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Monroe, I will continue my speculations by suggesting that if we there is a conflict of the type you suggest, an informed client like GM could choose K&S nonetheless and K&S could choose to do the assignment.
Liz, I assume that the contents are relatively safe, but I was told by a criminal defense specialist that the government scans the face of all hard mail. Can anyone confirm that?
Patrick, there is an ABA rule that is often referred to as a "superior orders" rule. You can find it here: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/rule_5_2_responsibilities_of_a_subordinate_lawyer.html
Monroe & Patrick, my attempt to get an accurate description isn't a normative endorsement of overcharging, which I condemn. Btw, a white collar defendant is trying to release to the public the PowerPoint slides the DOJ used when coercing him to settle. Supposedly the slides will starkly illustrate how over-charging works. If the slides are released, I will try to post them here. http://abovethelaw.com/2014/01/unsealing-the-trial-penalty/
Ben, I have the same skepticism as you, but to interpret the court's action most charitably, they might have felt that the employee lawyer was standing in the shoes of the disciplining court and hence the sarcastic tweets impugned the court's legitimacy.
Just as an aside to Doug's statement of the general rule, out here in California, the fee agreement itself can be privileged. Our Business & Professions code provides, "6149. A written fee contract shall be deemed to be a confidential communication within the meaning of subdivision (e) of Section 6068 and of Section 952 of the Evidence Code." Section 952 is our attorney client privilege law. I don't know why California took that approach. Does anyone out there know?
Laurel, do you mind if I elevate your query to a post?
Patrick, I think I'll add one more thought. PR is one of the very few courses that's mandatory at every law school. Yet I've seen lots of lists like Posner's that don't include PR at all. I get the feeling that in certain quarters PR doesn't count as a real course. That's the reason I made this post.
That's a powerful argument against requiring 3Ls to take that sixth semester of law school. (And against the fifth semester, for that matter.)