Current and Timely Information and Analysis About
California Attorney Ethics in Practice

Judicial ethics.

Tracking Proposed Revisions to California’s Rules of Professional Responsibility

California’s Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Responsibility has proposed 68 new and amended rules for attorneys, and is seeking public comment on the  proposed rules.  California is the only state that whose professional responsibility rules do not track the ABA Model Rules.  The Commission has issued an Executive Summary detailing the proposed and amended rules, comments, and dissenting views.  The Commission also issued a detailed list of rule revisions considered, but rejected.  Among other things, the proposed rules include suggested revisions to rules related to personal relationships with clients, conflicts imputed through a law firm, attorney’s fees, and handling clients with diminished capacity.  The public comment period expires September 27.

The Catch-22 of Seeking Judicial Recusal: Too Much or Not Enough?

A recent Order from the Central District of California illustrates the challenge litigants face when seeking judicial recusal of a federal judge: the request will be denied if you don’t include enough details about potential bias; however, including lots of details about potential judicial bias can be awkward, to say the least, if your request fails.

In Jones v. Porsche Cars of North America, plaintiffs filed a putative class action alleged defective design in the dashboards of Porshes, namely that light-colored dashboards were a hazard to driving because they created a glare on the windshield.  Consistent with his ethical duties, the assigned judge disclosed several facts to the parties that he believed they might consider relevant to the question of disqualification.  First, that he owned a Porsche with a black dashboard.  Second, that between 1989 and 1991, he worked as an associate at a law firm that defended Porsche.  Third, that his Porsche defense work was for a partner who also happened to be local counsel for Porsche in JonesMore