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Road Rage Leads To Suspension
Posted September 27, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

So, we all get angry from time to time. But if you are a lawyer, your expression can lead to suspension of your law license. On September 26, 2018, the Supreme Court of Ohio suspended Columbus attorney John Okuley’s license to practice law for one year with six months stayed. read more>>

Terminating Representation: Taking the Easy Way Out
Posted September 24, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

So you have taken on a client, believing the representation would be a good one, and the relationship with the client sours. What do you do? Can you just stop representing your client? Maybe, but you must protect the client's interests. You will also want to protect your interests in getting paid. read more>>

FOLLOW THE LAW: IT’S NOT ALWAYS PRETTY
Posted September 21, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

I once presented a CLE called Rambo Litigation Tactics. The topic reminds me of a Good Wife episode. Diane Lockhart is litigating a pharmaceutical case that has every potential to lead to a class action. Alicia Florrick is brought in to assist. She suspects jury tampering. It appears that the potential jurors are a middle-aged hairdresser housewife and an African-American law student, who is also the jury foreman. After investigation, Diane went goes to the judge reporting that her opponent may have bribed the middle-aged hairdresser. The juror is dismissed and an alternate seated on the jury. Alicia then discovers that it is the law student receiving the cash donations. Diane brings this to the Judge's attention. The judge, disgusted, fines Diane's firm $80,000 for making accusations against her opponent. Prior to receiving the verdict, the Judge tells both counsel all are living with the verdict and he wants to hear no more about it. If they have a problem, appeal. The jury awards Diane's clients $3.2 million. On the same day, Alicia discovers that it is Diane's client that bribes the jury foreman law student. When Alicia insists that Diane take it to the Judge, Diane points out that they already did that. The judge rejected their report and fined the law firm. They have met their ethical obligation. She then comments that, for good or for ill, they follow the law. read more>>

DEPARTING ATTORNEY: Breaking Up is Hard To Do
Posted September 19, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

So you and your firm have decided to call it quits. During your tenure as a partner with the firm, you brought in many clients, now worth a substantial amount in income. Can you take them with you? Can you ask them to go with you? Can the firm insist they stay? Will you get sued if the clients come with you? What are your duties? What are the firm's duties? This is especially important where the departing attorney is a partner in the firm. Both the departing attorney and the attorneys in the firm have reciprocating fiduciary duties to one another.

Of course, leaving a firm is much more common today that in times gone by. In 2017, the Supreme Court of Ohio Board of Professional Conduct published an Ohio Ethics Guide called Switching Firms. The Ethics Guide addresses issues such as communication with your clients, confidentiality, avoiding conflicts of interest and much more. read more>>

In Re Application Of Alice Auclair Jones: Time To Rethink The Unauthorized Practice Of Law Rules?
Posted September 17, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

If you think you can practice your home state's laws and service your home state clients while sitting in a firm or home office in Ohio without having an Ohio law license, you might want to think again. According to the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness ("Character and Fitness Board"), you may not have the requisite moral character to obtain an Ohio license because you are engaging in the unauthorized practicing of law in Ohio.

Currently before The Supreme Court of Ohio is In Re Application of Alice Auclair Jones, Supreme Court Case No. 2018-0496. It is an original action in which the Character and Fitness Board recommended that The Supreme Court of Ohio disapprove Ms. Jones's application on motion (called reciprocity) for an Ohio license because she engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. The Board came to this conclusion through a sua sponte investigation of Ms. Jones pursuant to Gov. Bar R. I, Sec. 10(B)(2)(e). read more>>

Pill Mill Defense Attorney’s Conflict Is Not Waivable
Posted August 24, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

On March 1, 2018, attorney Wesley Page of Flaherty, Sensabaugh Bonasso, PLLC ("Flaherty") agreed to defend William Earley, D.O. on indictments of violations of the Controlled Substances Act as employees and/or operators of the HOPE Clinic in West Virginia. Dr. Early and 12 other physicians were indicted for seeing patients on a cash-only basis and prescribing oxycodone and other prescription pain medications while refusing to accept insurance.

