In a recent opinion, the Massachusetts Committee on Judicial Ethics ruled that a judge may ethically maintain a Twitter account as long as the judge complies with the Code of Judicial Conduct and the judge is cautious about selecting accounts to follow on Twitter. The opinion said that the judge requested the Committee’s advice concerning the judge’s continued use of Twitter… read more →

In a major new ethics opinion, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility indicated that lawyers must take reasonable efforts to ensure that communications with clients are secure and not subject to inadvertent or unauthorized security breaches. Notably, and for the first time, the opinion says that, in some circumstances, lawyers would.. read more →

Jay Jason Chatarpau, Esq., a New Jersey employment discrimination attorney, represented Rameena Khan in a lawsuit claiming that her employer, Rite Aid stores, among others, discriminated against her on the basis of age, race, sex, ethnicity or national origin, in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Hon. Christine A. Farrington, J.S.C., presided over a.. read more →

The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled that an attorney who drafted a client’s Last Will and Testament may be sued for legal malpractice by a beneficiary of the will even though the beneficiary of the will is not the attorney’s client. Thorsen v. Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Va., No. 150528,.. read more →

Attorney advertising that mentions awards, honors, and accolades such as “Super Lawyers,” “Best Lawyers,” “Superior Attorney,” numerical ratings, and the like has apparently prompted the filing of many complaints with the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Attorney Advertising. As a result, the Committee recently issued a notice to the State Bar Association reminding New.. read more →

The Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, appointed by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, recently issued Opinion 53 in which the Court considered weather non-lawyers who assisted applicants and beneficiaries in applying for Medicaid benefits were engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. The Court identified the non-lawyers providing Medicaid assistance as “Medicaid.. read more →

In order to protect the public and and guard against elder abuse by lawyers, the New Jersey Supreme Court suspended an attorney from the practice of law for one-year after the attorney borrowed nearly $90,000 from an elderly, unsophisticated widow who he knew for many years. In the Matter of William J. Torre, an Attorney.. read more →

A Florida appeals court upheld a judgment of $350,000 in a lawsuit filed by a lawyer against her former client alleging defamation based on negative reviews of the lawyer posted on the internet by the former client. Blake v. Giustibelli, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 4th DCA, No. 4D14-3231, 1/6/2016), 2016 WL _______. Florida Attorney Ann-Marie.. read more →

After plaintiffs lost the money they had invested in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme, they sued the attorney who represented the Ponzi scheme operator. The Ponzi scheme operator, Antoinette Hodgson, had claimed to own a real estate investment business. During the time period in which the plaintiffs invested with Hodgson, the defendant.. read more →

On March 10, 2015, the New York County Lawyers Association (“NYCLA”) weighed in on the ethics of using the social media website “LinkedIn” for professional self-promotion by lawyers. Formal Opinion 748 addresses the ethical implications of LinkedIn profiles. Specifically, the opinion addresses (1) whether a LinkedIn Profile is considered “Attorney Advertising,” (2) when it is.. read more →

As a general rule, an attorney hired to prepare a will or trust for a client is usually not liable to the beneficiaries of the will or trust because the beneficiaries are not clients of the attorney. But there are exceptions to the general rule. The general rule and its exceptions are demonstrated in two.. read more →

Plaintiffs John J. Robertelli and Gabriel Adamo, two New Jersey defense counsel charged with ethics violations involving the use of Facebook in a litigation, lost their bid to dismiss the ethics charges. Plaintiffs’ law firm represented defendants Borough of Oakland, the Borough of Oakland Police Department, and a police sergeant in a lawsuit filed by.. read more →

Florida’s Supreme Court ruled that non-lawyers who engage in various Medicaid planning activities are engaging in the unlicensed practice of law. The Florida Bar Re: Advisory Opinion — Medicaid Planning Activities by Nonlawyers (Fla., No. SC14-211, Jan. 15, 2015). The Elder Law Section of the Florida State Bar asked the Florida Bar Association to consider whether.. read more →

REVISED ATTORNEY ADVERTISING GUIDELINE 3 ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENTS: USE OF QUOTATIONS OR EXCERPTS FROM JUDICIAL OPINIONS ABOUT THE LEGAL ABILITIES OF AN ATTORNEY The New Jersey Supreme Court has approved the attached revised version of Attorney Advertising Guideline 3, “Attorney Advertisements: Use of Quotations or Excerpts from Judicial Opinions about the Legal Abilities of an Attorney,”.. read more →

In Salvemini v. Spector, 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2942 (App. Div. Dec. 13, 2013), certif. denied, 217 N.J. 303 (2014), the Appellate Division rejected a legal malpractice claim filed by sons against their father’s estate planning attorney. When widower Mr. Salvemini contemplated remarriage, he and his sons went to attorneys Spector & Dimin, who.. read more →

A court of appeals in New Jersey reinstated a legal malpractice lawsuit, finding that the defendant law firm owed a duty of care to explain the terms of an agreement to a client even though they were unambiguous and the client was a sophisticated businessman who personally negotiated the agreement without assistance from defendant. Cottone.. read more →

A recent ethics opinion from the California State Bar Association, Formal Opinion Interim No. 11-0004, begins as follows: “An attorney’s obligations under the ethical duty of competence evolve as new technologies develop and then become integrated with the practice of law.” Gulp! In other words, the law bans luddites, or those opposed to, or slow.. read more →

In a case recently decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, a New Jersey ethics rule restricting lawyers from using complimentary statements by judges in attorney advertising was found to violate the constitutional right to free speech. Dwyer v. Cappell, Docket No. 13-3235 (3d Cir., August 11, 2014) In 2007,.. read more →

Trial lawyers must know where the ethical line is drawn between properly investigating jurors and improperly communicating with them. In today’s Internet-saturated world, the line is increasingly blurred. Therefore, the ethics committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) recently issued an opinion describing a trial lawyer’s ethical obligation when reviewing jurors’ information on the Internet in.. read more →

A California appeals court held that a trial court’s order directing a trial attorney to remove posts from her law firm website touting her successes constituted an unlawful prior restraint on the trial attorney’s constitutional right to free speech. Christie Steiner v. Superior Court of Santa Barbara County, 2d Civil No. B235347 (Super. Ct. No… read more →

A New York appeals court allowed a case for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty to proceed against an attorney who charged more than $44,000 for Medicaid planning work to protect a net estate valued at about $130,000. Sobel v. Ansanelli, (N.Y. Sup. Ct., App. Div., 2nd Dept., No. 2011-11418, Sept. 19, 2012). In.. read more →

Two New Jersey defense attorneys allegedly caused a paralegal to “friend” the plaintiff in a personal injury case so they could access information on his Facebook page that was not available to the public. The Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE) charged that the “friend” request, made “on behalf of and at the direction of” the.. read more →

Last month, the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility of the American Bar Association (ABA) issued two new ethics opinions clarifying an attorney’s duty to protect confidential client information when email, text messages or other electronic communications are sent or received. ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 11-459, issued on August 4, 2011, is entitled “Duty.. read more →

I am presently involved in a lawsuit in which my clients, three adult children of their now deceased father, are suing their deceased father’s former agent under a Power of Attorney. As alleged in the Verified Complaint filed by plaintiffs, the adult children claimed that the decedent either was incompetent when he signed the Power.. read more →

Several interesting lawyer ethics opinions and cases were published recently in New Jersey and other states. 1.       In Opinion 43 issued on June 28, 2011 by the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Attorney Advertising, the Committee considered a grievance filed against fifteen (15) New Jersey attorneys who participated in an internet company which owned.. read more →