Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Law Firm Conflicts, Disqualification & Ethics News

Today's alphabet of risk news and updates is brought to you by the letter B and the number 4:
  • Apple of My "i" -- Last month, Samsung moved to disqualify patent counsel for Apple based on allegations of previous work representing Samsung: "Together they spent more than 9,000 hours representing Samsung in patent litigation matters while at Kirkland & Ellis, obtaining 'unfettered access and insights into Samsung's approach to patent litigation'" Samsung attorneys at Morrison & Foerster wrote in their 20-page motion." Apple denied any conflict of interest. However the firm in question has decided to withdraw. (A hearing we held last week, but the judge had yet to rule on the matter.)
  • 3 Years for Insider Trading -- Another lawyer gets jail time, tied to the Galleon insider trading scandal.
  • And Then There Were 5 -- Some conflicts can't be managed. Based on conflicts tied to the proposed AT&T / T-Mobile merger, several lawyers amicably exited Paul Hastings to set up their own shop.
And for those fascinated by how the internet creates new ethical questions for law firms:
  • Another "OK" for Groupon -- North Carolina joins South Carolina in proposing ethics rules that make "daily deal" style advertising for lawyers okay -- Proposed 2011 Ethics Opinion 10.
  • "+1" for Lawyer Social Network Incentives? -- The New York State Bar issued an ethics opinion (873) saying that prizes and incentives to join a lawyer's social network do not violate rules of processional conduct. (That's one way to fill your Myspace...)

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