Professional Responsibility for Small Law Firms - Strategist
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A government official from a poor, West African country wants to move millions of dollars into the United States. Anonymously. And he needs your help. What do you do?

No, this isn't a new version of the Nigerian prince email scam. It's a hidden camera investigation by CBS's 60 Minutes and the environmental and human rights nonprofit Global Witness, which sought to expose how easy it is to launder money into the United States, with the help of lawyers of course.

3 Reasons Lawyers Get Sued

Lawyers often give off the impression of being flawless. But lawyers are people too, and people make silly mistakes -- even reckless ones. One really big mistake can even jeopardize your license or cause you to be sued.

Keep an eye out for some of the most common reasons lawyers find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit:

ABA to Beef up Ethics Rule on Workplace Discrimination

A new proposal to amend the ABA rules of Professional Conduct is on the table. Its aim is to address workplace discrimination.

Not that you weren't being careful about what you said in the workplace before, but the proposed amendment will perhaps coax you into thinking twice before you make that off-color joke at the office's next in-office party.

Your client tells you he's going to kill his ex-girlfriend and bomb state police barracks. Or perhaps you have an elderly client with limited capacity, who just got a new, very controlling, home health aide. Maybe you took on a case that you realize you don't have the resources to handle. What do you do?

If you need advice, you can ask. Many state and local bar associations have ethic hotlines that can guide lawyers through difficult situations. They can even save lives.

You may have caught the news on Wednesday: a grand jury indicted the Texas state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland, whose death in her cell three days later lead to a national outcry last summer. A few weeks earlier, a grand jury had refused to indict any of Bland's jailers.

But, lesser known is the role of an independent panel of attorneys who took part in the investigation. Just what do such panels do and might one be in your future?

Lawyers Can't Be Whistleblowers Says NY Judge

As an in-house lawyer, what should you do if you have reason to believe that your client is up to no good? Can you sing?

Well, if you're in New York, you'd best keep your lips shut -- at least for the time being. Bloomberg reports that a New York State Court recently found that in its opinion, attorney-client confidentiality can preclude an attorney from being a whistleblower. What's more, ratting out on your client is a breach of professional ethics.

Sheldon Silver Trial Update: Jury Deliberates Federal Corruption Case

It has been a difficult several weeks for former Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, once one of the most powerful men in New York.

Closing arguments concluded in Silver's multi-week corruption trial that saw its beginnings with the Speaker's arrest in January amidst allegations that he traded favors to benefit two real estate developers and a Columbia University researcher. Latest news is that at least one juror has requested to be excused from the case.

You follow a judge on Twitter. (There's plenty of them to be found.) He tweets about life on the bench. You tweet about cats and the occasional courtroom victory. The judge even retweets you on occasion.

If this tweeting takes place while you have a case pending before said judge, have you both engaged in ex parte communication or created the appearance of bias? At least one Ninth Circuit appellant thinks so.

Judge Tries to Bribe the FBI With Beer

A North Carolina Superior Court Judge was charged with several crimes after he bribed a member of the FBI with beer. The purpose of the bribe was to secure the text message of his family.

It's probably safe to say that the judge is pretty new to this bribery thing.

California lawyer James Mazi Parsa might be the most complained-about lawyer ever. The Orange County attorney is currently facing over 1,100 pending bar complaints, many stemming from his alleged abandonment of clients.

Let's take Parsa's potential disbarment as a learning moment. When it's time to call things off with a client, there's an ethical way to pull the plug or there's, well, potential disbarment. Here's the difference.