Five for Friday: Old & New Year Edition

Congrats on making it through 2016.  Best wishes in 2017.  May it include no ethics complaints filed against you, a Steelers victory in the Super Bowl, and a Red Sox World Series title.

Here’s my stab at a year-in-review version of Five For Friday.

Question 1

In 2016, the Vermont Supreme Court adopted Comment 14 to Rule 1.2. The comment makes it clear that a lawyer does not violate the rule by providing legal advice on the validity, scope, and meaning of Chapters 84, 84A, and 86 of Title 18, provided that the lawyer also advises the client of the potential consequences of the client’s conduct under related federal law & policy.

Comment 14 was adopted in response to concerns over what issue?

Question 2

In 2016, the Vermont Supreme Court adopted new rules related to fees paid in advance.  As amended, the new rules:

  • A. Require all fees paid in advance to remain in trust until earned.
  • B. Prohibit all fees paid in advance from going into trust, with the exception of “general retainers.”
  • C. Require written agreements, signed by the client, in all instances in which a fee is paid in advance.
  • D. Specify the steps that a lawyer must take in order to treat a fee that is paid in advance as the lawyer’s own money upon receipt.

Question 3

In 2016, the Vermont Supreme Court adopted a new rule on trust account reconciliation.  Per the new rule, lawyers must maintain records documenting “timely reconciliation” of their trust accounts.  The rule defines “timely” as:

  • A.  At a minimum, monthly.
  • B.  At a minimum, quarterly.
  • C.  Within a reasonable time of a trust account transaction.
  • D.  False.  The Court did not adopt a new rule on trust account reconciliation.  The rules remain silent, with case law holding that a lawyer violates the rules by going more than two months without reconciling a trust account.

Question 4

In FY 16, bar counsel received 1101 ethics inquiries.  What was the topic most frequently raised by lawyers who made inquiries of bar counsel?  Hint: it was the 4th consecutive year in which the topic ranked #1.

Question 5

Eric MacLeish is an attorney.  In 2015, he made headlines for objecting to how he was portrayed in a movie that garnered significant attention in 2016.  As The Boston Globe reported MacLeish “objects to the suggestion that he made a ‘cottage industry’ of reaching ‘secret settlements’ and was thereby complicit in the coverup.”

Part 1:  Name the movie that MacLeish contends improperly portrayed him as “complicit in the coverup.”

Part 2:  What was “covered up”?

2016-17

Advertisements

Monday Morning Answers: Holiday Edition

Last week’s holiday-themed quiz is HERE.  The answers follow the Honor Roll.

Honor Roll

  • Matthew Anderson
  • Team Barquist
  • Andrew Delaney
  • Team Festivus (Elizabeth Kruska, Jordana Levine, Michael Shane)
  • Robert Grundstein
  • Keith Kasper
  • Patrick Kennedy
  • Hal Miller
  • Herb Ogden
  • Peter Zuk

Question 1

Attorney is a public defender.  She’s been assigned to represent Willie T. Stokes.  Willie is a con man. He and a co-defendant, Marcus Skidmore, have been charged with staging elaborate robberies of department stores the past several Christmas Eves.

Wait! Attorney just woke up. It was all a dream!  She doesn’t really represent Willie T. Stokes, he’s a fictional character!

What movie must Attorney have watched before she fell asleep?

BAD SANTA

bad-santa

Question 2

Lawyer focues on trusts & estates.  Yesterday, Client met with Lawyer.  Client reported having had a series of dreams, including one in which Client foresaw his own death. As a result of the dreams, Client informs Lawyer that he wants to change his estate plan.  Specifically, he asks Lawyer to create an estate plan that will benefit:

  • Fred, Client’s nephew;
  • Bob, Client’s employee; and
  • Tim, Bob’s son.

What is  Client’s name?

Ebeneezer Scrooge.

scrooge

Question 3

Attorney represents Carol.  Carol wants Attorney to file a motion to modify a Parent Child Contact order.  Her reason?  Carol’s son, Ben, spent the holidays with his father, who is also Carol’s ex.  Specifically, Carol contends that father traumatized Ben by dressing as a Holiday Armadillo as part of a plan to teach Ben about father’s Jewish heritage.

What is father’s name?

