Recent Articles from The Hon. John E. Bernacki
In New York, and in most other states, for that matter, there are strict rules when it comes to naming your law firm. Many reasons are given to support the law firm name restrictions, including upholding the honor of the profession and protecting legal consumers from deceptive practices. As such, the creative attempts of New […]
Sometimes lawyers wear more than one hat, and much of the time, doing so isn’t problematic. Oftentimes, it makes sense, since obtaining a law degree shouldn’t preclude lawyers from performing other non-legal job functions. Of course, wearing multiple hats can sometimes pose ethical problems and this is especially true if it occurs during a single […]
Sometimes it’s not easy getting paid. With some customers, it seems the check is always in the mail — and legal clients are no exception. So, like everyone else, lawyers are always trying to find new ways to accept payment for legal services rendered. Of course, the Rules of Professional Conduct necessarily limit the options […]
As lawyers, we often serve on various boards, whether public interest boards, town boards or otherwise. Doing so allows us to perform a public service and give back to our communities. In fact, I served on the Pittsford Town Board for 6 years for that very reason. But sometimes, serving on a board can create […]
Competition for clients can sometimes be fierce — especially in this economic climate. For that reason, some attorneys turn to legal marketing firms in an attempt to gain an edge over rival law firms. While utilizing legal marketers is not a bad idea, when using their services, it is always wise to tread lightly and […]
In April 2011, I wrote about a spousal conflicts of interest ethics opinion where the issue was whether it was ethical for an attorney to refer clients with litigation-related financing needs to a financial services firm formed by the lawyer’s spouse. In that case, the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics concluded […]
A few months ago, a colleague who reads this column asked me if there were any ethical issues presented when a law firm’s website includes links to outside websites. At the time, I was unaware of any ethics decisions on point, but in November, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the New York State […]
How creative can lawyers get with law firm names? It’s not always a simple question to answer. For that reason, over the years, New York lawyers have occasionally had run ins with ethics commissions over names that they’ve chosen for their law practices. The New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics recently addressed […]
It used to be, back in the days when yellow pages reigned supreme, that law firm websites were a novelty. That was before 24/7 connectedness became the norm and smart phones, tablets and Wi-Fi became ubiquitous. Nowadays, in the always-connected 21st century, the majority of law firms have a website. In fact, websites are rapidly […]
Conflicts of interest. It seems that the longer you practice law, the more frequently these issues arise. Not surprisingly, the conflicts are rarely simple with obvious, clear-cut answers. Instead, they tend to involve complex, convoluted fact patterns and present a maze of thorny ethical issues ...
It’s an interesting question: Should you learn that a client intends to kill or seriously harm another person, or otherwise commit a crime, what are you ethical obligations? Are you required to disclose the information or is doing so a discretionary decision?
It’s legal ethics 101 and one of the topics we spent an inordinate amount of time pondering in law school: What are your ethical obligations should you learn that a witness lied on the stand? In New York, it used to be the case that lawyers were required ...
- Fourth Department – Plea: People v. Davis
- Second Circuit – Revocation of minimum sentence: Bangs v. Walter William Smith, et al.
- Fourth Department – Relation-back doctrine: CHS Inc. v. Land O’Lakes Purina Feed, et al.
- Fourth Department – Unlawful arrest: People v. Burke
- Fourth Department – Attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance: People v. Brown
- Second Circuit – Immigration: Paucar v. Garland
- Fourth Department – Slip and fall: Black v. 465 Payne Avenue
- Second Circuit – Misappropriation of trade secrets: Pauwels v. Deloitte
- Fourth Department – Molineux evidence: People v. Anderson
- Second Circuit – Possession of a firearm: United States v. Pastore
- NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics – Prior client representation: Opinion 23-16
- Fourth Department – Promissory note: Aldrich v. LNG Enterprises
- NY Court of Appeals reverses gun conviction over ineffective counsel
- Split court affirms gun conviction, finding search and arrest were legal
- NY appeals court vacates drug conviction over illegal police search
- Split Court of Appeals strips Police Accountability Board of disciplinary power
- Manslaughter conviction reversed after appeals court finds insufficient evidence
- Rochester-area family sues over compromised medical records
- Gov. Hochul signs Clean Slate Act, allowing certain criminal records to be sealed
- Class-action lawsuit filed over cyberattack affecting thousands of patients