Client Funds

“What We’ve Got Here Is Failure To Communicate”  – Preventing The Most Common Cause For Attorney Discipline And Malpractice

It is one of the most iconic lines in the history of American cinema.  Spoken by “The Captain”–the sadistic prison warden portrayed in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke—the “failure to communicate” passage near the top of the American Film Institute’s list of top 100 movie quotations, nestled between “I love the smell of napalm …

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USPTO Suspends Attorney For Six Months For Derogatory Patent Filings

This week at “Back to School Night,” I read with great interest some words of wisdom posted on the wall as part of a set of class “Rules.” The children agreed to three general principles of self-governance: Be nice to others. Don’t use bad words. Be respectful. Lawyers also have their own rules of self-governance, codified …

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Live Webcast Of Mass. High Court Hearing on Patent Subject Matter Conflicts

The September 8, 2015, oral argument before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Maling v. Finnegan Henderson will be broadcast live by webcast. For those interested in watching the oral argument, which is scheduled to be held sometime between 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM, click on the link at Mass. Supreme Judicial Court. As previously reported …

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Bar Counsel Imposes Discipline For “Personal” Misconduct & Legal But Unethical Behavior

Many members of the public, and some attorneys themselves, believe that if they do not lie, they do not steal, and they do not cheat, then their conduct necessarily complies with the Rules of Professional Conduct.  This is a false assumption.  Others believe that an attorney’s “transgressions” in her personal life will not affect her …

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Get Out Of Town: The Ethical Perils Of Outsourcing IP Services

Many IP lawyers engage other lawyers or nonlawyers as independent contractors, directly or through intermediaries, to provide various legal and nonlegal support services. The outsourcing market, often referred to as the “legal process outsourcing” market or “professional employer organization” market, is a multi-billion dollar industry. While there is nothing per se unethical about a lawyer outsourcing …

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Lawyers Need To Know When It’s Time To Shut Up

I was on a long flight recently and had the misfortune to have to sit behind two lawyers for several hours.  For almost the entire duration of the flight, the attorneys were involved in a detailed discussion about what was obvious (to me anyway) to be a client matter.  They were discussing an upcoming deposition, …

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Law Firms Tell Mass. Supreme Court No Subject Matter Conflict In Patent Prosecution Unless Claims “Identical” Or “Mere Obvious Variants”

On August 20, 2015, eleven law firms filed a joint amicus brief in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in Maling v. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner.  In Maling, the Massachusetts high court requested amicus briefing on whether Finnegan Henderson’s concurrent representation of two different clients who were allegedly seeking patent protection at the …

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USPTO Reciprocally Excludes Patent Lawyer Based On State Court Disbarment

 On July 15, 2015, the USPTO Director entered an order excluding Richard Polidi from practice before the Office.  The USPTO Director’s disciplinary action came after the Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) filed a complaint for reciprocal discipline predicated on Mr. Polidi’s disbarment from State Bar of North Carolina. Based on public documents filed …

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