Tag Archives: legal ethics

Candor to the Court

In my recent ethics column for The Bencher, the publication of the American Inn of Courts (that I have been writing for over 20 years), I discuss the duty of candor to the court that lawyers have, and how that interfaces with the duty of confidentiality owed to clients.… Continue Reading

Motion to Disqualify Granted Under Rule 1.9

A recent decision of the Delaware Superior Court featured an unusual ruling in Delaware: A motion to disqualify counsel was granted based on a conflict of interest under Rule of Professional Conduct 1.9, relating to prior representation of a client. Why the Decision is Notable: Although the facts in the 21-page decision styled Sun Life … Continue Reading

15th Annual Review of Key Delaware Corporate and Commercial Decisions

The following article is reprinted with permission from the Jan. 15, 2020 edition of “The Delaware Business Court Insider”, (c) 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. By: Francis G.X. Pileggi and Chauna A. Abner This is the 15th year that Francis Pileggi and various co-authors have created an annual list of important corporate … Continue Reading

Delaware Supreme Court Instructs on Standards of Deposition Conduct

A recent Delaware Supreme Court opinion provides a tutorial on the standards imposed on Delaware lawyers when a deponent, who is the lawyer’s client, engages in inappropriate conduct during a deposition. See Shorenstein Hays-Nederland Theaters LLC Appeals, Nos. 596, 2018 and 620, 2018 (Del. Supr. June 20, 2019). My overview of the decision was the focus of … Continue Reading

Delaware Courts and Legal Ethics

A recent decision by the Delaware Court of Chancery provides an example of those rare instances where the court refers a violation of legal ethics to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for investigation, as compared to the court itself determining the appropriate penalty. See Charter Communications Operating LLC v. Optymyze, LLC, et al., C.A. No. 2018-0865-JTL, … Continue Reading

Delaware Choice-of-Law Provision Upheld

Delaware case law is replete with decisions upholding provisions in contracts that choose Delaware as the governing law for any disputes related to an agreement. A recent Delaware decision adds to the large body of Delaware jurisprudence on this topic. See, e.g., selected decisions on choice-of-law enforceability from the Delaware Supreme Court and Delaware Court of Chancery, … Continue Reading

Delaware Court of Chancery Recites Standards Applicable to Non-Delaware Attorneys Admitted Pro Hac Vice

The Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group LLC v. FE Partners LLC, C.A. No. 8270-VCG (Del. Ch. July 5, 2013). Issue Addressed: In this short letter opinion, the Delaware Court of Chancery reiterated the standard of conduct that will be applied to non-Delaware attorneys who apply for admission pro hac vice to practice in Delaware courts The … Continue Reading

Civility in the Legal Profession

The Wall Street Journal has a front page article today about programs designed to promote civility in the legal profession. Much has been written on these pages and elsewhere about this perennial lament about lawyers behaving badly. Many states, including Delaware, have civility codes and principles of professionalism that are both aspirational and prescriptive. Instead of … Continue Reading

Improper Notarization of Signature for Complaint Results in Dismissal

Bessenyei v. Vermillion, Inc., C.A. No. 7572-VCN (Del. Ch. Nov. 16, 2012). Issues Addressed: (1)  Whether a notarized signature signed in the absence of a notary results in an invalid verification; and (2)  Whether knowingly presenting an improperly notarized verification is a basis to dismiss the complaint under Delaware Court of Chancery Rule 41(b). Short Answers: (1)  Yes; … Continue Reading

Delaware Supreme Court Clarifies Standards for Enforcement of Legal Ethics and Attorney Conduct

Crumplar v. The Superior Court of the State of Delaware, No. 643 & 644, 2011 (Del. Supr., Oct. 22, 2012). Why this case is noteworthy: This Delaware Supreme Court opinion establishes new rules and standards that will govern when trial judges seek to penalize lawyers for “not following the rules” of legal ethics and civil … Continue Reading

District Court Disqualifies Firm Due to Client Representation of Over 15 Years Ago

We have written frequently on these pages about decisions that have addressed potential conflicts of interest in the litigation context, both real and imagined, in the state and federal courts. See, e.g., cases and articles on these pages here. The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware recently disqualified counsel based on a finding of a … Continue Reading

Chancery Rules on Motion to Disqualify and Motion to Revoke Pro Hac Vice Admission; Addresses Legal Ethics Violations; Requires Disclosure of Potential Conflicts in Future Pro Hac Vice Motions

Manning v. Vellardita, C.A. No. 6812-VCG (Del. Ch. March 28, 2012), is an important decision of the Delaware Court of Chancery on legal ethics as applied to non-Delaware attorneys who appear before the Court pro hac vice. Issues Addressed: Whether lack of complete candor to the Court in a Motion for Admission Pro Hac Vice … Continue Reading

Corporate Lawyers as Gatekeepers

Professor Stephen Bainbridge, a corporate law scholar often cited in Delaware decisions, has written an article entitled: “Corporate Lawyers as Gatekeeper”, which was excerpted from his book titled: Corporate Governance After the Financial Crisis (Oxford University Press 2012). The article is available on SSRN here. The abstract provides as follows: Abstract: Corporate lawyers traditionally viewed themselves — … Continue Reading

Abe Lincoln: A Source of Professional and Personal Guidance

Courtesy of Kevin O’Keefe is a listing of old-fashioned but still applicable, time-honored advice from my favorite U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln, for professional and personal guidance: Abe Lincoln Jason Baudendistel has a wonderful post today entitled ‘Why Your Business Should Be Modeled After Abraham Lincoln’s Life.’ Battling life long depression, Lincoln persevered out of passion to … Continue Reading