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Board of Governors revisits sex-with-clients rule

first_img Board of Governors revisits sex-with-clients rule Senior EditorSex and money?Not what you’d normally expect in a Bar Board of Governors debate on Bar rules. But those two topics provided some spirited discussion during the report of the Disciplinary Procedure Committee at the board’s January 31 meeting.The board approved amendments to the sex-with-clients rule in the Rules Regulating the Bar, and okayed a new rule to give lawyers guidance on setting costs for clients.Both will be in the annual rules package set to go to the court later this month.DPC Chair Bob Brush said the amendments to Rule 4-8.4 were intended to clarify the original rule, which was adopted several years ago. That original rule barred sexual conduct that would exploit the attorney-client relationship, he said, which led to some problems with interpretations. He noted that Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, in a concurring opinion in a recent disciplinary case, called on the Bar to amend the rule to ban sex between attorneys and their clients.The original rule, Brush said, barred sexual conduct that exploited the attorney-client relationship. The revised rule extends the prohibition to client representatives, provides that the interests of the client may not be exploited by such conduct, and lists three examples where the rule would apply. The rule specifies it is not limited to those three situations. The three are:• A lawyer demanding sex with a client or client representative as a condition of legal representation.• Using intimidation, coercion, or undue influence to get a client or representative to engage in sex.• Continuing to represent a client if sexual relations with the client or a representative cause the lawyer to give incompetent representation.Board member Brian Burgoon said he supported the concept behind the changes but thought the term “representative of a client” was too vague.“I think there has to be a definition of what a representative of a client is, I think it’s too broad as it is,” he said.”Board member Hank Coxe noted that the Family Law Section and General Practice, Small and Solo Practitioner Section both opposed the rule.Brush said the sections supported the concept but were concerned about the client representative definition. YLD President-elect Mark Romance said the term shouldn’t be too precisely defined. “It’s probably a good thing. . . because it protects more people than fewer people,” he said. “It reduces the opportunity for abusing the rule.”Brush said much of the revised rule was taken from language used in other states, and was also based on experience with the initial rule.The new rule on costs, part of Rule 4-1.5, are part of the DPC’s long-standing attempt to provide guidance to lawyers on what would constitute excessive costs that could create a disciplinary problem, Brush said.“We have been working on this for over two years,” he said. “Bar members have been calling the Bar for guidance on how to determine costs. It is one of the most frequently asked questions on the ethics hotline.”The new subsection (2) lists factors used to determine reasonable costs and also creates a safe harbor by providing that, “When the parties have a written contract in which the method is established for charging costs, the costs charged thereunder shall be presumed reasonable.”Factors used to determine whether a cost is reasonable include how much the client was told, actual amounts charged to the attorney by third-party providers, whether there is an agreement with the client on how costs are calculated and what the client is expected to pay, and the reasonable cost if it was provided in-house.Several board members criticized the rule as unworkable.Board member Ian Comisky noted his law office has three different copying systems for small, medium, and large jobs, some of which is provided by outside providers with the firm providing paper and space. Legal research can include not only the cost of the service, but also server and phone line expenses, he said.“Any prudent lawyer will have to be a cost accountant to figure what the costs are and what the markups are,” he said.Board member Jay White agreed. “It’s an over-regulation issue. I think the Bar has the ability on any particular case that if there is a lawyer who is overcharging on costs, he can be brought before the Bar and disciplined.”Burgoon said the rule would be a problem for out-of-state members, particularly younger ones, because costs in their firms would be set by senior partners who are not Florida Bar members. That could leave those lawyers subject to a grievance on costs they have no control over, he said.Board member David Welch said that costs need to be added to the rule, which governs excessive fees, but that the factors listed to help determine reasonableness should be eliminated.Board member Anthony Abate, though, argued the rule would meet its goals of letting lawyers know that excessive costs were prohibited and at the same time give them guidance. He said it would be particularly helpful for small firms. He added that the DPC had reviewed the issue three times.The board voted 20-18 to approve the rule, which now goes to the Supreme Court. It tabled for further study a proposed amendment from board member Rob Blue. He wanted the rule to say costs listed as part of a real estate closing that was signed by both parties should be presumed reasonable.The board also approved rule amendments on three other issues.One specifies that an attorney who has been suspended, has resigned, or been disbarred may not for three years work under an attorney the disciplined lawyer formerly had supervision over.Other changes allow an attorney to deposit small amounts of firm money into a trust account to pay bank, credit card, and other expenses that would be difficult to apportion to clients.The third change drops the requirement that all referral fees over 25 percent be reported to the Bar, even if they had been approved by a court. The new rule would have only those arrangements that had been rejected by a court reported to the Bar, which Brush said would lessen the paperwork on Bar staff. February 15, 2003 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Board of Governors revisits sex-with-clients rulelast_img read more

