Legal Ethics & Malpractice Reporter, Vol. 5, No. 6

Published: 3 July 2024

EDITED BY: Professor Mike Hoeflich

PUBLISHED BY: Joseph, Hollander & Craft LLC

June 30, 2024


FEATURE ARTICLE: The Supreme Court’s Confidentiality Breach

It seems that the Supreme Court is in the media more and more these days—and not only for its decisions. For the second time in just a few months, a draft opinion of the Court was leaked—this time onto the Court’s own website. It does seem like an extraordinary coincidence that it has happened twice on the same subject: abortion. Indeed, there are few topics in current American society that are more controversial and about which people’s passions run higher than that of abortion law. Many lawyers and court watchers suspect both leaks were deliberate. However, even if it one or both were inadvertent, one must ask what the ethical aspects of leaking Supreme Court documents should be.

A simple observation—that many of the Court personnel are lawyers—provokes two questions:

  1. What if the origin of the leak is a licensed attorney (other than the Justices themselves)?
  2. What would be the ethical consequences of leaking these draft opinions?

. . .


NEW AUTHORITY: Hunter Biden’s Ethical Woes

The news recently has been full of Hunter Biden’s legal troubles. A federal district court in Delaware has now convicted him of firearm charges. He has denied these charges, and his lawyer has stated quite clearly that he will appeal the convictions. Days after this guilty jury verdict, however, Hunter was “immediately suspended” from the practice of law by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Many lawyers outside the District of Columbia may wonder why such a rapid suspension of his D.C. law license followed his conviction in Delaware.

First, like most American jurisdictions, the District of Columbia courts and bar retain the right to act on criminal convictions and disciplinary sanctions other jurisdictions have imposed on a lawyer. Second, like other jurisdictions, the D.C. code of professional responsibility considers it a disciplinary violation when a lawyer is convicted of a crime. But the District of Columbia’s Code of Professional Responsibility also specifies that the Court has an immediate responsibility to act when a member of the bar is convicted of a crime, even before a full disciplinary investigation and hearing has been conducted.

. . .


ETHICS & MALPRACTICE RESEARCH TIP: New Articles from the Current Index to Legal Periodicals

1. Jon M. Garon, Ethics 3.0-Attorney Responsibility in the Age of Generative Ai, 79 Bus. Law. 209 (2024).

Artificial Intelligence—particularly generative AI, i.e., machine learning or large language models (LMM)—continues to dominate legal ethical discussions. This is a useful contribution.

2. Eve Brensike Primus, The Problematic Structure of Indigent Defense Delivery, 122 Mich. L. Rev. 207 (2023).

We cannot ignore indigent defense and its ethical implications. Here is a useful discussion.

A BLAST FROM THE PAST: A Cynical Take on the Legal Profession

If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.

—Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop 255 (1848).


About Joseph, Hollander & Craft LLC

Joseph, Hollander & Craft is a mid-size law firm representing criminal defense, civil defense, personal injury, and family law clients throughout Kansas and Missouri. From our offices in Kansas City, Lawrence, Overland Park, Topeka and Wichita, our team of 25 attorneys covers a lot of ground, both geographically and professionally.

We defend against life-changing criminal prosecutions. We protect children and property in divorce cases. We pursue relief for clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries or the death of a loved one due to the negligence of others. We fight allegations of professional misconduct against medical and legal practitioners, accountants, real estate agents, and others.

When your business, freedom, property, or career is at stake, you want the attorney standing beside you to be skilled, prepared, and relentless — Ready for Anything, come what may. At JHC, we pride ourselves on offering outstanding legal counsel and representation with the personal attention and professionalism our clients deserve. Learn more about our attorneys and their areas of practice, and locate a JHC office near you.

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