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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

Last month, I wrote about the 65 Project and wondered out loud about attorney discipline by popular acclaim.I remain wondering/ambivalent about that particular mechanism, but the folks at the Monroe H. Freedman Institute for Legal Ethics at Hofstra University’s Deane School of Law have invited me and a fantastic panel of others—including Michael Teter, the 65 Project’s executive director—to have that conversation at a Zoom event, “Holding Trump’s Lawyers Accountable.”The panel begins at 5:10 PM Central/6:10 PM
Continue Reading Put a Question Out to the Universe and the Universe Responds

This week, we learned about a new group, the 65 Project, dedicated to seeking professional discipline for lawyers involved in President Trump’s post-election litigation. Already, complaints have been filed with several states’ regulators. The “65” refers to the number of post-election lawsuits that were filed, that, in the group’s words, were “based on lies to overturn the election and give Trump a second term.”

Here in Wisconsin, the group has filed a grievance against GOP attorneys James Troupis
Continue Reading So, What Do We All Think About the 65 Project?

Remember getting accosted at cocktail parties and weddings? Your cousin’s date found out you’re a lawyer and has a question or twelve for you about their esoteric legal issue. Before you can get a word in, you’ve learned that the date lives in Oregon, the problem arose in Florida, and involves various distinctions between importing live poultry and importing poultry that has been processed for retail grocery sale.
Or, more commonly these days, you fire up your social media
Continue Reading “So, Great Party Here, Mind If I Ask You A Few Questions About Admiralty Law?”

(Alternative Title: Everything You Never Wanted To Know About Sex With Clients But Didn’t Even Think To Ask)
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.
Model Rule 1.8(j) (Wisconsin counterpart here) is the one Rule (other than, perhaps, don’t steal from your clients) that non-lawyers seem to know. Not that this has ever been polled, but if I had to guess, it’s the Rule that attorneys other than professional responsibility lawyers can cite most often without looking up. Law students try
Continue Reading Roses are Red, Rainclouds are Gray, What You Want With Your Client Breaks 1.8(j)

Yesterday, I failed to follow my own advice and answered a “social media subpoena.” You know the social media subpoena—the tag on Facebook or the mention on Twitter or the [whatever] on [platform I don’t use], from someone who wants you to answer a legal question.I typically advise people to tread carefully before answering those questions and then maybe not answer them at all—they may not be competent to answer; they may unknowingly have or be creating a conflict;
Continue Reading Wherein the Author Tries To Explain 3.1 Using Bad Math Analogies