Ross Geller dressed as the Holiday Armadillo in an episode of Friends.

ross-armadillo

Question 4

Lawyer focuses on labor & employment law.  Client works at a bagel shop.  For the past several weeks, Lawyer has worked feverishly  to convince the bagel shop to allow Client to take today (December 23) off from work to celebrate a holiday. Negotiations failed and, as we speak, Client is on strike, picketing the bagel shop.

Part 1:   What is Client’s name?  Cosmo Kramer

Part 2:  What holiday did Client want off from work?  Festivus

kramer-festivus

Question 5

Michael consults Attorney for advice. Michael wants to know whether he has any recourse against employees who, in Michael’s opinion, did not buy sufficiently nice gifts for the office’s “Secret Santa” party, a party that Michael turned into a “Yankee Swap” after receiving an oven mitt from his secret santa.

Attorney candidly advises Michael that the rules were clear: $20 max spending limit.  Michael had spent $400 on a gift intended for Ryan.

Part 1:  What did Michael buy?  A video iPod

Part 2:  Who ended up with the $400 item that Michael intended for Ryan?  Two answers were acceptable here.  The Yankee Swap ended with Pam in possession of the iPod.  Then, she traded it to Dwight for a teapot.

Office Christmas.jpg Pam teapot.gif

dwight

 

Five for Friday: Holiday Version

Happy holidays to all!

  • These questions are fictional.  The cases depicted do not exist and are merely prop devices to set up the questions in a law-related format.
  • No rules.
  • Team entries welcome
  • Email answers to michael.kennedy@vermont.gov
  • I’ll post the answers in a new blog on Monday

Question 1

Attorney is a public defender.  She’s been assigned to represent Willie T. Stokes.  Willie is a con man. He and a co-defendant, Marcus Skidmore, have been charged with staging elaborate robberies of department stores the past several Christmas Eves.

Wait! Attorney just woke up. It was all a dream!  She doesn’t really represent Willie T. Stokes, he’s a fictional character!

What movie must Attorney have watched before she fell asleep?

Question 2

Lawyer focues on trusts & estates.  Yesterday, Client met with Lawyer.  Client reported having had a series of dreams, including one in which Client foresaw his own death. As a result of the dreams, Client informs Lawyer that he wants to change his estate plan.  Specifically, he asks Lawyer to create an estate plan that will benefit:

  • Fred, Client’s nephew;
  • Bob, Client’s employee; and
  • Tim, Bob’s son.

What is  Client’s name?

Question 3

Attorney represents Carol.  Carol wants Attorney to file a motion to modify a Parent Child Contact order.  Her reason?  Carol’s son, Ben, spent the holidays with his father, who is also Carol’s ex.  Specifically, Carol contends that father traumatized Ben by dressing as a Holiday Armadillo as part of a plan to teach Ben about father’s Jewish heritage.

What is father’s name?

Question 4

Lawyer focuses on labor & employment law.  Client works at a bagel shop.  For the past several weeks, Lawyer has worked feverishly  to convince the bagel shop to allow Client to take today (December 23) off from work to celebrate a holiday. Negotiations failed and, as we speak, Client is on strike, picketing the bagel shop.

Part 1:   What is Client’s name?

Part 2:  What holiday did Client want off from work?

Question 5

Michael consults Attorney for advice. Michael wants to know whether he has any recourse against employees who, in Michael’s opinion, did not buy sufficiently nice gifts for the office’s “Secret Santa” party, a party that Michael turned into a “Yankee Swap” after receiving an oven mitt from his secret santa.

Attorney candidly advises Michael that the rules were clear: $20 max spending limit.  Michael had spent $400 on a gift intended for Ryan.

Part 1:  What did Michael buy?

Part 2:  Who ended up with the $400 item that Michael intended for Ryan?

TBT: 1990 – Is a Self-Represented Lawyer Subject to Rule 4.2?

The creative juices have run dry this week. So, in a blatant ripoff of a now passe Facebook phenomenon, I’m posting a Throwback Thursday column.  Today, we go back to 1990.

Things were a lot different in 1990.  When the year began, Nelson Mandela was still in prison, the Berlin Wall was still standing, and Roger Clemens still played for the Red Sox  & had yet to do this.

In legal ethics, the old Professional Conduct Board (“PCB”) issued its very first decision in August of 1990.  Also that month, Vermont’s future bar counsel, who would eventually harp incessantly on tech competence, left for law school armed with a typewriter.  He wouldn’t buy his first computer until he was a 2L.

