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Ethics Articles

Following are ethics-related articles from The Florida Bar News and The Florida Bar Journal.

Ethics articles from the Florida Bar News

Ethics articles from the Florida Bar Journal

Face-Off on Facebook: Judges and Lawyers as Social Media “Friends” in a Post-Herssein World

Should a judge be disqualified from a case based solely on a Facebook friendship with one of the attorneys? The Florida Supreme Court recently answered the question in the negative in Law Offices of Herssein & Herssein, P.A. v. United Servs. Auto. Ass’n, Case No. SC17-1848, 2018 Fla. LEXIS 2209 (Fla. Nov. 15, 2018), when…

Leaving Law Firms with Client Fees: Florida’s Path

When a lawyer leaves a firm with a client in tow, who has a right to the fees ultimately paid? The question is the most heated, and generally the most consequential, when a contingent fee is involved, although it also arises in the case of an hourly-fee matter. At a minimum, the firm of origin…

Up in Smoke or Down in Flames? A Florida Lawyer’s Legal and Ethical Risks in Advising a Marijuana Industry Client

With the passage in Florida and other states of laws permitting medical and recreational use of marijuana, lawyers are being asked to provide legal advice and legal services to the so-called “legal marijuana” industry. These lawyers should think carefully before dispensing advice. Despite what the states and advocates may say, legal marijuana does not exist….

When Charitable Gift Agreements Go Bad: Why a Morals Clause Should be Contained in Every Charitable Gift Agreement

Tyco International was a small New Hampshire conglomerate in 1991. In 1992, Tyco appointed Dennis Kozlowski as CEO. He led the company for 10 years, during which Tyco became a global giant doing business in over 100 countries and having an annual revenue over $40 billion.1 Kozlowski was living the high life in a $31…

When Can a Lawyer Communicate With Your Client?

On December 10, 2010, The Florida Bar Board of Bar Governors unanimously approved Ethics Opinion 09-1. The opinion concludes that a lawyer may not communicate with government officers, directors, or employees who are directly involved or whose acts can be imputed to the government entity in a represented matter about the subject matter of the…

Inadvertent Document Productions and the Threat of Attorney Disqualification

Before you embark on the journey of revenge, dig two graves. –Proverb Imagine a scenario in which a particularly obnoxious opposing counsel dumps 10,000 pages of documents on your doorstep three weeks late and the day before a hearing on a motion to compel. Seven hours later, frustrated and bleary-eyed from mind-numbing review, you stumble…

Metadata: The Ghosts Haunting e-Documents

Metadata is “data about data.”2 A lthough it sounds quite modern, one form of metadata is no doubt familiar to every lawyer: The “fax band” on a document received by facsimile that shows the time and date the fax was received, the number from which it came, and the number of pages sent. A fax…

Views from a Former Member of a Grievance Committee: Hot Buttons for the Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Attorney

I have had the great opportunity to serve on three grievance committees for a total of nine years. I would like to say my participation on the committee has been purely altruistic, but experience has taught me I am not often “purely altruistic.” When I opened my own practice in 1990, I realized that I…