U.S. v. Talao (9th Cir., filed 8/23/00) 00 CDOS 7080, 00 DAR 9365
The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals applies Rule 2-100 to ex parte communications
by government attorneys and reverses the lower courts finding of a violation. The
court states: We deem manifest that when an employee/party of a defendant
corporation initiates communications with an attorney for the government for the purpose
of disclosing that corporate officers are attempting to suborn perjury and obstruct
justice, Rule 2-100 does not bar discussions between the employee and the attorney.
Forsyth v. County of Los Angeles (9th Cir., filed 8/31/00) 00
CDOS 7329, 00 DAR 9719
The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals interprets Californias imputed knowledge
standards and finds that an ethics screen is adequate to avoid vicarious disqualification.
The court states: We hold that the vicarious disqualification of a firm does not
automatically follow the personal disqualification of a former settlement judge, where the
settlement negotiations are substantially related (but not identical) to the current
representation. Screening mechanisms that are both timely and effective, as the Yagman
firm erected here, will rebut the presumption that the former judge disclosed confidences
to other members of the firm.
ABA Formal Opinion 00-419 (re: Stocks for fees)
The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct do not bar attorneys from accepting stock
in their start-up clients corporations in lieu of fees provided the arrangement is
fair and reasonable to the client and the attorney satisfies the disclosure, consent and
L.A. County Bar Op. No. 502 (re: Representation of and advising
an in propria persona litigant)
Discussion of an attorneys duties when preparing pleadings or negotiating
settlement for in pro per litigant. The attorneys ethical obligations are not
diminished because of the limited scope of the representation.
L.A. County Bar Op. No. 503 (re: Rule 2-200 and the prepayment of
referral fees on workers compensation cases)
California Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit a payment by one lawyer to another
lawyer for referring a workers compensation matter unless the payment qualifies as a
gift or division of fees as permitted under Rule 2-200.
State Bar Formal Op. No. 1999-154 (re: Marketing and performing
legal and non-legal professional services for a client at the same time)
When an attorney performs both legal and non-legal professional services for a
client, the attorney is subject to the California Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule
1-400 may apply to an attorneys use of his or her credentials or experience as a
lawyer on material promoting non-legal services.
RULES & STATUTES (enacted & pending)
AB 1761 (Brewer) [signed by the governor 9/15] (re: paralegal
Proposes a statutory definition for the term paralegal and would establish
qualifications and criteria for acting as a paralegal. Impacts almost all
California law firms and legal departments utilizing paralegals.
AB 2069 (Corbett) [signed by the governor] (re: defense of
Would require a study by State Bar, in consultation with the AOC and other groups, of the
implications of State Farm v. Federal Insurance Co., (2000) 72 Cal.App.4th 1422 that
applied the standard of automatic disqualification based on the tripartite relationship
among insurer, insured and insurance defense counsel.
SB 2153 (Schiff) [enrolled to the governor] (re: pro hac vice in
Would extend for five years the provisions of law permitting out-of-state attorneys to
represent a party in California arbitration proceedings under specified conditions.
AB 1858 (Romero) [enrolled to the governor] (re: immigration
Would require all persons, including attorneys, advertising services relating to
immigration or naturalization in the Yellow Pages to include an appropriate
disclosure relating to their licensure and qualifications. Also would increase the penalty
for fraudulent activity from $10,000 to $100,000.
Compiled by the State Bar
Ethics Hotline staff. For more information about the Ethics Hotline and its online
newsletter, The Ethics Hotliner, visit www.calbar.org/2eth/3hotline/hotline_index.htm.
For information on legislative proposals, go to www.calbar.org/govinfo.htm.