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LEMR vol. 2 no. 10

Table of Contents

Featured Topic

ABA Formal Opinion 500

New Authority

NCSB Opinion 2, 2021: A Lawyer’s Professional Responsibility in Identifying and Avoiding Counterfeit Checks

Ethics and Malpractice Program

Kansas Law Review Symposium 2021: Judicial Conduct and Misconduct

A Blast from the Past

Honest Lawyers

EDITED BY: Professor Mike Hoeflich

PUBLISHED BY: Joseph, Hollander & Craft LLC

Featured Topic

ABA Formal Opinion 500

The United States is becoming a more diverse nation in virtually every way, and this increasing diversity is impacting the legal profession in significant ways as well. One aspect of our nation’s increasing diversity is linguistic. For more and more Americans, English is not a first language, and, in some cases, English proficiency is low. According to a new opinion issued by the ABA Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility:

In 2013, approximately 61.6 million individuals, foreign and U.S. born, spoke a language other than English at home. While the majority of these individuals also spoke English with native fluency or very well, about 41 percent (25.1 million) were considered as having Limited English Proficiency (LEP), which is defined as speaking English “less than very well.” Jie Zong & Jeanne Batalova, The Limited English Proficient Population in the United States in 2013, MIGRATION POLICY INSTITUTE (July 8, 2015) [hereinafter Limited English Proficient Population], https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/limited-english-proficient-population-united-states-2013. 2019 data from the U.S. Census bureau estimates that 22% of households in the U.S. speak a language other than English in the home. U.S. CENSUS BUREAU SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES (2019)…

New Authority

NCSB Opinion 2, 2021: A Lawyer’s Professional Responsibility in Identifying and Avoiding Counterfeit Checks

On July 16, 2021, the North Carolina State Bar issued an ethics opinion that should be of interest to lawyers in every state. It deals with the ethical responsibilities of a lawyer who receives a check from a questionable source for a client which turns out to be part of a “scam.” The facts as laid out by the opinion are as follows:

Client contacted Lawyer seeking to collect debt from a third party. Client’s communication with Lawyer was unsolicited – Lawyer does not advertise for his practice, and Lawyer had not previously solicited Client’s business. Client provided Lawyer with documentation supporting Client’s claim. Lawyer made preliminary investigation and verified the existence and address of third party. Lawyer contracted with Client to file a lawsuit against third party for the amount owed to Client. A few days after Lawyer sent third party a letter introducing himself as Client’s representative, third party contacted Lawyer stating that he wished to pay the amount owed to Client without the need for litigation, and that third party would be back in touch to make payment arrangements. Without further communication with third party, Lawyer subsequently received a cashier’s check from third party drawn on an out-of-country bank. The cashier’s check was dated prior to third party’s earlier conversation with Lawyer, and third party did not mention the cashier’s check to Lawyer. Third party’s note also stated that he would pay the remainder of debt owed to Client within weeks. Lawyer did no further investigation of third party and did not investigate the authenticity of the foreign bank cashier’s check.

Unfortunately for the lawyer, it turned out that the check from the third party was a fraud and uncollectible. Further, this “counterfeit check scam” is, according to the opinion, one that has been used against countless lawyers and law firms throughout the United States and one about which numerous state and federal agencies have issued warning bulletins.

Ethics and Malpractice Program

Kansas Law Review Symposium 2021: Judicial Conduct and Misconduct

This month, rather than providing scholarly articles for review, the LEMR invites its readers to participate in what promises to be an excellent and informative program with legal ethics scholars from across the nation.

For the 2021 Kansas Law Review Symposium, the University of Kansas Law Review has put together a program titled:

Judicial Conduct & Misconduct: A Review of Judicial Behavior from Sexting to Discrimination

The Symposium will take place virtually on November 15, 2021, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., and it will feature a panel of judicial ethics experts discussing judicial conduct and misconduct, guidelines necessary to promote ethical behavior, and reforms needed to prevent any similar conduct in the future.

JHC Criminal Defense attorney Christopher Joseph will be presenting along with a host of additional distinguished experts on the subject.

A Blast from the Past

Honest Lawyers

To prove that lawyers honest are

In vain alas you try

While truth may be within their words

Their actions always lie.

 

From Edward R. Johnes, Briefs by a Barrister (1879).

Download a PDF version of the Legal Ethics & Malpractice Reporter, vol. 2, no. 10 via the button below.

About LEMR

The Legal Ethics & Malpractice Reporter (LEMR) is a monthly publication covering current developments in ethics and malpractice law. This popular, free publication, with close to 8,000 current subscribers, was envisioned by KU Law professor Mike Hoeflich, who serves as the publication’s editor in chief. In partnership with Professor Hoeflich, JHC’s legal ethics and malpractice group is pleased to publish this monthly online periodical to help attorneys better understand the evolving landscape of legal ethics, professional responsibility, and malpractice.

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About Joseph, Hollander & Craft LLC

Joseph, Hollander & Craft is one of the premier litigation firms in Kansas. From our offices in Kansas CityLawrenceOverland ParkTopeka and Wichita, the firm’s attorneys aggressively represent our clients in cases in Kansas, Missouri, and across the United States. When we can’t resolve our clients’ problems with practical recommendations and reasonable negotiations, we use our experience and skills to control the litigation and produce decisive results.

When your business, your freedom, your property, or your career is at stake, you want the attorney standing beside you to be skilled, prepared, and relentless. We undertake complex contract and civil rights litigation, defend against life-changing criminal prosecutions, protect children and property in divorce and family law cases, and battle claims of professional misconduct against attorneys, doctors, judges, accountants, real estate agents, and others.