Category Archives: Professional Liability

Attorneys: A Common Interest Agreement May Not Be Worth the Paper It’s Written On

It is a very common practice for counsel to co-defendants or co-plaintiffs to enter into agreements that shield their communications. The agreements are expressions of intent that the communications will be protected by the “common interest doctrine” that extends the attorney-client privilege to discussions with parties that share a common interest. Under the doctrine, the …

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You’re Hired: President Trump Introduces Ethics Pledge For His Appointees With Serious Departures from Obama’s Ethics Pledge

On January 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that requires all full-time political appointees to sign an ethics pledge (the “Trump ethics pledge”) that “contractually” binds them to certain ethical standards.  The Trump ethics pledge supersedes and is different from the ethics pledge that President Obama required appointees to sign during his administration …

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Professional Liability: Punishing Effect of Rule 11 in Keister v. PPL Corp.

Federal courts correct bad litigation behavior, eventually. People take being sued personally, and lawsuits can take an emotional toll on defendants, whether as an individual or as a representative of an employer. Anger and frustration always lead to the same questions: Can we sanction them for lying? Can I get my fees (or my insurance …

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Panama Papers: What Attorneys Can Learn from History’s Largest Data Breach

On April 3, 2016 the public learned that millions of client documents from the Panamanian law firm and corporate services provider Mossack Fonseca & Co. (MF) had made their way to an international organization, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), and that the information would be used to publish potentially damaging stories. In addition, …

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Case of First Impression: Federal Circuit Endorses Patent-Agent Privilege

In a case of first impression regarding whether communications between a non-lawyer patent agent and a client are legally privileged, a split panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that a patent-agent privilege is warranted on a limited basis where an agent is engaged in the congressionally endorsed, authorized practice …

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Panama Papers

Lawyers in the United States Should Pay Attention to the Panama Papers

The Panamanian law firm that was the source of the “Panama Papers” says it was hacked, exposing its clients’ personal and financial data to the world. For American lawyers subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct, the problems facing the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca should serve as a reminder to take extra care to secure electronic data.  Lawyers …

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healthcare exchanges

A Twisting Path: Illinois Licensure Actions Against Physicians, Nursing Home Administrators, Nurses, and Other Professionals

The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (the Department), Division of Professional Regulation (the Division), regulates the licenses of numerous professionals in the health care fields, including physicians, nurses, nursing home administrators, and many others. For health care professionals facing an investigation, hearing, or potential disciplinary action related to alleged misconduct, the Division’s process …

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Is Your LinkedIn Profile Violating Attorney Advertising Rules? Depends.

The vast majority of lawyers have a LinkedIn page. Or if they don’t, their marketing department will make them create one eventually. Some use LinkedIn to build their profile and network, others to promote success, articles and speaking engagements. But is a LinkedIn page lawyer advertising and, if so, what must lawyers do to be …

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Third Circuit Federal Appeals Court Rules Attorneys Have Right to Publish Praise from Judges

A federal appeals court issued a ruling yesterday that attorneys have a First Amendment right to publish ads that quote judges praising them, a decision that reverses a lower court ruling. The case involves a New Jersey employment attorney, Andrew Dwyer, who initially published praise from two jurists on his website.  The published quotes were excerpts from …

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Supreme Court Makes Landmark Rulings on Attorney Fees in Patent Cases

On April 29th,  the U.S. Supreme Court made it much easier to recover attorney fees in patent lawsuits, issuing two unanimous landmark decisions overruling Federal Circuit precedent. The statute at issue, 35 U.S.C. §285, allows for the court to award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party in “exceptional cases.” Since its decision in Brooks Furniture Mfg., Inc. v. …

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