On May 31, 2018, attorney Salem Smith of Flaherty, Sensabaugh Bonasso, PLLC was retained to represent Dr. Chad Turner in a potential medical malpractice suit contemplated to be filed against him by the estate of a former Hope Clinic patient. As a former Hope Clinic physician, Dr. Turner was scheduled to testify against Dr. Early in the criminal proceeding. According to the U.S. Attorney, Dr. Turner's testimony was expected to directly inculpate Dr. Early. read more>>

Changes in Lawyer Advertising Rules? Well, Maybe!
Posted August 22, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

On August 6, 2018, the ABA House of Delegates voted to amend the ABA Models Rules of Professional Conduct on lawyer advertising set forth in ABA Model Rules 7.1 through 7.5. Noting a wide variation among states in advertising rules, the Chair of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, stated the amendments are necessary to clarify and simplify the rules.

Resolution 101 amends the advertising rules in several ways. The amendments were based on the 2015 and 2016 reports of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers. The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility worked on the edits for two years. No delegate opposed the amendments and the majority of delegates voted in favor of them. read more>>

Clark County Clerk of Courts Threatened With Contempt!
Posted August 20, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

Melissa Tuttle was elected as the Clark County Clerk of Courts in November 2016. Her election unseated long-time Clerk, Ron Vincent. Since taking office, Tuttle has made several changes, including transitioning the Clerk's office to a new case management system, closing a Clerk's Annex in another building, and making staffing changes.

Nevertheless, three judges complained of repeated delays in the filing of court documents and requested better access to court files. In January, Judge Cappers wrote a letter to Tuttle annunciating the judge's displeasure at the time delay. In early June, Judges Rastatter, O'Neill and Capper jointly filed three separate orders indicating that, unless the issue is resolved, legal action could ensue, including a contempt filing. read more>>

Magistrates May Not Contribute to Judicial Campaigns — Sometimes
Posted August 20, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

On August 3, 2018, the Board of Professional Conduct released Board Opinion 2018-04 giving its opinion about a magistrate’s ability to contribute personal funds to a judge’s election campaign. In so doing, it withdrew Board Op. 1990-24 and Board Op. 2002-13.

The Opinion states that magistrates may not contribute personal funds to the judicial campaigns of a candidate seeking office in the same court or division of the court in which the magistrate is appointed. However, magistrates can contribute personal funds to a political party, a nonjudicial campaign or to a judicial candidate who is seeking office in a different court or division of the court to which the magistrate was appointed. read more>>

Long-Time Attorney is Disbarred
Posted August 16, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

Following a 52-year legal career, long-time attorney Neal Hall Magee, II, of Columbus, Ohio was disbarred today for misappropriation of $682,821.05 from the guardianship and client trust fund of client Dr. William A. Bruce. Magee was ordered to pay $312,899.50 in restitution to various entities. Citing Cleveland Bar Assn. v. Dixon, 2002-Ohio-2490, the Supreme Court of Ohio noted that the presumptive sanction for misappropriation of client funds is disbarment. Referring to Cincinnati Bar Assn v. Sanz, 2011-Ohio-766, the Court stated that it permanently disbarred an attorney for misappropriating trust funds while serving as trustee and failing to respond to the beneficiaries’ repeated requests for an accounting. read more>>

4 Out of 5 West Virginia Justices Impeached
Posted August 15, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

Due to lavish spending on renovations and decorations for their court offices, 4 out of 5 justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court were impeached on August 14, 2018. The 5th justice, Menis Ketchum, resigned in July and pled guilty to wire fraud. The West Virginia House of Delegates voted to impeach the justices after discovering financial abuse, including misuse of public vehicles and credit cards, overpaying senior status judges beyond the amount authorized by statute, and overspending on office renovations. The financial misconduct created a scandal alleging a multi-million dollar misappropriation. read more>>

What’s In A Name? Maybe More Than You Think
Posted August 10, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

Ohio’s Board of Professional Conduct released Board Op. 2018-5 addressing lawyer and firm websites and domain names.

