Lessons from a Killer: Legal Ethics and Empathy
Remember the lessons of crisis and peril. From today, dear colleagues, act as if we need each other, as if we’ll be there for each other in times of need—because we will be.
>> NJ Law Journal April 14, 2020
Professions, Professionals and Professionalism
We must act as one would expect of a member in good standing of this dignified and honorable profession. And what, pray tell, is that? What behavior and what demeanor characterize the reasonably professional attorney in the 21st century?
>> NJ Law Journal February 10, 2020
The Dismembering of Bar Associations: An American Tragedy
The next time you receive an invitation to join a bar association or attend one of their events, see this as an opportunity. Besides helping your career, you would be supporting an endangered species.
>> NJ Law Journal December 6, 2019
Lawyers and Tradition: Justice Albin Takes Center Stage
The Justice reminded us that traditions are not immutable. In fact, much of what we call tradition is merely some social value played out in a public forum more than once.
>> NJ Law Journal October 11, 2019
The Fifth Annual TWITA Awards: Honoring the Profession’s Best
TWITA, the acronym for "That's What I'm Talking About," is awarded annually to individuals and organizations for exceptional service to the legal profession and their commitment to just causes.
>> NJ Law Journal September 9, 2019
What on Earth Were You Thinking? Getting Caught Breaking the Rules
Many lawyers believe that receiving an Ethics Complaint is a worst-case scenario. Not so. Things can still get worse.
>> NJ Law Journal March 21, 2019
'Jersey Jones': Ordinary Lawyers and the Quest for the Morphing Truth
As lawyers, we wear many hats. Among them is a crown designating us Keepers of the Truth. We didn’t ask for it. It came with job. Good luck with the quest.
>> NJ Law Journal November 8, 2018
'Quicksand! Multijurisdictional Law Firms and the Unauthorized Practice of Law'
Today's multijurisdictional practice is likely to be a solo or small partnership, house counsel, legal staff member, or good Samaritan swirled into the interconnectivity of the modern legal milieu.
>> NJ Law Journal August 2, 2018
'The Second Annual TWITA Awards'
This year's honorees join a long line—well, a short line, really; more like a hyphen—of previous TWITA award winners whose service to the profession has been extraordinary.
>> NJ Law Journal May 31, 2018
'The Attorney’s Field Guide to Losing Your License'
A DIY handbook for going beyond censure. Refer to this guide when you sense you’re near the line or you don’t know where the line is.
>> NJ Law Journal April 6, 2018
'‘I Wasn’t Myself’: Mental Illness and Legal Ethics'
The attorney disciplinary system in New Jersey is structured to allow—nay, to encourage —treatment and rehabilitation.
>> NJ Law Journal February 15, 2018
The 'Legato' Case: Lawyers, Sex Crimes and the Great Conundrum
A look at a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling in a disciplinary matter, which attracted abundant pubic attention, and where the majority opinion and the dissent — at complete loggerheads — are both right.
>> NJ Law Journal October 30, 2017
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
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
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
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
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.