison. So when they speak to me for the first time, their most pressing question usually is, “What is going to happen to me?”
>> NJ Law Journal October 12, 2015

 

Fee Simple: Ethics, Money and the Reasonable Lawyer
Students of human history can glean valuable information about any society’s morality and standards by looking at its rules and laws.
>> NJ Law Journal September 14, 2015

 

A Fool for a Lawyer: Going Pro Se before the Ethics Committee
Since an Ethics complaint may be the most dramatic event in our professional universe, eclipsing in impact even malpractice suits or wrongful termination, it is ironic that the affected attorneys are so often reluctant to retain legal counsel.
>> NJ Law Journal August 10, 2015

 

That Dog Won't Hunt: Lawyers, Clients, and Frivolous Litigation
In our litigious world, where attorneys are rewarded handsomely for aggressively pursuing and defending legal assaults, and where novel, creative legal arguments are hallmarks of superior advocacy, the defining edge between good lawyering and abuse of process is not always clear.
>> June 30, 2015

 

Whatever You Don't Say Will Be Held Against You
It used to be that a “criminal attorney” was a lawyer who defended people accused of crime. Regrettably, that same description, “criminal attorney,” is also an apt description of a lawyer who has been convicted of, or admitted to, a crime.
>> NJ Law Journal June 8, 2015

 

Do We Need the RPCs?
For us there are only the Rules. They are your compass, your lodestar, your guide. They must rule your actions and your decisions.
>> NJ Law Journal April 13, 2015

 

Alphabet Soup: The Acronyms of Ethics
In many states, the training, licensing and disciplining of attorneys is the province of attorneys general (AGs), and not of attorneys, in general, as we have in New Jersey.
>> NJ Law Journal February 16, 2015

 

‘My Client Didn’t Mean That’
We attorneys fall on our swords for our clients. Sometimes we try to make even in our worst clients look good, even at our own expense. Sometimes we bend over backwards when we shouldn't. We take a look at some common pitfalls.
>> NJ Law Journal December 8, 2014

 

You Don't Say! Some Thoughts on Attorney Advertising
This is a peek into attorney advertising. We look at the history and development of advertising by lawyers, and some of the issues which concern the OEA's Committee on Advertising.
>> NJ Law Journal October 13, 2014

 

Oh No! The Random Audit
Few matters are as unsettling as notice of an Ethics Audit, random or otherwise. Here are some observations and helpful insights for attorneys confronted with, or representing a colleague at, an audit.
>> NJ Law Journal August 11, 2014

 

Guardians at the Gate
My most widely-read article, this is an overview of the Committee on Character, written as a primer for the candidate and the practitioner who may be looking at an RG 303 hearing. There is little other literature on this topic.
>> NJ Law Journal June 9, 2014

 

A Rule That Is ‘More Honored in the Breach’
We all have an obligation to report unfit or unethical attorneys under RPC 8.3. Would you?
>> NJ Law Journal April 14, 2014

 

For various reasons, attorneys often respond to, or appear before, the Office of Attorney Ethics without professional advice or representation. This is usually foolish. I tell you why.
>> The Essex County Municipal Court Committee Newsletter September 2014

 

Reflections on the Fairness of Passion in Advocacy
>> I couldn't believe I was to have the opportunity to speak at this symposium. In choosing this satirical discourse, I wanted the audience to consider some of the ethical questions that arise from ardent, strident, or zealous argumentation.