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Dec 21, 2012

‘If you don’t, why should I?’

I have been teaching a graduate-level business law course this fall for the Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business. For three hours each Monday evening, I find myself explaining to 31 graduate students the legal and business concepts that form the foundation of the services we offer our clients as a firm.

May 3, 2012

Criminal Practice – Attorneys – Defendant’s Wishes – Frivolous Defenses – Ethics

State v. Jones Even though an attorney is bound to comply with his client’s lawful instructions, defendant sought to have his attorneys present claims that they felt had no merit. Thus, the impasse was over whether defendant could compel his counsel to file frivolous motions and assert theories that lacked any basis in fact. To do so would have been a violation of the attorneys’ profe[...]

Apr 19, 2011

$500 Visa cards for clients? Maybe not, State Bar says

A drawing for a grand prize to lure in customers is something more often associated with car dealers than law firms. But a firm in North Carolina has plans to do exactly that. Those plans are the subject of an inquiry before the N.C. State Bar’s Ethics Committee. The filing before the committee says the […]

Mar 16, 2011

High court kills anti-discrimination amendment to preamble

The N.C. Supreme Court has rejected an amendment to the preamble of the Rules of Professional Conduct that would ban discrimination by lawyers. The move by the justices in an administrative meeting last week means the issue is dead. Any changes to the rules must be approved by the Supreme Court. The court does not have to give reasons for rejecting a change, and it did not give any this time. "Tha[...]

Mar 9, 2011

Bill would allow non-lawyers to own stake in firms

A bill introduced in the Senate Wednesday that would allow non-lawyer ownership of a professional corporation law firm is already getting some attention from the N.C. State Bar. The bill would allow non-lawyers to own up to 49 percent of a firm.  Non-lawyers are banned from owning law firms by the American Bar Association’s Model […]

Feb 25, 2011

From print to pixels, legal ethics struggle with new media

Not only does nearly every lawyer practicing have his own website, but potential clients are much more likely to plug "DWI lawyer" into a search engine than to look in the Yellow Pages. And as legal marketing has morphed into new arenas with ever-changing technology, there's some concern that regulatory agencies and state bars have not kept up. Ryan Blackledge (pictured), who serves on the N.C. Ba[...]

Feb 18, 2011

Want more referrals? Say ‘thanks’ for the ones you’ve gotten

The importance of giving thanks to colleagues for client referrals isn't lost on Raleigh lawyer Mark Sullivan (pictured). His family law practice draws about 60 percent of its client base from attorney referrals. That's why he turned the etiquette of saying "thank you" into a deliberately structured part of his business plan about 20 years ago. But it took time to figure out what strategy was best[...]

Feb 16, 2011

In-house counsel hate surprises but love communication

Building rapport and maintaining constant communication are the keys to sustaining a healthy business relationship between in-house and outside counsel, panelists said at Lawyers Weekly's Business and Law Breakfast Wednesday. About 40 people gathered at the Marriott City Center hotel in downtown Raleigh as panelists Jay Campbell, executive director of the N.C. Board of Pharmacy; Ken Hammer, genera[...]

Jan 21, 2011

Coach’s Corner: Here comes the judge – online

During the past decade the Internet has created ethics dilemmas that lawyers and bar associations could never have imagined before. Thanks to websites, blogs and social networks, lawyers have a virtually unlimited presence. They are often governed in their online conduct by the rules of jurisdictions where they have never set foot, though one would normally conclude that receiving an e-mail from a[...]

Jan 21, 2011

Ethics Committee grapples with pop-ups, Groupon and Google

Watch the pop-ups. That's the word from the N.C. State Bar's Ethics Committee, which is looking into the use of live-chat services on attorney websites - specifically, whether the use of a live-chat button would violate Rule 7.3(a), which provides that an attorney may not solicit business by "in-person, live telephone or real-time electronic contact." A staff opinion discussed at Thursday's Ethics[...]

Jan 14, 2011

A divorce? I think I’ve got a Groupon for that

Ever seen those e-mailed “deals of the day” that offer discounts on everything from manicures to margaritas at businesses in your area? You’ve probably never seen one offering 50 percent off an attorney’s services, but one N.C. family law firm wants to advertise through Groupon, the company that puts together the discount deals and forwards […]

Dec 10, 2010

Coach’s Corner: Politicians, lawyers and ‘protecting the public’

Lawyers nationwide increasingly face state and federal government actions to implement a whole new regulatory structure aimed at what is in fact a growing problem: companies that charge consumers an upfront fee to modify the terms of a mortgage or deed of trust they can no longer afford, then either fail to deliver results or actually abscond with the fee itself. In an early effort, New York banne[...]

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