Intellectual Property Law

New Matter SPRING 2024, VOLUME 49, EDITION 1

THE SNITCH WHO STOLE BIZ’NESS: The New Ethics Reporting Rule

Robert Payne
Payne IP Law

(See end of this article for information on receiving 1.0 hour MCLE in ___ self-study credit.)

Maybe it escaped your notice: On August 1, 2023, a new ethics rule was adopted by the California Supreme Court, Rule of Professional Conduct 8.3. California lawyers have lovingly labeled it "The Snitch Rule."

Rejected twice before, the Girardi scandal1 apparently turned the tide. The State became the last in the nation to enact a colleague-reporting rule or statute.2 Tom Girardi—widely known as counsel for Erin Brockovich in her 1996 environmental lawsuit against PG&E and for his marriage to a "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star—was disbarred3 for allegedly skimming millions of dollars of client settlement money for decades. Knowledgeable attorneys repeatedly had failed to report him.4

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