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My spouse is not a lawyer, but occasionally we run in the same professional circles. He’s had this conversation more than once:
Person: “Hey! How are things?”
Spouse: “Things are well. You?”
Person: “Not bad. I’ve been meaning to tell you, Stacie really helped me out with that grievance last month, so please thank her for me.”
Spouse: “Oh? I didn’t know.”
Person: “You didn’t?! Wow.”
I would like to say that the lawyers reading this understand why I
Continue Reading On That Imagined Spousal Exception to 1.6

By now, most of us are veterans at remote work (right)? In her State of the Judiciary address earlier this month, Wisconsin’s Chief Justice Annette Ziegler pointed out that some of the COVID-19 adaptations, including videoconferencing, were here to stay in at least some form.
And if we’re back in the office or never really left, we’ve mastered Zoom and navigating a deposition with dogs barking and the garbage truck backing up in the background. Whether law firms continue
Continue Reading To Spy or Not To Spy

Bad design aside, we’ve all probably hit “reply all” when “reply” was the better call.
But what happens when “all” includes the represented, opposing party? This came up at the APRL conference last week.
Lawyers sometimes copy their own clients on emails to opposing counsel. I recommend against this for several reasons, not the least of which is clients are humans and humans do weird things and weird things are worse when an exhibit sticker gets attached to them.
Continue Reading “Whyfor Put Send Button Right Next to Send All?”

Next week, the Association for Professional Responsibility Lawyers will hold its first conference in-person since early 2020. Everyone attending in person has been asked to submit proof of vaccination. I admit to over-excitement at sending that e-mail with the card. I’ve missed my nerd friends.
Those who do not wish to submit proof, for whatever reason, can attend virtually. And in any case, APRL is a voluntary bar and can make whatever vaccine rules it wants, and nobody is
Continue Reading Do Lawyers Have an Ethical Obligation to Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19?

The job market is hot, your student loan balance is, well, eek, and you’ve been asked to do some legal work on the side—maybe it’s document review for a contract firm, or overflow for a solo practitioner friend.
Can you ethically do this?
Tread carefully, if at all.
First, check with your employer. Your firm or agency may have specific rules governing side work—and this may extend to non-lawyer employment such as teaching as an adjunct at a law
Continue Reading Can Lawyers Moonlight?

Yes, I am running out of puns, and this is information isn’t breaking news anymore, but 110-page opinions have bad habits of dropping while I’m on vacation.
Anyway, while I was gone, Hon. Linda Parker of the Eastern District of Michigan sanctioned several attorneys, including Sidney Powell and Lin Wood and a few less famous, but all associated with the post-election “Kraken” litigation. My nerd friend Don Campbell did his best with exceedingly bad facts, but.
This is a
Continue Reading Crackin’ the Kraken!

A quick reminder from our friends at the State Bar of Wisconsin: it is pretty much always scamming season and attorneys are not at all immune. The Inside Track newsletter this week offers some practical tips for recognizing and avoiding trust account scams. You can also check out my blog entry on this phenomenon and my sad personal experience with it from last year.
Continue Reading Beware the Trust Account Scam, Part 6,829,123

No, this entry isn’t about what happens when a lawyer gets disciplined or is facing discipline for criminal conduct and then gets pardoned for the conduct. I might write about that, given that recently became an issue. Anyhow. Greetings to all of you new people who visited me through the Legal Talk Today podcast (give it a listen here) or through my interview with the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Inside Track (watch here). And, sorry all of
Continue Reading Pardon the Light Blogging

Over the weekend, mythical sea creature /(probably) soon-to-be-sanctioned lawyer Sidney Powell announced that she was joining a legal team to aid who she termed “political prisoners” (people who are accused of participating in the January 6 insurrection and are now in jail).
While, okay, everyone deserves a defense, what caught my eye was that this announcement was, of course, attached to a request for donations to Powell’s 501(c)(4). It is not clear whether donations would actually go to some
Continue Reading Crowdfund the Kraken! Crowdfunding Legal Fees

Years ago, before law school, I talked to a friend who was a junior associate in a big law firm in a big city. I asked her about her work day and she said it was often 9-to-5. I responded with surprise, and she corrected me: “No, 9 am to 5 am. But not all the time. It can be 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays.”
She was sort of joking, and sort of not. But more and
Continue Reading Does Diligent Representation Mean I have to Answer Client e-mails on Weekends?

Like most ethics lawyers, I get questions about how to respond to online criticism fairly often. Of course, lawyers have always endured criticism, but until relatively recently, the comments were made around water coolers and on the courthouse steps, and maybe in a grievance filing. Newspaper editors generally didn’t publish letters about attorneys who weren’t otherwise public figures. Now, however, everyone has a platform and anyone can post a scathing review about anyone for any reason.
To that end,
Continue Reading Responding to Internet Criticism, Re-Re-Revisited

Well, well, well. It seems that the attorney for the former president, landscaping company press conference aficionado, and frequent target of ridicule Rudy Giuliani needs to take an indefinite time out in New York, as his license to practice law there has been suspended on an interim basis pending investigation.
The basis for this suspension is set forth in this order from the First Judicial Department, but briefly summarized, in New York, an attorney can be suspended prior to
Continue Reading Wait, my law license can be suspended without a hearing?

Mike Lindell may have once been known only as the “MyPillow” Guy,” but recently he’s traded polyurethane foam for horsefeathers.
(It’s been really hot and humid out this weekend, sorry.)
Last week, Lindell filed suit against Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic (voting hardware and software companies). The complaint alleges…well, it’s here, it’s 82 pages, and alleges a lot of things. Defamation, RICO Act violations, deprivation of civil rights under color of law under 42 USC 1983 (despite none
Continue Reading MyPillowCase: Lessons Learned?

I’m writing this after 4 pm the Friday before Memorial Day. Throughout the day, I’ve received multiple communications, from multiple agencies and entities, giving me bad news about multiple clients. (To be fair, I had a good-client-news week overall so perhaps today was overdue.)I get that agency investigators and court clerks want to get things off their desk before the weekend. And I get that in some cases (such as summary suspensions) the timing is what it is, and
Continue Reading "We have bad news for your client! Enjoy your long weekend!"

I’ve been practicing law for 12 years. I worked at a very tiny firm right out of law school and did not do a lot of litigation. On the rare occasion we needed to redact something, it happened with a Sharpie or, if we were feeling fancy, with a pair of scissors. Software existed, of course, but it was expensive and for what we did, unnecessary.
Now, however, redaction typically happens with software. I learned quickly that there is
Continue Reading Another Day, Another Bad Redaction