Commission Calls for Uniform Lawyer Discipline Standards | New York Law Journal

A commission appointed by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman recommended Friday that uniform standards for attorney discipline and punishment be adopted throughout New York state and follow guidelines developed by the American Bar Association.

While the existing machinery of disciplining attorneys would remain in place in each of the four Appellate Division departments, adopting uniform discipline rules would ensure that lawyers from Long Island to Buffalo would be subject to the same punishments for the same misconduct, according to the recommendations of the Commission on Statewide Attorney Discipline.

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Lawyer who billed clients for watching true-crime shows is suspended-ABA Journal


A “doggedly unrepentant” lawyer who billed her wrongful death clients for watching reality crime TV shows has been suspended for a year from law practice.

The Tennessee Supreme Court upheld the suspension of Knoxville lawyer Yarboro Sallee, who was accused of billing her clients hourly fees of more than $140,000 for less than three months of work and insisting that they pay a contingency fee as well. The Legal Profession Blog, the Chattanoogan and the Knoxville News Sentinel have stories. The July 23 opinion is here (PDF).


From the Decision:

In her motion, Attorney Sallee also objected to the trial court’s comment that she “watched TV and charged her client for it.” She characterized this statement as “ridiculous,” adding, “since when is television not a respectable avenue for research anyway.” Attorney Sallee pointed to a particular time entry on her “billing statement” as legitimate billable time because it was spent watching a five-hour documentary on the Peterson “Stair Case Murder” in North Carolina. Her motion did not address a 12.5-hour time entry on September 25, 2010, for watching “48 Hours” episodes on similar spousal homicides, a 4.0-hour time entry on October 19, 2010 for watching four “48 Hours” episodes on asphyxia, or a 3.5-hour time entry on October 20, 2010 for watching these same “48 Hours” episodes a second time. At Attorney Sallee’s regular hourly rate, this would amount to over $5,000 for watching episodes of “48 Hours.” 


Read entire article here.

How National Licensing Could Help Close the Justice Gap–Lawyerist

By Jenny Odegard


South Dakota is leading the charge on relocating new attorneys to under-served communities by offering a stipend of $12,000 per year for five years. This number is meant to nearly cover the cost of attending their local university’s law school, which should be a tempting offer for hundreds of newly licensed attorneys looking for an opportunity to make an impact. Yet this program has a modest goal of recruiting only 17 attorneys by the year 2017.


The Uniform Bar Exam is a nationalized test with a portable score to all of the states that have adopted the test. While the UBE is not a nationally portable law license, it is an opportunity to apply for admission without having to sit for an additional full bar exam.

Sixteen states, most recently including New York, have now adopted the test. States still conduct their own character and fitness evaluation, and most require a shorter, less burdensome local education requirement. States also set their own passing score, which means test takers may not be certified for admission in the state they took the exam but could qualify elsewhere without retaking it.


Read entire article here.

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Public Hearings on Eligibility for Assignment of Counsel-ILS

In accordance with the settlement agreement between the State of New York and a plaintiff class represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union in Hurrell-Harrina et at. v. State of New York and approved by the Albany County Supreme Court, the Office of Indigent Legal Services (ILS) is charged with developing and issuing criteria and procedures to guide courts in counties located outside of New York City in determining whether a person is unable to afford counsel and eligible for mandated representation.

In furtherance of this responsibility, ILS will conduct a series of public hearings in each of the nine (9) judicial districts outside of New York City to solicit the views of county officials, judges, institutional providers of representation, assigned counsel, current and former indigent legal services clients and other individuals, programs, organizations and stakeholders interested in assisting ILS in establishing criteria and procedures to guide courts when determining eligibility for mandated legal representation in criminal and family court proceedings.  The first of these hearings will be in Syracuse, New York on July 9.

For more information, and instructions for providing written or oral testimony, go to:  Please feel free to contact me (or any member of the ILS staff) if you have questions about the hearings.

                      Take good care,

Angela Olivia Burton, Esq.

Director of Quality Enhancement, Parent Representation

New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services

80 South Swan Street, 29th Floor

Albany, New York 12210

Desk:  518-474-4859

Cell:  518-491-0094

Fax:  518-474-0505

Marijuana businesses need lawyers, but how do you build that practice? (podcast with transcript)


In this month’s “Asked and Answered”, Seattle lawyer Ryan Espegard chats with the ABA Journal‘s Stephanie Francis Ward about how he advises the marijuana industry–being mindful of state and federal regulation–and what sorts of business development activities have worked for him.

Access this podcast and a full transcript here.

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New York State-Federal Judicial Council and the Second Circuit Judicial Council Are Pleased to Present a Complimentary CLE Program

Presentations will address ethical and substantive standards for the application of attorney-client privilege and work product protection in civil and criminal litigation, in the corporate context, with respect to employees and former employees, joint defense agreements, and the witness/advocate rule. The Panels will address the practical application of those standards in state and federal court litigation, rules addressing inadvertent production and waiver, privilege logs, claw-back agreements, assertions of privilege/work product during depositions, common waiver scenarios, in camera review and dispute resolution issues. Courses will earn three New York State CLE Credits (1.5 Hours Ethics and 1.5 Hours Practice Credits). 

Both Programs will also be available via webcast. Please register for the Programs at 


****Northern District of New York: Thursday, June 4, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM 

James M. Hanley Federal Building, Jury Assembly Room, 100 S. Clinton St., Syracuse, NY 13261 

R.S.V.P. by May 29, 2015 for Northern District of New York Program 

****Eastern District of New York: Thursday, June 18, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM 

Theodore Roosevelt U.S. Courthouse, Ceremonial Courtroom, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, NY 11201 

R.S.V.P. by June 12, 2015 for Eastern District of New York Program 

Please see the revised information available here:

Benitez v United Home of N.Y. LLC

2015_30794 by Leonard E Sienko Jr

Decision of Interest – Professional Responsibility – Bank awarded summary judgment on liability against closing attorneys who failed to disclose subject premises did not have certificate of occupancy


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