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NY Sues to Dismantle Trump's Charitable Foundation

New York's attorney general says President Trump used his charitable foundation like it was his personal checkbook, including $10,000 he paid from the foundation for a painting of himself.

In People of the State of New York v. Trump, the state alleges Trump wrote a check for $100,000 to settle a zoning dispute for his Mar-a-Lago club. The attorney general is suing to recover $2.8 million in restitution and fines for years of illegal transactions.

The Trump Organization denies the allegations, but one thing seems clear. There was no collusion because Trump signed all the checks himself.

Germany's Richest Person Wins: Court Upholds Work-Product Doctrine

The Second Circuit sent a clear message recently by overturning a lower federal court's ruling that Georg F.W. Schaeffler's sharing of privileged work-product with another party of "common legal interest" amounted to waiver.

The controversy arises out of facts that go as far back to the beginnings of the 2008 crash: the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy announcement.

Nothing can keep a lawyer up at night like the fear of missing a deadline or failing to file a required document. Not only do such errors do a disservice to the client, they can make the attorney look like a fool.

Well, apparently not every lawyer has those worries.

In a scathing public reprimand, the Second Circuit has suspended attorney Andres Aranda for extensive misconduct. Aranda was suspended for eighteen months for failing to file papers, briefs or respond to court orders, leading to numerous defaults in appeals in the Second Circuit.

Nonresident N.Y. Lawyers Must Have Physical Office

Must nonresident attorneys keep a physical office in the State of New York in order to practice there? Ekaterina Schoenefeld, a lawyer licensed in both New York and New Jersey, was surprised to find out that was the case after attending a CLE class in New York City.

She was so outraged (for some reason) that she filed a federal lawsuit against the State of New York, alleging a violation of the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the U.S. Constitution. After winning in district court, the State appealed to the Second Circuit, which asked the New York Court of Appeals to interpret the statute. Indeed, said the state's highest court, nonresident attorneys do have to maintain a "physical office" in the state.

Oh, why can't all the circuits be like the Second Circuit? We're never at a loss for interesting cases coming out of the Second (yeah, we're looking at you Tenth Circuit).

There were just too many interesting things happening in the Second Circuit last week so here's a roundup of some of our favorites.

No-Show Lawyer Nearly Costs Clients $250,000 Judgment

Woody Allen is quoted as saying that “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” We’re not sure of the exact weight that the federal courts afford to actually appearing for proceedings, but — much like Allen — judges believe that showing up is critical.

So what happens when a lawyer doesn’t bother to show up? Typically, that results in attorney sanctions. In extreme cases, it could interfere with a plaintiff’s judgment. But the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that penalizing a client should be a last resort.

Can Law Firms Get By with a Little Help from (Non-Lawyer) Friends?

Why should law firm ownership be restricted to lawyers?

Jacoby & Meyers, a multi-state law firm, says that New York's only-lawyers-can-own-law-firms rule infringes on fundamental rights like equal protection and due process. Maybe the firm has a point. Now, it's up to a federal district court to figure that out.

Nobody Puts the Second Circuit in the Debarment Appeals Corner

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals highlighted the occasional absurdity of the federal appellate process this week when it dismissed an administrative appeal because the appeal wasn't originally filed with the appellate court.

The short version of the ruling: If you get hit with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) debarment, appeal directly to a federal appellate court.

The long version, of course, is more interesting because it covers allegations of attorney misconduct.

Ineffective Counsel: It's All Fun and Games Until Sentencing

Every spring, hundreds of teenage, aspiring-lawyer types flock to the National High School Mock Trial Competition. Typically coached by a licensed attorney, these kids learn how to apply the Federal Rules of Evidence to a fact pattern, and eventually try a case before panels of judges.

Most of them are pretty good. At the end of each round, the judges exclaim, “Outstanding! You were better than some of the real attorneys who appear in my courtroom! Follow your dream!”

Of course, when the scores are tabbed and the courthouse empties, these pretend-lawyers stop pretending. In contrast, the fake lawyer in today’s Second Circuit Court of Appeals case, on the other hand, didn’t know when to stop. Which brings us to today’s topic: ineffectiveness vs. per se ineffectiveness.

Court Imposes More Attorney Sanctions for 9/11 Truthers

The 9/11 Truthers are back in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

This week, the Second Circuit imposed further attorney sanctions on one of the lawyers in the 9/11 Truther case, while relieving another attorney of sanctions after learning that he had served a "peripheral and subordinate role" in the frivolous appeal.