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The ABA Journal has reported the curious case of a solo practitioner, Donald Brown, who was suspended for misrepresenting his attendance at Internet-based CLE (and, also, reprimanded him for representing a client in a divorce case after they had been in an intimate relationship, giving rise to a material limitation conflict under its version of Rule 1.7 that was not consented to in writing by the client).
This caught my eye for both the reason for the suspension and
Continue Reading A Disciplinary Twofer in Maine

This blog is three years old. If it were a child it could recognize colors and would hopefully be potty trained, though it still might need an afternoon nap. It launched on October 24, 2019. Before covid. Before Giuliani had visible problems with melting hair and misdirected press conferences. Before the Kraken meant much outside of mythology and maybe crypto. Before my laptop walked away at LAX and nothing bad happened. While I hope to give
Continue Reading Three

Pre-pandemic, I used to occasionally guest lecture in ethics classes at Marquette University Law School. Remote learning and restricted campus access put that on pause, but I’m excited to say the pause is over. Next month, I’ll be back at Marquette, but tomorrow, I’ll be chatting with Dean Emeritus and Warren P. Knowles Chair Margaret Raymond’s professional responsibility class at UW Law School.
And, I’m sure, even if I don’t mention my blog, at least a few
Continue Reading Welcome, Law Students? I’m Sure You’ve Got Questions

First, apologies for the lengthy absence, but between Covid, recovering from Covid, and a dumpster fire of a September calendar, time has been scarce.
That’s an awkward intro to a short piece on lying about timekeeping and what you were doing, isn’t it?
Anyway, Above The Law has reported the case of a now-former Dentons associate in Illinois, who was assigned a document review project. In pop culture, document review has been portrayed as punitive, or potentially simple enough
Continue Reading There is Padding And Then There Is Whatever this Is

First, greetings from the Covid Penalty Box. The plague finally hit my household last week, and I’m in time out for a bit. I’m feeling okay enough, but I am not 100%. The good(?) news is I was supposed to be on vacation this week so my calendar was already clear. Sigh.Anyway, I am working a little bit this week (to make up for the work I couldn’t do while actively sick last week) and I have found I
Continue Reading Be Careful With That Group Chat, You Don't Know What Company You Keep

As I write this, I’ve spent the last two weeks preparing for and then actually in trial, with a two-day interruption for a nerd friend conference. I am finally done, and am using the one functioning brain cell I have that isn’t devoted to keeping me upright to write this, while it’s fresh.*
This post is directed at anyone who needs to deal with a lawyer after a major project is over, so I am going to write directly
Continue Reading The Care and Feeding of a Lawyer Who’s Finally Done With Something

I’ve been deep in trial prep the last few days (and ahead of seeing my nerd friends at the Chicago conference, but that doesn’t mean my phone hasn’t been utterly lit up, as happens whenever a lawyer does something dumb on television. From my office, with headphones on, I could hear the collective gasps of my friends as they watched Alex Jones and his lawyer Andino Reynal have a meltdown in real time yesterday.
What happened yesterday (some
Continue Reading What the heck… I mean you all saw that, right?

Recently, a viral Twitter conversation asked participants born before 1990 about their first online purchase. I’m really not sure—was it a book from the early days of Amazon? Some long-forgotten kitchen gadget? I know I was long out of college, but this was still when “e-commerce” was something distinct from just buying stuff. Even though it quickly became apparent that online shopping was secure, quick, and soon to be inevitable, it took awhile for people’s habits and risk tolerance
Continue Reading 21st Century Trust Account Rules? Petition Seeks To Simplify

Earlier this week, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced charges in four separate insider trading cases involving nine targets.
Relevant here is the case against Seth Markin (pdf), who is accused of looking through his then-girlfriend’s confidential work documents. The girlfriend, who is not named in the indictment, was an associate at a Washington DC law firm. The couple did not live together, but Markin spent significant time at her one-bedroom apartment, sometimes alone.
Continue Reading A Stark Reminder About Confidentiality

Late last week, I wrote about the case of Nathan DeLadurantey, who received a public reprimand for offensive personality involving harassment of a subordinate lawyer. A reader alerted me to the fact that the decision (which I linked to) appeared to be gone from the Supreme Court Website, and, in fact it is. I checked the court website and learned that as of July 2, the Court withdrew the opinion and will issue a revised one “in due
Continue Reading About Those Winds Again…

It’s been a busy few weeks for the Supreme Court of Wisconsin—like its federal counterpart, it releases a flurry of opinions before it quiets down for the summer (though unlike its federal counterpart, the Wisconsin Court does not have “Terms”). Although I do have an elections and political law practice, and there were a few opinions on which I have Thoughts, this blog isn’t about that, so I won’t be talking about those kinds of opinions unless there
Continue Reading The Wisconsin Disciplinary Winds May Be Shifting

This is a question that comes up more often, particularly as the lines between “work” and “home” continue to blur, and as more law firms implement bring-your-own-device policies. Although this question comes up most often with cell phones, the same concerns may arise with tablets, laptops, and other technology. Can lawyers use a single cell phone (or other device) for both work and personal purposes? Should they?
I do not believe there is a bright line here. There
Continue Reading Should Lawyers Have Separate Work and Personal Devices?

Unless you’re immersed in the Wisconsin legal world (and aren’t we all?) you may not know that Wisconsin does not permanently disbar lawyers. “Revocation” is the most serious penalty our Rules allow, but no matter how egregious the conduct leading to revocation, the attorney can petition the Supreme Court for reinstatement after five years.
Nobody is guaranteed reinstatement (in fact, that’s true of anyone suspended for six months or more), and certainly some misconduct is so unforgivable that
Continue Reading Will Lifetime Disbarment Be a Thing in Wisconsin?

Thirteen years ago today, I graduated from law school. I became a lawyer 13 years ago tomorrow. (Thank you, diploma privilege.) Combined with the fact that I was an older student, nine years out of undergrad when I started law school, now I am firmly middle aged and mid-career. I think that means I’m neither the target audience nor, well, the target, when people write derisively (or admiringly) about millennials or Boomers. (Generation X is perpetually forgotten
Continue Reading "Are Senior Lawyers Ruining The Profession?" No, But This Isn't Helping, Either.

I was in California this week for a family funeral, and I was prepared to write this blog entry about all of the grace and understanding colleagues and adversaries have shown. Extensions, offers to cover, and forgiveness for delays were free-flowing. And that’s true, and maybe I will write about that at some point, because this profession is a whole lot less horrible when we can acknowledge each other’s humanity.
No, today I’ll write about that time (today) someone
Continue Reading Wherein The Cobbler’s Children Actually Have Shoes For Once

Bloomberg Law is reporting that Vrdolyak Law Group, based in Illinois, has been sued in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for secretly recording employee phone calls and and meetings without permission, and then concealing their efforts.
Now, Illinois has some pretty stringent eavesdropping laws and is a two-party consent state, which means that absent particular circumstances, all parties to a conversation need to consent to recording it. So the particular course of action may
Continue Reading Play Invasion of Privacy Games, "Win" Invasion of Privacy Lawsuits