Oh, and he had hair:

img_1862

Now, before we move on, timeout for a quick history lesson:

  • In 1990, the PCB came into existence.  Before then, there was no conduct board.  The Supreme Court had original jurisdiction over lawyer discipline cases.
  • The PCB was replaced by the Professional Responsibility Board in 1999
  • The PCB heard cases; the PRB does not.
  • In 1990, the Code of Professional Responsibility (and its DR’s and Ethical Considerations) applied.
  • The Code was replaced by the Rules of Professional Conduct in 1999.

So, in 1990, the PCB issued its very first decision.  It’s here.   Here’s what happened:

  • Respondent represented Buyer in a real estate transaction.
  • Respondent failed to discover that Third Party had an option to purchase the property from seller.
  • Buyer eventually had to pay Third Party to relinquish the option.
  • Through Counsel, Buyer threatened to sue Respondent.
  • Respondent’s carrier advised him to settle.
  • Respondent, without Counsel’s permission, wrote directly to Buyer asking Buyer not to sue.
  • Counsel filed an ethics complaint against Respondent.
  • The PCB admonished Respondent for violating DR 7-104(A), the rule that prohibited lawyers from communicating with a represented person on the subject matter of the representation.
  • Under the Code, Ethical Consideration 7-18 made it clear that DR 7-104 applied to a lawyer who was a party to a matter, whether appearing pro se or represented by counsel.

I wonder whether the conduct at issue in the PCB’s first reported decision remains a violation today.

Today, Respondent’s conduct would be analyzed under Rule 4.2.  The rule says:

  • “In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized to do by law or a court order.”

Returning to the facts of PCB 1, it seems clear that Respondent’s conduct would violate Rule 4.2, right?

Loyal readers know my answer . . .

corso

As I mentioned above, EC 7-18 made it clear that DR 7-104 applied to lawyers who represented themselves.  The comments to Rule 4.2 do not include such clarity. Indeed, Comment [4] states:

  • [p]arties to a matter may communicate directly with each other and a lawyer is not prohibited from advising a client concerning a communication that the client is legally entitled to make.” (emphasis added).

The language in EC 7-18 was not carried forward in the new rules.

So, which applies to lawyers who represent themselves? The rule’s plain language? Or, the comment?

Most jurisdictions take the position that Rule 4.2 applies to lawyers.  In particular, the majority view is that a lawyer who is self-represented is “representing a client” and, thus, is subject to the rule.  For an excellent analysis of the majority position, see this opinion from the Washington Supreme Court.

However, there’s another view, with a twist.

In Pinsky v. Statewide Grievance Comm’n, the Connecticut Supreme Court considered a case in which a lawyer had been sanctioned for violating Rule 4.2.  The lawyer (Pinsky) was involved in a dispute with his landlord.  Both Pinsky and landlord had counsel.  Pinsky communicated directly with landlord without permission from landlord’s counsel.

The Connecticut Supreme Court concluded that Pinsky had not violated the no-contact rule.  The court focused on the fact Pinsky had counsel and, therefore, was not representing a client when he contacted landlord.  Pinsky v. Statewide Grievance Comm’n, 578 A.2d 1075 (Conn. 1990).

The facts in PCB 1 are not square with Pinsky in that Pinsky had a lawyer, while the respondent in PCB 1 did not.  Still, it would seem odd to sanction Respondent for doing something that, under Pinsky, he’d have been authorized to do if he had only hired himself a lawyer.

Personally, I ascribe to the view that the New York State Bar Association expressed in Ethics Opinion 879.  In the opinion, which was issued in 2011, the NYSBA concluded that all lawyers “whether they are pro se parties or represented parties or representatives of other parties in a matter” are subject to Rule 4.2.

That being said, I’m cognizant of the fact that Comment 4 to Vermont’s rule indicates that parties may always communicate with each other.  Further, I struggle to square my position with practical realities.  For instance, if a lawyer is self-represented in a divorce, must the lawyer go through spouse’s counsel on every little issue that arises before a final hearing?

This law review article includes persuasive arguments on each side of the issue.

So, there you have it. In our first throw back, I think that the conduct that resulted in PCB 1 might implicate the rules today.  That being said, if the complaint alleging the exact same conduct were filed today, I’d give strong consideration to referring it for non-disciplinary dispute resolution as opposed to referring it for a disciplinary investigation.

