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Tag Archives: lawyers

When Can a Lawyer NOT Represent a Client?

By Robert Ross |

DISQUALIFICATION OF LAWYERS A lawyer may be disqualified from representing a client in a variety of situations. If the situation exists before an attorney-client relationship is formed, the lawyer may be (and often is) prohibited from representing the potential client. If the situation arises after an attorney-client relationship is formed, the lawyer may (and usually must) resign… Read More »

How is Legal Malpractice Different From Attorney Discipline?

By Robert Ross |

WHAT IS LEGAL MALPRACTICE? “Legal malpractice” is a common term for Professional Negligence, which is a form of legal liability that occurs when a lawyer behaves in an actionably negligent manner when giving advice, representing a client, or handling a client’s legal affairs and when that improper conduct results in damage to the client. This… Read More »

Lawyers Must Cite the Law Correctly–And Disclose Adverse Authority

By Robert Ross |

LAWYERS MUST DISCLOSE KNOWN & CONTROLLING LEGAL AUTHORITY A lawyer’s duty of candor includes both positive and negative duties relating to legal authority. When presenting arguments and evidence to a court or other tribunal: A lawyer must: Use only means that are consistent with the truth (California Business & Professions Code Section 6068(d)) Disclose… Read More »

Lawyers Must Not Lie, or Destroy or Suppress Evidence

By Robert Ross |

A lawyer’s duty of candor impacts the way lawyers can present and handle evidence. Essentially, the duty requires lawyers to be honest, and straightforward when dealing with judges, juries, and legal proceedings. Let’s look at some of the ways this duty impacts a lawyer’s actions. LAWYERS MAY NOT MISLEAD JUDGES OR JURIES Lawyers cannot… Read More »

Can Lawyers Lie to the Court?

By Robert Ross |

Short answer: NO. LAWYERS HAVE A “DUTY OF CANDOR” TO COURTS AND OTHER TRIBUNALS When a lawyer represents a client in front of a “tribunal” (which includes not only litigation in a trial court or on appeal, but arbitration and other formal dispute resolution proceedings also) the lawyer cannot: Knowingly lie, or make false… Read More »

When is “Zealous Advocacy” Legal Malpractice?

By Robert Ross |

LAWYERS HAVE A DUTY TO REPRESENT CLIENTS ‘ZEALOUSLY” AND COMPETENTLY Lawyers have a legal duty to represent their clients “zealously” and competently. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “Zealous” as “marked by fervent partisanship for a person, a cause, or an ideal.” The Cambridge online dictionary says it means “enthusiastic and eager.” Changed to a noun, the… Read More »

Is it Malpractice if a Lawyer Refuses to Take a Case?

By Robert Ross |

LAWYERS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO TAKE ON EVERY CASE A PROSPECTIVE CLIENT BRINGS THEM While there are circumstances in which a lawyer may be required, or strongly encouraged, to take a case, those circumstances rarely involve truly “private” legal matters. In other words, no, it often (and, in most cases, usually) is not malpractice for… Read More »

Lawyers Have a Duty to Tell the Truth

By Robert Ross |

LAWYERS HAVE A DUTY TO “EMPLOY MEANS CONSISTENT WITH THE TRUTH.” There are so many jokes about lawyers being dishonest that it surprises many people to learn that lawyers have a duty to tell the truth. California Business & Professions Code Section 6068, which establishes (some) of the duties of lawyers, says that every… Read More »

Can a Lawyer Use My Confidential Information in a Different Case?

By Robert Ross |

LAWYERS MUST OBTAIN INFORMED WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION IN “OTHER CASES” Special rules govern the way lawyers can use confidential information that was obtained from, or belongs to, a client. If a lawyer receives or learns confidential information from a client, or in the course of representing a client, the lawyer cannot… Read More »

The Importance of Informed Written Consent to Conflicts of Interest

By Robert Ross |

Where conflicts of interest exist, a lawyer may not engage in certain types of conduct without making proper disclosures and obtaining the client’s informed written consent. Last week, we examined what it means to give informed written consent. Today, we’ll look a little more closely at what the lawyer cannot do unless proper consent is obtained…. Read More »

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