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Season’s over: UW knocked out by OSU

first_imgMembers of the Wisconsin women\’s hockey team skate off the ice Saturday following an emotional season-ending 4-3 loss to Ohio State.[/media-credit]VERONA — Just one year after storming to an NCAA National Championship, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team saw their season cut short with a final blemish in a year filled with pockmarks.Both games went down to the wire as the Badgers were upset by visiting Ohio State in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.In a best-of-three series, UW could not contain OSU’s two Patty Kazmaier Award nominees, Hokey Langan and Natalie Spooner, as each recorded hat tricks en route to the Buckeyes sweeping the Badgers in two overtime games at the Eagle’s Nest in Verona.National champions just a year ago, the series loss marks the first time Wisconsin has failed to qualify for the WCHA Final Face-Off since the league expansion required a quarterfinal series to be played prior to the tournament.Taking off from where they left things in a 3-2 win in game one, the Buckeyes entered game two of the series with an efficient offense that kept the Badgers on their toes.Nearly seven minutes into the game, Langan found an open look from the right side of Wisconsin goaltender Alannah McCready where she deked and pushed it through.The Buckeyes displayed a strong offense early that was able to sustain possession of the puck long enough to create good looks at the net.“A lot of their shots got through,” McCready said. “They were blocking a lot of ours, which was unfortunate but they never gave up and were working hard until the end and it paid off for them.”Things continued to look grim for the Badgers. About two minutes later, Langan again struck for the Buckeyes on a power play, firing down an open lane from the right faceoff circle and in the net.However, the Badgers refused to lie down and watch the Buckeyes escape unchallenged as they would even the score before intermission.Two minutes after Langan recorded her second goal, freshman Alev Kelter fired a laser from the left faceoff circle that was redirected by sophomore Carolyn Prevost in front of the goal to cut the lead in half.Later, with 54 seconds left in the first period, Wisconsin struck again when team captain Jasmine Giles knocked in her sixth goal in five games after receiving the feed from sophomore forward Brooke Ammerman.“Brooke had it behind the net, she luckily got the pass out to me and I threw it to the far side,” Giles said. “I just luckily got it in and over her shoulder.”Momentum began to steadily swing in Wisconsin’s favor in the second period, but the Badgers could not quite cash in. Though Wisconsin maintained strong possession of the puck near the Ohio State goal the Badgers were repeatedly turned away as the Buckeye defenders successfully clogged the lanes.Out of 30 second-period shots, the defense blocked 13.“We shot right into them half the time,” senior forward Kyla Sanders said. “We were talking about it in the locker room, how there were so many attempted shots — we just had to make that quick move to get around them but it didn’t work out.”The Buckeyes reclaimed the lead 16 seconds into the third period when Langan completed her hat trick off a shot from the left circle that hit the bar and bounced in.Competition heated up from there as the referees allowed several small physical altercations to play out.“We noticed the refs maybe put their whistles away for a moment but they brought them back in overtime,” interim head coach Tracey DeKeyser said. “I think they were just trying to maintain control and safety through the game but at the same time, letting the intensity and the emotion take its course.”As time continued to tick away, the intensity of the Badgers grew.But thanks to a high level of preparedness, panic never settled in. The Badgers pulled McCready for an extra skater, and Sanders was able to push the puck into the net with 1:06 remaining to secure overtime.“We had practiced a scenario like that — we figured it would be a one-goal game either night and so we practiced pulling our goalie,” DeKeyser said. “They executed, which was great to see.”Although they were riding a wave of momentum heading into overtime, UW committed a devastating turnover three minutes into the period and could only watch as OSU’s Raelyn LaRocque broke free and took on McCready one-on-one before flipping the puck into the net for the 4-3 win.“Unfortunately we got so excited in the offensive zone we had five people below the tops of the circles and that generated a breakout for them,” DeKeyser said.Friday’s game featured a similar script; only it was Wisconsin that jumped out to an early lead.Five minutes into the game, Ammerman put back a rebound off an attempt from Giles near the goal. Seven minutes later, Breann Frykas launched a shot from the right face-off circle that gave UW a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.Ohio State stole the momentum back in the second period when Spooner recorded two goals to tie it up heading into the second intermission.After a scoreless third period, Spooner delivered the final ingredient of her hat trick in overtime, shooting nearby the goal to collect the 3-2 win.last_img read more