Many lawyers have developed pithy and fascinating domain names for development of their websites. As any marketing and advertising professional knows, the creation and development of a brand can make or break a business. Strong brands, ones with the ability to strike an emotional note in the customer, are the lifeblood of any marketing campaign. Who doesn’t remember the coffee shop "Central Perk" in the sitcom "Friends"? Take a look. All around you businesses are developing brands to help their customers develop an affinity with their product. Can lawyers do the same? Well, maybe, sorta, kinda, perhaps. read more>>

Mad Judges Gone Mad
Posted August 8, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

Last week, the public railed after a report that Cuyahoga County Judge John J. Russo ordered that a defendant’s mouth be duct taped for speaking at a sentencing hearing. "Mr. Williams. I’m the Judge in the matter. Shut your mouth and I’ll tell you when you can talk. You got it?" "At this point, I am going to hear from your lawyers so that means zip it," Judge Russo warned defendant, Franklyn Williams. When Mr. Williams kept on talking, Judge Russo did, indeed, order that his mouth be duct taped shut. The incident made Fox 8 Cleveland News and CNN. A media outlet’s video caught the scene of the officers taping the defendant’s mouth shut. Elizabeth Bonham of the ACLU stated: "We cannot regard this as normal. It is humiliating. It doesn’t just deprive this person of the opportunity to speak before his life is taken away, it steals his dignity. Everything about this is wrong." read more>>

Oh No! A Grievance! Now What?
Posted August 8, 2018 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

It is always a bit disconcerting (as an understatement) when a client files a disciplinary complaint against you. This is especially so when you believe you did a good job for the client. Usually, you have some idea that an inquiry is in the offing. And, let’s face it. We have all taken on that one client even though every bone in our body tells us that it is a bad idea. So, now there is an inquiry from your licensing authority. What do you do? read more>>

Another Way Through Divorce: Collaborative Divorce
Posted November 8, 2017 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

Summary

Collaborative Divorce is an alternative to the litigated divorce process that occurs in the courtroom. It is an alternative dispute resolution program using a team of professionals specially trained to interrupt disruptive conduct to accomplish the goals of the couple in terminating the marriage. read more>>

Breaking Ethics News
Posted October 18, 2017 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

In an unprecedented recommendation in late September, the Referee in a Florida ethics case,[1] denied Relator The Florida Bar's request for cost reimbursement against Respondent Jeremy W. Alters. The Florida Bar sought $305,360.03 against Mr. Alters for prosecuting the ethics case against him. Rather than awarding Relator those costs, the Referee recommended that The Florida Bar be assessed costs in the amount of $143,913.35 for Mr. Alter's defense of the charges brought against him. read more>>

[1] The Florida Bar v. Alters, S.Ct. Case No. SC14-100.


On Being Human
Posted August 18, 2017 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

This week, Anelli Law, LLC went to New York City. After attending the ethics seminar and learning about legal fees and conflicts of interest, we toured the city. We went to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Financial District, Wall Street, Soho, Chinatown, Ground Zero, and the top of the Empire State Building. We saw the Broadway Show "Beautiful" about Carol King's life. I sang "Under the Boardwalk" with a panhandler on the subway. We shared a smile. In that morass of humanity, all seemingly different, common threads are woven. read more>>


ProgressOhio's Ethics Complaint Against Justice Sharon Kennedy
Posted May 25, 2017 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

Several news agencies report the filing of a formal ethics complaint against Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy.

At issue is Justice Kennedy's March 17, 2017 appearance and speech at the Greater Toledo Right to Life fundraiser. Apparently, that organization uses part of its budget to lobby the Statehouse to legislate, restrict and, ultimately shut down abortion clinics. According to one news agency, Justice Kennedy's past campaign literature indicates she is opposed to abortion. read more>>


Integrity: It's All in Your Word

Posted May 9, 2017 by Attorney Dianna Anelli

When one utters the word "integrity", the mind automatically leaps to words such as truth, honesty, accuracy. In shipbuilding, integrity is used to determine whether a vessel is seaworthy. Merriam-Webster's online Dictionary defines the word as (1) firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic value; (2) an unimpaired condition; soundness; (3) the quality or state of being complete or undivided. read more>>

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