Donald Trump’s lawyers fail at basic lawyering: Privacy – Salon.com/NYTIMES

–Salon.com

President Donald Trump may be focusing on how to wriggle out of the Russia scandal that threatens to envelop his administration, but in order to do that, his legal team will first need to get their proverbial house in order.

Exhibit A: The fact that Trump lawyers Ty Cobb and John Dowd were overheard by New York Times reporter Kenneth Vogel dishing over their frustrations with the administration’s legal strategy.

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By PETER BAKER and KENNETH P. VOGEL–NYTIMES
The friction escalated in recent days after Mr. Cobb was overheard by a reporter for The New York Times discussing the dispute during a lunchtime conversation at a popular Washington steakhouse. Mr. Cobb was heard talking about a White House lawyer he deemed “a McGahn spy” and saying Mr. McGahn had “a couple documents locked in a safe” that he seemed to suggest he wanted access to. He also mentioned a colleague whom he blamed for “some of these earlier leaks,” and who he said “tried to push Jared out,” meaning Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who has been a previous source of dispute for the legal team.
 
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Lawyer Referral Fees: Worth Paying?–Lawyerist.com

By Allison Shields

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Referrals from other attorneys are a huge source of business for many law practices. But should those referrals prompt the payment of referral fees? Is it OK to insist another lawyer pay a referral fee in exchange for sending a client to them?
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Lawyers licensed outside Texas can provide help to Harvey victims, Texas high court order says

BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

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The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an emergency order allowing out-of-state lawyers to practice in the state temporarily to provide pro bono assistance to Hurricane Harvey victims.
The order (PDF) allows out-of-state lawyers in good standing to practice in Texas for six months in two situations, the Texas Bar Blog reports.

First, practice is allowed if the out-of-state lawyer is retained by a legal-aid or pro bono program or a bar association that provides services to victims of Hurricane Harvey. Lawyers who want to help should fill out a temporary registration form here.

Second, lawyers licensed in other jurisdictions are allowed to practice in Texas if they are displaced from their home jurisdiction due to Hurricane Harvey and they practice in Texas remotely as if located in their home jurisdiction.

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Out-of-state lawyers can help with the FEMA appeals, which are administrative in nature, Brown said. The group’s website is here. Additional help for legal aid and volunteer lawyers responding to disaster is at the National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center.

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Undocumented Immigrants Can Practice Law in the U.S. – Greedy Associates

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By George Khoury, Esq

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California, New York, and Florida have all made national headlines for admitting undocumented immigrants. However, these states are not alone. Illinois, Nebraska, and Wyoming also permit undocumented immigrants to be admitted to their state bars.

While there have only been a few reported instances of an undocumented immigrant seeking admission to any state’s bar, this is expected to increase in the coming years as a result of DACA. Based upon when it was passed, and the age of the individuals it covers, there could a small wave of undocumented immigrant J.D.s seeking admission to bars across the country.

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NYSBA | Ethics Opinions 1131 & 1132

Two new ethics opinions
Sharon Stern Gerstman

Today, our Professional Ethics Committee issued two opinions concerning whether lawyers may ethically participate in electronic marketing services.
The first one is in response to an inquiry from a lawyer on whether he could participate in Avvo Legal Services, which would require the payment of a “marketing fee.”  The opinion finds that a lawyer who pays Avvo a marketing fee is making an improper payment for a recommendation in violation of Rule 7.2(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.  Having made this conclusion, the Committee did not address other bases for finding the payment improper or any ethical issues related to Avvo beyond the scope of the inquiry. It noted that “The questions we have addressed have generated vigorous debate both within and outside the legal profession.” It said that “at this point we conclude that, under Avvo’s current structure, lawyers may not pay Avvo’s marketing fee for participating in Avvo Legal Services.”  Thus, the opinion clarifies a question that has previously been unanswered in New York. The opinion is Number 1132, and can accessed atNYSBA.org/EthicsOpinion1132.
The second opinion outlines how a service like Avvo’s could be in compliance with New York’s Rules of Professional Conduct. It is intended to guide lawyers who wish to use these types of services in the future. The Committee, noting the variation in the structure of many web based services, says in the opinion that it “does not attempt to address every factual permutation that may exist.” Rather, it explains how such a service can operate within the Rules and examines the issues that a lawyer using a service needs to consider. The opinion is Number 1131, and can be accessed at NYSBA.org/EthicsOpinion1131.
Sincerely,
Sharon Stern Gerstman
Sharon Stern Gerstman
President, New York State Bar Association

Lawyers must take reasonable steps to protect client info in US border searches, ethics opinion says

BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS–ABA Journal
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Lawyers should take reasonable measures to avoid disclosure of client data in the event U.S. border agents search electronic devices, according to an ethics opinion by the New York City Bar. And if confidential or privileged material is disclosed, lawyers will have to notify affected clients.

The reasonable precautions that should be taken in advance will vary based on factors such as the sensitivity of the information, the likelihood of disclosure, and the cost and difficulty of implementing safeguards, the July 25 opinion says. At the border, lawyers should take reasonable measures when an agent seeks to search a device with confidential information, including making an attempt to dissuade the agent, the opinion says.

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New York lawyer accused of calling in bomb threat to avoid sanctions hearing

BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS–ABA Journal

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A lawyer in Syracuse, New York, is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 4 to enter a plea to allegations that she phoned in a bomb threat to avoid a hearing on an opposing lawyer’s request for sanctions against her.
 
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