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UW to take on DePaul in NCAA first round matchup

first_imgRiding a nine-game unbeaten streak and a conference tournament title to show for it, the No. 9 Wisconsin women’s soccer team (18-2-2, 10-2-2 Big Ten) earned an automatic bid into the 64-team NCAA tournament as a No. 4 seed.In their opening round game Saturday, the Badgers will take on DePaul (16-0-4, 7-0-2 Big East) at the McClimon Soccer Complex.Similar to Wisconsin’s storybook season up to date, DePaul is also in the midst of arguably their best season in program history, as they snagged their first Big East Tournament Title last Sunday with a convincing 2-0 win over Georgetown. Despite some close calls, including a penalty kick shoot-out victory over Marquette in the second round of the conference tournament, the Blue Demons have yet to lose a game this season.Wisconsin head coach Paula Wilkins said it’s been years since the Badgers played against DePaul, so the team will need to start preparing immediately as they aren’t a familiar foe. In addition, Wilkins said she predicted her team would be a 3-seed in the tournament and didn’t expect the matchup they were ultimately given. DePaul enters the NCAA tournament at the No. 13 team in the country, just four spots behind Wisconsin.“We were surprised by the seeding because they were one of the undefeated teams in the country and they just won the Big East and we just won the Big Ten,” Wilkins said. “So to have such close two teams playing each other is a little interesting, but we’re excited for the challenge.”Wilkins added that she and her players felt a bit duped by the NCAA Selection Committee for two straight years now, as last year Ohio State received a bid after finishing ninth in the Big Ten, while the Badgers were sent packing after finishing fifth.Regardless, Wilkins said this year’s team has a new-found mentality and focus, which has been evident in their off-season training effort as well as their ability to close out close games and hold themselves accountable for mistakes. Wilkins said the turn around she’s witnessed is unprecedented in her coaching career, including her previous stint at Penn State.“Penn State had a lot of talent, so it was more about managing them, but this group actually changed,” Wilkins said. “And I think that was the most inspiring thing for me as a coach.”As redshirt senior goalkeeper Genevieve Richard prepares herself for her final stretch as a Badger, the Big Ten’s Goalkeeper of the Year and defensive MVP of the Big Ten tournament said, the key to the rest of the team’s success will be continuing the same preparation routines which have been so effective all season.As for the Badgers’ seeding in the tournament, Richard said the decision doesn’t bother her that much and that recognition is earned through a winning tradition.“I know that it’s all about consistency and you earn respect through time and not from just winning a Big Ten Tournament now, but I think the program is moving in the right direction,” Richard said. “For today, that’s fine. If we win three times in a row and we’re still in the same position, now there’s an issue, but I think we still have something to prove and we’re on a good track.”Looking ahead to Saturday’s matchup, UW senior forward Kodee Williams said a key factor for the Badgers’ attack against DePaul will be finding a way to capitalize on more of their attempts on goal. Despite racking up 24 shots, with eight of them on target against Iowa last Sunday, it took until the 104th minute for something to finally find the net.“That is definitely going to be one of our focuses this week,” Williams said. “We’ve out-shot our opponents like crazy and Cara [Walls] and I take a lot of responsibility for not finishing and that’s definitely something that we’re focused on. For us to allow zero shots on goal in one game and one shot on goal in the other, is just outstanding and I can’t give enough credit to our back six. That’s going to be key for us in the NCAA’s.”With all the experience playing a huge role all season for Wisconsin, Williams said the “wow” factor of making the final tournament isn’t really there and it’s more about the team being focused on what they know is needed to win and just taking it one game at a time.“We’re ready for anything and I think if we can keep up the way we’ve been playing, and maybe be a little more clinical in the final third, we’ve got a good shot at making it pretty far,” Williams said.Wisconsin and DePaul will kickoff the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the McClimon Center. The winner will advance to the second round of the NCAA’s to take on either UCF for Georgia.last_img read more