Texas litigators sometimes find themselves running head-long into the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Responsibility on their journey through the court system.
In an effort to inform his fellow legal practitioners on how to avoid ethical rules violations “when the ice is getting thin,” Dallas trial lawyer Randy Johnston took on the task of writing about professional ethics in the new book Texas Business Litigation, a compendium of issues encountered in the litigation process.
Along with Johnston, the book showcases 20 contributors, legendary trial lawyers and specialists who each tackled an issue involved in litigation. It is a “Who’s Who of the Texas Bar.”
Editor Sofia Adrogué and Co-editor Caroline Baker envisioned a work that would serve as an encyclopedia on business litigation—from A to Z—including some of the unexpected issues that may emerge—a bankruptcy proceeding or a criminal investigation—along with applicable ethical considerations.
“It is undisputed that the jury trial is in jeopardy and, at the very least, the numbers have greatly decreased,” Adrogué said. “ALM’s Texas Business Litigation serves as a business litigation template as attorneys move business litigation cases to trial.”
In Texas civil district courts, of the cases disposed of in 2013 (excluding family cases), 0.50 percent were tried to a jury. With institutions seeking a “roadmap for reform” in our 21st century civil justice system, issues of costs and length of time for resolution of matters and satisfaction with the overall process are at the forefront of the debate.
In his chapter, Johnston deals with the ethical traps encountered by attorneys and the ethical responsibilities attorneys owe to clients, former clients and non-clients. Known throughout the state as one of the top professional malpractice attorneys in Texas, Johnston deals with what constitutes legal malpractice and discusses legal malpractice claims and other causes of action against a lawyer.
“Don’t expect to be honored because you are a lawyer,” Johnston writes. “It only means you had a head start on some of your fellow citizens…. Try on for size the words of Mr. Dixon…selected as giving the best shoe shine in Dallas by a downtown paper. When he was interviewed, he said man’s job does not bring honor to the man; the man brings honor to the job…. Instead of wondering why we are not more honored for our professional standing, we should work to bring the honor to what we do.”