ALF

Yes, my columns often include references to sports, music, movies, and TV.

No, this column is not about this Alien Life Form and his tv show:

alf

Rather, this post is about Alternative Litigation Financing.

Earlier this year, I praised an advisory ethics opinion in which the Phildaelpha Bar Association concluded that crowd funding litigation is not necessarily unethical.  Crowd funding is an alternative method of financing many things, including litigation.

Last week, the ABA’s Law Practice Today blog ran a piece on Why Alternative Litigation Financing is Poised to Disrupt Litigation.  It’s an interesting post that raises issues related to legal ethics, access to legal services, access to justice and, in a way, tech competence. It also gives me an exuse to use the word “champetry” for, perhaps, the first time since law school.

As I wrote in my post on the Philadelphia advisory opinion, the fact that something is new or different does not render it unethical.  As ALF platforms continue to grow in popularity, remember that it is not a platform or technoligy that poses an ethics risk – – it’s the lawyer who uses the platform or technology.  Indeed, the post in Law Practice Today quotes from a white paper that the ABA’s Commission on Ethics 20/20 issued in 2012:

  • “[this]Report should not be interpreted as suggesting alternative litigation finance raises novel professional responsibilities, since many of the same issues…arise whenever a third party has a financial interest in the outcome of the client’s litigation. A lawyer must always exercise independent professional judgment on behalf of a client… “

In other words, ALF is permissible as long a lawyer doesn’t violate any other rules while representing a client who uses ALF to pay for the lawyer’s services.

A few rules more likely to arise than others:

  • Rule 5.4(c) states that a “lawyer shall not permit a person who recommends, employs, or pays the lawyer to render legal services for another to direct or regulate the lawyer’s professional judgment in rendering such legal servcies.”
  • Rule 1.8(f) prohibits a lawyer from accepting “compensation from one other than the client unless:
    • (1) the client gives informed consent;
    • (2) there is no interference with the lawyer’s independence of professional judgment or with the client-lawyer relationship; and
    • (3) information relating to representation of a client is protected as required by Rule 1.6.

Also, I’d suggest that having read this post, Rule 1.1 might come into play.  The rule requires lawyers to provide competent representation to their clients.  Arguably, the duty of competence includes advising a client who lacks resources on alternative sources of litigation financing.  Is it a stretch to say that the failure to do so is unethical?  Yes.  But what would it hurt to keep a few of the ALF providers in mind?  The post on Law Practice Today lists and links to 4 of them.

In any event, I urge you not brand crowd funding and other forms of ALF as unethical for no other reason than “that’s not how we’ve done it in the past.” Is it new?  Yes. Is it different? Yes.

But, it’s not lost on me that one of the cases cited in the post on Law Practice Today involved a group of college students who turned to crowd funding to finance litigation that they otherwise could not have afforded.  You too, some of my loyal readers, were once on the cutting edge, doing things that left more senior lawyers fretting for thir licenses: like using fax machines.

Attorney Stephen Embry authored the post that appears on on Law Practice Today.  In it, he lays out some of the concerns with ALF, but then provides strong counter-arguments to those concerns.  Above all, his final pargraph bears keeping in mind:

  • “Balanced against the risks is the upside. In a world where over 60% of small businesses who experienced a legal event in the past two years report not hiring a lawyer (LegalShield Survey Report ), where 80% of the legal needs of the poor and middle class go unmet (See Legal Service Report)and where some 40% of law school graduates can’t find full time jobs (ABA 2015 Report) anything that tears down barriers to justice and allows an underserved population to be served may be worth the risk.”

 

Monday Morning Answers: #53

Friday’s quiz is here.  The answers follow the honor roll.

HONOR ROLL

Compare the picture in Friday’s quiz to this picture.  I took it earlier this year on a pier in Huntington Beach, CA, not terribly far from Hal’s house.

image

Question 1

Which is different than the others?

  • A.   Contingent fee agreement
  • B.   Client’s agreement to allow Attorney to share a fee with a lawyer in another firm
  • C.   Former client’s agreement to consent to a conflict
  • D.   An agreement to limit a representation

The agreements in choices A, B, and C must be in writing.  An agreement to limit a representation does not.  See, Rule 1.2(c).  Although a writing isn’t required, it cannot hurt to have one. Also, this answer is based on the Rules of Professional Conduct.  The civil rules and family rules might require writings in certain situations.

