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I am mired in hearing prep and other work, so blogging has been and will be a little bit sparse for a bit.
In the meantime, if you’ve missed me, check out my debut as an ethics columnist in the Wisconsin Lawyer. I’ll be writing in every other issue, and the editor is letting me snark there too. I’m just not allowed to write about politics, though I was able to sneak in a Kanye 2020 reference.
Continue Reading Wisconsin Lawyer: Now Featuring Bonus Ethicking

It’s August so that means new law students are arriving, and 2L/3Ls are starting their upper-level classes. (Anyone have anything from this blog on their syllabus? A girl can dream.)
First, welcome, new law students! I wrote a little Q&A last year that may be helpful.
Something I didn’t write about last year was a fairly common phenomenon among my classmates, and I am sure it is common among yours as well—six weeks into law school, people are going
Continue Reading The Most Dangerous ‘Lawyer’ in the World is a 1L with a Westlaw Password

It’s early August, which means I am at the APRL Annual Meeting hanging with my nerd friends and learning about collateral estoppel, generative AI, and interstate practice, and other important topics in legal ethics and disciplinary defense. While I am sure I will have more to say about all of this in coming weeks, for today, I am excited to announce that I have been elected to a second two-year term on APRL’s Board of Directors. I’ve
Continue Reading Greetings from Denver

I am a bit late to report this, but in June 2023, the State Bar of Wisconsin Ethics Committee (on which I sit) released Formal Opinion EF-23-01, “Responding to Online Criticism.” In most cases, the Committee’s recommendation as to whether to respond to negative posts on social media or professional review sites is “don’t”:
Synopsis: A lawyer may not reveal information relating to the representation of a client in response to online criticism of the lawyer without the affected
Continue Reading It’s Better to Remain Silent and Be Thought a [Bad Lawyer] Than to Speak Online and Remove All Doubt

Over the weekend, we learned that the California State Bar “suspend[ed] 1,600 attorneys for violating rules set up after Tom Girardi allegedly stole millions.” At first blush, this sounds horrible—this many attorneys did what now? However, what that really means is that these lawyers neglected to comply with new trust account requirements (including registering their trust accounts with the State Bar, completing an annual self-assessment, and certifying that they understand and comply with trust account rules). As
Continue Reading ‘Enrolled as inactive’? ‘Administratively Suspended’? What does that mean?

A committee of the District of Columbia Board on Professional Responsibility has recommended disbarment for America’s Mayor/Trump sycophant Rudy Giuliani. His DC woes aren’t over yet—this recommendation needs to be considered by the full Board and then the DC Court of Appeals (pictured here from our recent trip, because there is no free Rudy stock art integrated into Squarespace).
And, this is only adding to his other woes, which have been a frequent topic of discussion on this
Continue Reading Giuiliani, Here We Go Again

At least part of the 2020 election is coming to a close, as Lin Wood, once highly regarded for defending Richard Jewell, but now reduced to Kraken (or perhaps Kraken-adjacent) fame, is retiring his law license. He has been mired in disciplinary and sanctions proceedings for many months, and it appears to be coming to an unceremonious end. I admit I have no idea how this works in Georgia. In Wisconsin, where I practice, lawyers facing disciplinary investigations
Continue Reading Retire the Kraken!

Effective today, July 1, 2023, Wisconsin trust account rules have sort-of caught up with the rest of the country, and finally acknowledge that electronic transactions really aren’t that scary.
Under the Rules applicable from 2016 to yesterday (which the Wisconsin Lawyer optimistically described as “modernizing” the way these things are handled), if lawyers wanted to accept electronic transactions (including credit cards) for advanced fees, they either had to set up a separate “e-banking trust account” or, if
Continue Reading Farewell (?) E-banking Trust Account Rules, We Hardly Knew You

So I was in DC last week, and, shockingly, offline for most of it.
We’ve missed a few things while I was gone:

  • The judge in the Mata v. Avianca Inc. litigation, better known as the case with the ChatGPT lawyers, has sanctioned said ChatGPT lawyers $5,000 and ordered them to send their client and, curiously, the judges “falsely identified as the author of the fake . . . opinions” the sanctions order, the transcript of the motion

Continue Reading While I Was Out, All of the Sanctions Happened

We in Wisconsin are in the middle of the State Bar Annual Meeting & Conference, right here in Milwaukee. The venue is a couple of blocks from my office so I’ve been and will be popping out.
So far, I’ve seen a few of my clients who I’ve never met in person before—I caught their name tag out of the corner of my eye, or recognized their voice from phone calls. I did not stop and approach them.
Continue Reading Why I Didn’t Say "Hi" at the State Bar Conference

Remember when you were a kid, you were told not to copy directly from the encyclopedia? (I guess that’s an age test.)  And then at some point you were told not to rely on Wikipedia for research, because any random yahoo could edit it? And then regardless of whether you graduated last year or 50 years ago, the consequences for plagiarism, which were supposed to be swift and severe, were drilled into your head at the start of every
Continue Reading Where does AI go from here?

This question was posed by the State Bar of Wisconsin on its social media today, and because I am on deadline and should be writing about [things that are my actual work] and instead I am procrastinating, I responded with a small treatise. But it’s a topic I think is worthy of more exploration, particularly as new graduates get sworn in (thank you diploma privilege) and start working. There will be growing pains. I am 14 years
Continue Reading “When did you feel like you really ‘became’ a lawyer?”

Yesterday, I (and several of my nerd friends, as it would turn out) spoke with Benjamin Penn for an article that ran today in Bloomberg Law about outgoing US Attorney Rachel Rollins, who was found by the Department of Justice’s inspector general to have engaged in wide-ranging violations of government ethics rules. I am not an expert in federal government ethics, far from it, so I stuck to the disciplinary implications of the alleged misconduct.
Relevant here, and
Continue Reading Talking Honestly About Honesty (When You Can’t Really Talk About Government Ethics)

A couple of years ago (has it been that long? Has it only been a couple of years?) I wrote about Sidney Powell (of Kraken election lolsuit fame) and her attempt to join a legal defense team for January 6 insurrectionists, and also crowdfund her 501(c)(4)*–which may or may not have been connected to that effort. I was skeptical then (and spent most of the blog entry talking about crowdfunding legal services, generally). I couldn’t find any information about
Continue Reading Crowdfunding, Re-(Re?) Visited

Hi folks!
The problem with telling the whole world that you blog regularly about legal ethics is that you have to actually do it. And when you’ve got an elections practice in an election month, and you teach dentists, and then you take a spring break trip, and then your kid takes up soccer, and then you end up with a nasty cold, and also you have your actual work, “regularly” becomes aspirational, rather than actual.
So, I am
Continue Reading A Belated Update So I Don’t Trigger 8.4(c) By Saying I Blog “Regularly”

“After completing his time on the Supreme Court, Daniel Kelly provided legal counsel to several clients, amongst which were the RNC and RPW,” [Kelly’s spokesman Jim] Dick said (paywalled, sorry). “It is a maxim in the legal profession that the views of clients are not attributable to their attorneys.”This is Wisconsin, so that means there’s yet another election coming up, this time for Supreme Court Justice (among others). This Blog Is Not About Politics but I will remind everyone
Continue Reading Is there really that much daylight between a lawyer and client?