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January 20, 2004

Connecticut’s Lawyer Guild (CBA) Rejects MJP

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:47 pm

dinos . . .

In an amazing display of a professional guild protecting its turf, the Connecticut Bar Association voted to reject proposed changes to Rule 5.5 that would have allowed out-of-state lawyers the limited ability to practice in Connecticut without a state law license

According to the Connecticut Law Tribune and Law.com, the controversial Multijurisdictional Practice (MJP) proposal failed before the Connecticut Bar Association’s House of Delegates last week by a vote of 28-18.  “Opponents said loosening the rules would help a minority of lawyers at the expense of the rest of the Bar, which would be left vulnerable to firms looking to make further inroads into the local market.”  (“Conn. Bar Association Delegates Reject MJP Rule Change: Forces rally in support of status quo,” by Scott Brede The Connecticut Law Tribune, 01-21-2004)

According to the article, George J, Cava, an opponent of the proposed rule change, who represented real property lawyers, wrote that (emphasis added):

“Connecticut is a high-cost state. Competition from lawyers in low-overhead states makes the practice of law a race for the bottom we cannot win. Having built reputable practices, can our members afford the inevitable reduction in compensation they will have to absorb to remain competitive with the bottom fishers from 49 other states?”

Paul L. Costas, the chairman of the CBA Multijurisdictional Practice Task Force, and a primary advocate for the rule change, opined that “There are too many lawyers who still believe we can practice law like we did in the early 1900s.” 

ethicalEsq can only add: There are too many lawyers who still believe that maintaining compensation levels is their primary professional goal.  Compensation always beats competition and client interests.

  • According to our posting on July 20th, 2003, MJP was adopted “fractiously” in California in July, and was also adopted in New York the previous month.”

For more on MJP, see the ABA Multijurisdictional Practice Task Force Web Pages, which contain a significant amount of information and analysis on the many issues raised by MJP — issues of legal ethics, bar admission, regulation of lawyers and the unauthorized practice of law. The Commission appears to have undertaken an objective and comprehensive national study, and its proprosals were adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in August, 2002.

trying too hard to get paid

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 7:30 pm

The wise lawyer knows that the maxim “Try, try again” is likely to annoy rather than impress most judges.  An appellate panel in Florida found attorney Thomas D. Stokes to be trying, indeed, in rejecting his Motion for Rehearing on the issue of fee recovery after a personal injury case.   Rather than granting rehearing, the 5th Circuit judges penned an opinion, saying “we only write to explain our reasoning for issuance of a show cause order directed to Appellant’s attorney.”   They ordered Lawyer Stokes to explain why monetary or other sanctions should not be imposed, and they also referred the matter to the Florida Bar.
judge mercy Stokes’ primary sin was filing a motion for rehearing that “simply re-argues the merits of the court’s opinion, in violation of [Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure] 9.330(a).”   Amador v. Walker, ___ So.2d ___ (Fla. 5th DCA, No. 5D02-2454, 12/5/2003) (thanks to sunEthics for the pointer).  Along the way, he also:
  • attacked a case that he had agreed at oral argument was controlling

  • failed to remember the basic notion that “When the supreme court construes a statute, we are bound by its construction.
  • proposed an alternate reading of the statute that would require “useless” and counterproductive actions by plaintiff’s attorney
  • accused the panel of distorting the law, and making no sense
  • claimed the existence of a split in the circuits (on an issue settled by the Supreme Court!), by citing a case totally consistent with the court’s decision
  • made procedural errors in filing the Motion

The court summed up its distress:

“When we issued a per curiam affirmance, citing White, it should have been obvious that we agreed with Defendants’ interpretation of White, yet Plaintiff’s counsel filed a fourteenpage Motion for Rehearing that presents absolutely nothing new. In fact, save for the inclusion of some new verbs like overlook, contort and misapprehend and phrases expressing displeasure with our ruling, the Motion simply repeats, in large part verbatim, Plaintiff’s briefs, as if to suggest to the court that we did not read the briefs the first time.

“Although much has been written to discourage the use of rehearing motions in this manner, apparently the written word is not penetrating enough to get the point across.”

The court also noted that, should Lawyer Stokes’ written response not be adequate, it would require his personal appearance.

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