Question 2

Which is different than the otheres?

  • A.   Continued representation will result in a violation of the rules.
  • B.   A lawyer’s phyical or mental condition materially impairs the lawyer’s ability to represent the client.
  • C.   Lawyer is discharged
  • D.   Client fails to comply with the terms of a fee agreement

Scenarios A, B, and C require withdrawal.  In scenario D, withdrawal is permitted, but not required.  See, Rule 1.16.

Question 3

Attorney called me with an inquiry. I listened.  Then, I said:

  • “think of it this way:  does your client knows what she’s agreeing to?  If you want a more lawyerly answer, it means that your client agrees to a proposed course of conduct after you communicate to her adequate information & explanation about the material risks of, and reasonably available alternatives to, the proposed course of conduct.”

Given my response, Attorney called to ask about the meaning of . .  . what?

Informed Consent.  See, Rule 1.0(e)

Question 4

Lawyer called with an inquiry.  Lawyer asked “Mike, does the duty to remonstrate & take remedial action apply at a deposition? Or just in court?”

I only ask this question because the word “remonstrate” makes me laugh.  Still, a two-part question:

  • Most likely, what general issue spurred Lawyer to call me?
    • Lawyer learned that client gave false testimony during the deposition.
  • What was my response?

Question 5

In Vermont, we used to have a professionalism component as part of the CLE requirement. Not anymore.  Fortunately, we still have Rule 3.5(d).  It’s a rule that prohibits undignified or discourteous conduct that is degrading or degrading to a tribunal.

Earlier this week, a Pennsylvania court held a hearing on a pre-trial motion that had been filed in a highly-publicized sexual assault case.  Two issues arose: (1) whether the prosecution will be allowed to introduce testimony from more than a dozen accusers other than the victim who the defendant is alleged to have sexually assaulted; and (2) if so, whether the defense will be permitted to identify them by name.

During the hearing, the prosecutor and defense counsel became enraged and started screaming at each other.  The judge warned each that the sheriff would soon arrive if the lawyers didn’t start to act a bit more civilly.

I don’t know if the screaming match rose to the level of a violation of Pennsylvania’s version of Rule 3.5(d). But I do know who the defendant is.  And I know you’ve heard of the defendant too.

Who is the defendant?

Bill Cosby.  The ABA Journal has the story here.

 

 

Limited Licenses – Update

Last week, I posted on using limited licenses to bridge the access gap. I mentioned two types of limited licenses: a pro bono emeritus rule and limited licenses for non-attorneys.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court decided to publish for comment a proposal to the licensing rules to include pro bono emeritus status.  Stay tuned.

In addition, the American Bar Foundation recently released a study of the New York City Court Navigator Program.  The program is one in which nonlawyers are trained to navigate self-represented litigants through certain dockets.  A few notes:

  • The Navigator Program is HERE
  • The ABF study is HERE.
  • An ABA Journal post describing the navigator program & the ABF study is HERE.

The ABF report includes the following statement:

  • “The first comprehensive evaluation of programs providing assistance through staff or volunteers without full formal legal training provides important evidence that these initiatives can influence the experiences of unrepresented litigants in positive ways and can also shape the outcomes of court cases, including legal and real-life outcomes.”

Or, as the ABA Journal puts it:

  • “The use of nonlawyers to help pro se litigants navigate New York City Housing Court has been a success.”

That might sound familiar.  In 2015, the Legal Education Committee of the Vermont Commission on the Future of the Legal Profession recommended limited licenses for paralegals.  The Committee wrote:

  • “Not all legal services require delivery by a person with a law degree. Given the
    staggering number of cases involving self-represented litigants, there are routine
    matters in which common legal services could be delivered competently with proper
    training.”  Commission Report, p. 28.

The ABF study provides empirical data to suggest that authorizing paralegals to provide specific types of legal assistance to litigants who would otherwise go unrepresented will provide tangible benefits.

It would also increase access.

 

Five for Friday #53

As you might know, the rules frown upon misrepresentation.  There are two types of misrepresentation: affirmative misrepresentation and misrepresentation by omission.  Today, the wind and my phone have teamed to provide an example of the latter:

 : img_1857

Hal Miller, this one’s for you.

