CTLA asks to join Jacoby & Meyers v. Judges of the Superior Court: Argues that lawyer self regulation is at risk

CTLA’s principal argument against  Jacoby & Meyers’ bid to have a federal court judge enjoin enforcement of the state court rule barring non-lawyer investment in law firms is that allowing non-lawyers to own law firms would spell the end of lawyer self-regulation ” by creating a class of persons [non-lawyer investors / owners]  who would be in a position to control legal practices and yet would not fall under the authority of the Rules.”  In other words,  non-lawyer investors / owners would “incentivize” “their” lawyers to bring in money to the firm never mind the Rules. (Sound familiar?)   CTLA argues that the grievance process currently protects PI clients (one hopes this argument is off the mark; and that what protects PI clients is lawyer self-regulation), but that the grievance process would be of no use against unscrupulous non-lawyer investors / owners.  (But the grievance process would  still provide “protection” against lawyer misconduct. And then there might be malpractice insurance.  How would insurance companies underwrite malpractice risks for firms owned by non-lawyers?)  If allowed to join the case as an amici, CTLA will surely develop their arguments, which are important.

For CTLA’s Memorandum In Support of its Motion for Permission to Join as Amicus Curiae click here.

CBA files Motion to Participate in Jacoby & Myers v. Judges of the Superior Court

Representing the CBA, Bill Clendenen of Clendenen & Shea in New Haven,  filed the motion on September 13.  A copy of the motion (to which is attached a copy of The Constitution of the Connecticut Bar Association, Inc. is attached) can be found here. This is a good development for two reasons:  first,  if the Court grants the motion it means that Connecticut lawyers who object to the plaintiff’s attempt to bypass the normal rule making process for the Rules of Professional Conduct in Connecticut will be represented and second because Bill Clendenen, who once, together with Dave Lesser, headed the Law Reform Section of the New Haven Legal Assistance Association, is a first rate litigator.

The litigation of this case is likely to be very expensive.  Who is going to pay for it?  This would be a good time for lawyers who do not belong to the CBA to join. The CBA is an integral part of the legal profession in Connecticut.  It is hard to imagine what the profession would be like with the CBA and local bar associations.  To one extent or another every lawyer who is licensed to practice in Connecticut benefits from work of the CBA and local bar associations.  Lawyers who choose not to join may have their reasons but they nonetheless benefit from the CBA and local bar associations.  Now would be a good time to  pay one’s fair share by joining the CBA and one’s local bar association.  While some lawyers ask “what’s in it for me?” a better question is “how can I contribute to the profession?”  Among the good answers is this one: join the CBA and your local bar association.  To join the CBA click here .  For information about local and specialty bar associations click here.

UPDATE:  Judge Droney granted the CBA’s Motion To Participate on September 14th, 2011.

From The Guardian: Where there’s a will, the web can be the way

The Guardian is my favorite  UK newspaper.  The article, the title of which appears above, is in the Guardian’s Law Section.  Click here for the article,  which is about the continuing marriage between law and technology and DIY preparation of documents without using a lawyer.  Wouldn’t it make sense for law firms to have client only websites making possible for clients to provide information that could automatically be loaded into documents, such as wills, POA’s, etc so that, in effect, the first draft is created electronically through the use of templates, document assembly software and information provided by clients at their convenience?

”The rules of professional conduct effectively work to protect all those lawyers out there whose moral standing is just a hair’s breadth above your average mass murderer.”

The quote that serves as the title of this post is to be found in an opinion piece entitled  “Pay enough and you’ll always get the advice you want to hear” in the Syndey Morning Hearld. The opinion piece makes a familiar and not entirely unfair charge against the legal profession, meaning that people and corporations with the  money to do so can and sometimes do buy the reputations of well known, high priced law firms.  The problem is making such a charge is that there is no way to prove it or, for that matter, to disprove it.  Most law is practiced in private and most legal opinions and advice never see the light of day.  More specifically, while there is fodder for the opinion piece in the SMH, I can think of no case where it has become public that a lawyer said to a client, “My advice is don’t do it.  You’d be a damn fool to try it.”  Or, “An argument could be made to support what you want to do, but it may not pass the laugh test  and will not shield your company from suffering harm to its reputation.”    Or, “My firm will not do what you ask.” Such advice is surely given, often followed and rarely made public.

The quote, however, is a serious charge against the profession’s obligation to self-regulate.  To say that lawyer regulatory rules “effectively work to protect all those lawyers out there whose moral standing is just a hair’s breath above your average mass murderer,” is as thorough a disparagement of the major rules governing lawyer conduct as one could imagine.  And of course those rules did not write themselves; they were written and adopted by respected members of the profession at the national and state levels.

The opinion names the alleged source of that damning quote which turns out to be very close to home.  He is a highly respected law professor.  You’ll have to read the opinion to find out who he is.  If anyone knows where the quote came from – an article, book or lecture – I would appreciate it if you would let me know.  Provocative, even reckless, statements can open valuable, unexpected ways  of thinking about important subjects including the Rules of Professional Conduct.


Personal Injury Lawyers Set To Purchase Ambulance Company

Several partners in a prominent personal injury firm are rumored to be the owners of a company that is close to purchasing an ambulance company.

A lawyer who writes about the future of the legal profession, but who requested anonymity, said law firms are continually looking for ways to attract new business, to operate more efficiently and to provide more distinctive customer service. She declined, however, to speculate on the advertising and evidence gathering possibilities of personal injury lawyers owning an ambulance service.  See below:

Note:  Some of the above is, in all likelihood, pure fiction.