Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC.

Latest from Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC.

As the Model Rules of Professional Conduct demonstrate, a lawyer may serve many functions for a client: advisor, advocate, negotiator, or evaluator, to name a few.  Under any role, however, a lawyer is obligated to act with the best interests of his or her client in mind, even when the client is not paying for legal services.  In this regard, attorneys must be mindful that they owe the same professional duties to both paying and…
On June 25, 2019, the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics issued Opinion Number 735, deciding that Lawyer A can ethically purchase a Google AdwordSM or keyword that is competitor Lawyer B’s name (e.g., Pat Smith Law Firm purchases a keyword for Alex Doe Law Firm, so that when users search “Alex Doe Law Firm,” Pat Smith Law Firm will also appear in the search results, generally as an “ad.”  Lawyer A,…
There are three basic components to an attorney’s eligibility to practice in the State of New Jersey: (1) annual registration, including making the required annual payments to the Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection (N.J. Ct. R. 1:28); (2) fulfilling the bi-annual CLE reporting requirements; and (3) maintaining an IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts) fund (N.J. Ct. R. 1:28A).  Noncompliance with any of these requirements may render an attorney ineligible to practice. Practicing law…
The ABCNY has issued Formal Opinion 2019-5, requiring a lawyer receiving payment in cryptocurrency to comply with RPC 1.8(a) (business transactions with client), concluding it is different than an ordinary fee agreement.  It is thus advisable for attorneys to become familiar with RPC 1.8(a) and not assume that a typical engagement letter will be sufficient. RPC 1.8(a) provides that: A lawyer shall not enter into a business transaction with a client if they have differing…
On June 25, 2019, the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics issued Opinion Number 736, deciding that a lawyer is not per se prohibited from concurrently serving as a municipal prosecutor and planning board attorney in the same borough.  This Opinion represents the latest in an ongoing series over the years that have responded to RPC changes on the delicate and often complicated conflicts of interest analysis that accompanies the representation of…
A recent Appellate Division case exposes the pitfalls of “judge-shopping” by a former law clerk with the cooperation of the judge. In Goldfarb v. Solimine, Docket No.  A-3740-16T2, (June 26, 2019) the panel ruled that a plaintiff alleging promissory estoppel in an employment context was entitled to a new trial on damages after an unusual practice was exposed, and after the now-retired trial judge refused to recuse herself. Just prior to trial, the judge’s former…
A recent Appellate Division decision illustrates the importance of a solid engagement letter that sets forth both the scope of the engagement as well as any limitations on the scope, i.e., what the lawyer is not being retained to do. In Murphy v. Shaw, Docket No. L-0869-13 (decided June 21, 2019), the lawyer was successful in having a verdict against him reversed. But the real dispute was over the scope of the engagement. The client…
The New Jersey Appellate Division recently confirmed how important it is to comply with procedural court rules, especially when the Court has given guidance as to how to comply with them.  In Cuomo v. TSI Ridgewood, Docket No A-4898-17T4, Defendant’s attorneys failed to comply with the requirements of electronic filing, as well as the submission of a filing fee. While Defendants claimed inadvertent error (their lawyer tried to pay the $200 fee by check) and…