To the quiz!

  • No rules.  This is an open search engine, open book quiz.
  • Discussing questions & answers with colleages & friends is encouraged & allowed!
  • Team entries welcome.  If you enter a team, bonus points for a clever team name
  • Please consider sharing the quiz with others
  • Email answers to michael.kennedy@vermont.gov
  • I’ll post the answers on Monday
  • All questions assume that the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct apply

Question 1

Which is different than the others?

  • A.   Contingent fee agreement
  • B.   Client’s agreement to allow Attorney to share a fee with a lawyer in another firm
  • C.   Former client’s agreement to consent to a conflict
  • D.   An agreement to limit a representation

Question 2

Which is different than the otheres?

  • A.   Continued representation will result in a violation of the rules.
  • B.   A lawyer’s phyical or mental condition materially impairs the lawyer’s ability to represent the client.
  • C.   Lawyer is discharged
  • D.   Client fails to comply with the terms of a fee agreement

Question 3

Attorney called me with an inquiry. I listened.  Then, I said:

  • “think of it this way:  does your client knows what she’s agreeing to?  If you want a more lawyerly answer, it means that your client agrees to a proposed course of conduct after you communicate to her adequate information & explanation about the material risks of, and reasonably available alternatives to, the proposed course of conduct.”

Given my response, Attorney called to ask about the meaning of . .  . what?

Question 4

Lawyer called with an inquiry.  Lawyer asked “Mike, does the duty to remonstrate & take remedial action apply at a deposition? Or just in court?”

I only ask this question because the word “remonstrate” makes me laugh.  Still, a two-part question:

  • Most likely, what general issue spurred Lawyer to call me?
  • What was my response?

Question 5

In Vermont, we used to have a professionalism component as part of the CLE requirement. Not anymore.  Fortunately, we still have Rule 3.5(d).  It’s a rule that prohibits undignified or discourteous conduct that is degrading or degrading to a tribunal.

Earlier this week, a Pennsylvania court held a hearing on a pre-trial motion that had been filed in a highly-publicized sexual assault case.  Two issues arose: (1) whether the prosecution will be allowed to introduce testimony from more than a dozen accusers other than the victim who the defendant is alleged to have sexually assaulted; and (2) if so, whether the defense will be permitted to identify them by name.

During the hearing, the prosecutor and defense counsel became enraged and started screaming at each other.  The judge warned each that the sheriff would soon arrive if the lawyers didn’t start to act a bit more civilly.

I don’t know if the screaming match rose to the level of a violation of Pennsylvania’s version of Rule 3.5(d). But I do know who the defendant is.  And I know you’ve heard of the defendant too.

Who is the defendant?

 

 

 

Power of Pro Bono

I’ve written lately on using the rules to increase access to legal services.  A few of my posts referenced compassion.

This post isn’t part of that series.  Rather, I’m simply sharing a story that I liked. A story that involve compassionate lawyers working pro bono not just to increase access, but to make their community a better place.

The story, by David Lash, is at Above the Law and is entitled A Remarkable Experiment Taking Place in Los Angeles.  Give it a read.  Here’s the closing sentence:

“And in the middle of this revolution of outreach are the lawyers, again demonstrating the unique and powerful way that only the justice system, particularly when fueled by collaborating experts from the most compassionate and expert legal aid organizations, can touch the lives of those most in need as can no one else.”

Negative Online Review? More of What NOT to do.

Many of you have heard at least one of the four versions of Adam Sandler’s The Chanukah SongIn a way, the ethics issues associated with negative online reviews remind me of some of the lyrics in versions 2, 3, and 4.

I first blogged on the topic here: Negative Online Review? What NOT to do.  I followed it up with Negative Online Review? Update!

Well, there’s more to pass on.  So, channeling my inner Sandler, here’s how I’ll start:

“When you feel like the only kid in town, with a bad online review,  here’s a NEW thing, that . . . you . . . should . . . .not doooooo……… ”

The story comes courtesy of the ABA Journal and is here.

In short, a law firm’s former client posted negative online reviews to Yelp and Facebook.  The firm sued the client for libel. A judge dismissed the suit and ordered the firm to pay $27,000 in legal fees to the former client.

By the way, my favorite is the live version of Part 2.

sandler