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Tag: Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

February 13, 2024
So You Think You Understand the Snitch Rule?

Next time your opposing counsel takes issue with something you say, don’t be surprised to find a complaint in the next filing citing to rule 8.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct—the new “snitch rule.” There are about a dozen terms of legal art in the snitch rule, so we asked Judge Meredith Jury (Ret.) […]

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October 27, 2022
CEB has my article, “Don’t Seek Default Without Notifying Opposing Counsel”

CEB has published my article, “Don’t Seek Default Without Notifying Opposing Counsel,” available at  https://bit.ly/3WjAZ4m The PDF article is here: Tim Kowal_CEB has my article, “Don’t Seek Default Without Notifying Opposing Counsel”.pdf The article summarizes a recent case, Shapell Socal Rental Properties, LLC v. Chico’s Fas, Inc. (D4d3 Oct. 17, 2022 no. G060411) ___ Cal.Rptr.3d […]

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October 19, 2022
Don’t Seek Default Without Notifying Opposing Counsel. Just Don’t.

If you have served a summons and complaint and the defendant has not answered, don’t get too excited. Attorneys have a duty—an ethical duty, and a statutory duty—to warn opposing counsel before requesting default. (LaSalle v. Vogel (2019) 36 Cal.App.5th 127, 137 (LaSalle).) But the plaintiff’s attorney in Shapell Socal Rental Properties, LLC v. Chico’s […]

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August 12, 2022
“Ve Haf Vays”: Appellate Court Mediation Programs

Senior Judge Clifford Wallace of the 9th Circuit has said, speaking of appellate court mediation programs, that “we ha[ve] a way to get people to talk.” Appellate mediator John Derrick talks with Tim Kowal and Jeff Lewis about the effectiveness of appellate court mediation programs — and about one unusual way a judge might get parties to talk. Watch […]

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July 27, 2021
Angelina Jolie's Writ Petition Granted to Disqualify Judge for Appearance of Bias

As the legal community tests the waters with in-person trials after the Covid lockdowns, pro tem judges may continue to be an attractive option. Like private arbitration, pro tem judges offer more flexibility and availability than Superior Court judges. And contrary to arbitration, parties electing to use a pro tem judge preserve their right to […]

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December 23, 2020
Do You Pay Referral Fees? Get Your Client's Signed "Consent,"​ Not Just "Acknowledgement"​

You may be surprised to learn that an attorney's 25% referral arrangement discussed orally with the client, and reduced to a writing signed by the client, is not enough to satisfy rule 1.5.1 of the State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct requiring the client's "consent" to any fee division. So held the Third District in Reeve […]

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"So far as the beginnings of law had theories, the first theory of liability was in terms of a duty to buy off the vengeance of him to whom an injury had been done whether by oneself or by something in one's power. The idea is put strikingly in the Anglo-Saxon legal proverb, 'Buy spear from side or bear it,' that is, buy off the feud or fight it out."

— Roscoe Pound, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law

"Moot points have to be settled somehow, once they get thrust upon us. If an assertion cannot be proved, then it must be settled some other way, and nearly all of these ways are unfair to somebody."

—T.H. White, The Once and Future King

"Upon putting laws into writing, they became even harder to change than before, and a hundred legal fictions rose to reconcile them with reality."

— Will Durant

"It may be that the court is thought to be excessively legalistic. I should be sorry to think that it is anything else."

— Hon. Sir Owen Dixon, Chief Justice of Australia

"At common law, barratry was 'the offense of frequently exciting and stirring up suits and quarrels' (4 Blackstone, Commentaries 134) and was punished as a misdemeanor."

Rubin v. Green (1993) 4 Cal.4th 1187

"God made the angels to show Him splendor, … Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind."

— Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?”

— James Madison, Federalist 62

"A judge is a law student who grades his own papers."

— H.L. Mencken

Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your fellow men justly.

Leviticus

"Counsel on the firing line in an actual trial must be prepared for surprises, including requests for amendments of pleading. They cannot ask that a judgment afterwards obtained be set aside merely because their equilibrium was slightly disturbed by an unexpected motion."

Posz v. Burchell (1962) 209 Cal.App.2d 324, 334

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