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Blog Posts

Nebraska Ethics Board Gives Lawyers OK to Accept Bitcoin, with Caveats

More large law firms are accepting bitcoin payments for their legal services, signaling the digital currency’s firmer foothold in corporate America. In the years ahead, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and blockchain technology will have an impact on just about every private and public institution in the nation.  Understanding and accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment puts firms in a better position to help a wide variety of clients in many industries.  However, there are important caveats to remember when […]

Attorney who allegedly violated confidentiality in Monsanto case could result in his firm’s removal.

Brent Wisner of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman PC came under fire last week when he posted Monsanto emails the day after he believed the deadline to preserve confidentiality was over.  Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman PC represent the plaintiffs in an action accusing Monsanto of selling cancer-causing weedkillers.  The emails involve questions about Monsanto influencing research on Roundup’s carcinogenic effects.  Monsanto was outraged by the documents’ release. “There is a standing confidentiality order that they violated,” said Scott Partridge, […]

Why you can’t trade legal services for construction work and not share with your partners

When trading legal services for construction work will get you suspended

In a recent attorney discipline case, the question of the appropriate sanction for an attorney who traded his legal services for construction work on his home and yard came before the Utah Supreme Court.  In In the Matter of Discipline of Joseph P. Barrett, an attorney was suspended from the practice of for law for 150 days for misappropriating firm funds arising from two situations where the attorney traded legal services for construction on his home and yard.  On appeal, […]

Ineffective assistance claims abound

Ineffective assistance claims abound

In a number of recent Utah appellate court opinions, appellants have alleged clams of ineffective assistance of counsel in varying degrees.  Under Utah law, in order to prove a claim for ineffective assistance, a defendant must prove that his or her counsel’s representation fell below an objective standard and that there is a reasonable probability that, but for his or her counsel’s unprofessional errors the result of the proceeding would have been different.  Thus, not only must a defendant show […]

Aggravating lawyer gets suspension, not disbarment

A recent case before the Utah Supreme Court shows what can happen when a lawyer argues with a judge, even after the judge asked the lawyer not to interrupt him and sit down.  In Ciardi v. OPC, the lawyer in question was disbarred following his conduct at the courthouse during a roll call, as well as his conduct during a screening panel hearing before the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court.  On appeal, while the Utah Supreme […]

When securing your fee is not a priority

When securing your fee is not a priority

A recent case before the Utah Court of Appeals saw a law firm challenge a trial court’s ruling that a judgment creditor’s right to a set off takes priority over the firm’s right to rents under an assignment.  The court of appeals ultimately disagreed with the law firm’s argument that, as an assignee, the firm had priority over a judgment creditor.  The appellate court concluded that the law firm merely “stood in the shoes of its assignor,” and, because the […]

Facebook walloped over rookie lawyer

Facebook walloped over rookie lawyer

A recent ordinary scheduling conference turned into anything but ordinary when New York federal judge Nicholas Garaufis made a point of berating Facebook Inc. for sending a first-year associate to cover the hearing.  Garaufis’s comments strongly suggest that the court believes the social media giant is not taking seriously lawsuits alleging that Facebook is not doing enough to deter terrorists from using the social media platform. Judge Garaufis Hammers Facebook for Sending First-Year Associate to Hearing Addressing the first year […]

Fair Use - Copyright Infringment

Fair Use defense fails in Newegg brief copying row

A federal judge sitting in the Central District of California recently denied an IP attorney’s bid to set forth a fair use defense in a copyright infringement lawsuit.  While the judge allowed Ezra Sutton to amend the final pretrial order to include a fair use defense, the judge granted Newegg’s motion for summary judgment regarding its copyright infringement claims. Newegg Alleges Ezra Sutton Attorney Improperly Copied Newegg Appellate Brief The suit, between Newegg, Inc. and Ezra Sutton, P.A., alleges that […]

Accepting Disputed Funds Can Get You Disbarred

Accepting disputed funds can get you disbarred

The question of whether an attorney may accept payment of his or her fees from disputed funds recently came before the Utah Supreme Court.  The attorney at issue had been disbarred from the practice of law for accepting payment of his fees from funds that he knew or should have known were the subject of litigation and were paid from bank accounts that were the subject of an injunction. Attorney Challenges Disbarment Over Accepting Disputed Funds In In the Matter […]

Tenth Circuit: Prosecutors May Subpoena Lawyers to Testify Before a Grand Jury

Tenth Circuit: Prosecutors may subpoena lawyers to testify before grand jury

In June, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, as a matter of first impression, held that a New Mexico rule of professional conduct limiting a prosecutor’s ability to subpoena a lawyer to testify about past or present clients during grand jury or other criminal proceedings was preempted by federal law.  The New Mexico defendants have petitioned for rehearing en banc, but no decision has been issued on their petition for rehearing in front of the entire Tenth Circuit. ABA Model […]