Columnists / OP-ED

Mark Dubois

Running From Trouble: When Lawyers Should Alert Ethics Officials


A recent draft Virginia ethics opinion wrestles with the issue of whether and when lawyers have a duty to alert ethics folks that a fellow lawyer has become disabled or is showing signs of impairment.

Mark Dubois

The Importance of Writing Well


There was a kerfuffle the other day when the powers that rule on such things proposed reducing the length of federal appellate briefs by 1,500 words. After much hand-wringing, weeping and gnashing of teeth, the limit was reduced from 14,000 to 13,000. Civilization will continue.

Mark Dubois

Lawyers' Powers Not as Broad as Many Think


Lawyers' powers are only as broad as the grant of authority we receive. We can't make up new ways of doing things, either on the civil or criminal side, simply because they save time or are more efficacious. For that we need to change the law.

Mark Dubois

Media Circuses Deny Due Process and Fair Trials

By Mark Dubois |

Jurisprudence in the last few decades has wrestled with balancing lawyers' First Amendment rights, the public's right to know, the need for open courts and the accused's rights to a fair trial.

Mark Dubois

The Use and Misuse of the Rules of Conduct


A recent New York City Bar ethics decision on the duties of criminal prosecutors raises interesting questions regarding the interplay of the rules of conduct and standards of lawyer conduct applicable in civil and criminal contexts.

Connecticut's Political Economy: Destroy the Family, Blame Wal-Mart


A century ago Theodore Roosevelt, while regarded as a flaming liberal, nevertheless argued that the first duty of a citizen is to pull his own weight. The collapse of schools, cities, and the state itself is what happens when public policy disagrees.

Is Bitcoin Acceptable Payment for Legal Services?


Bitcoin lives in a dark world outside the law, unregulated, murky, indeed, even suspicious. It is the very sort of medium of exchange one would most expect the IRS to be interested in.

Mark Dubois

Jurisdictional Boundaries

By Mark Dubois |

Many states still take their sovereignty seriously and will not hesitate to haul out-of-state lawyers into their disciplinary courts if they believe they are fishing without a license.

A Game of Financial Chicken


Hartford is apparently teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, if its mayor, Luke Bronin, is to be believed. If Bronin is serious about avoiding bankruptcy, he ought to call the city's lawyers and ask them just what they are doing in the case of 'Harris v. O'Hare,' a federal civil rights action set for trial this month.

Judge Explodes Pretenses of Connecticut's Schools

By Chris Powell |

Dream of a world where everything stupid, contemptible, or phony was also unconstitutional. That's what the state Supreme Court invited Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher to dream about public education, and this week he delivered in Technicolor.

Mark Dubois

School of Hard Knocks

By Mark Dubois |

These days, many lawyers start their careers on their own, without any network of support or guidance.

Inconsistent and Maddening Courthouse Security


There's a new security rule in the state courthouses. At least I think there is a new rule. As with so many security measures, practices across the state are inconsistent. It's maddening.

Hooray for Total Wine, Hisses for Legislature


The General Assembly has let the system continue as legislators cower before the "mom and pop" liquor store operators, of whom every legislator's district has many.

Gregory W. Nye, left, and David Lawton

Preparing Associates for the Courtroom


Any successful courtroom advocate understands that far and away the most important key to success is credibility. Establish your credibility early and maintain it impeccably throughout your case—and throughout your career.

Mark Dubois

Offensive Personality


Something about summer in California brings out the crazy. Developments in the law of lawyer conduct are not immune.

Mark Dubois

A Buyer's Market for Hiring Lawyers

Our firm is looking for some help, an associate with 2-5 years of experience. We and everyone else. The 2-5 year cohort is hot right now as is the 3-6 group. Maybe someone should invent a law school that graduates folks after 5-9 years of combined academic and clinical work. There would be a great demand.

Niyear, 12-year-old in the care of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, has written a letter in his quest for a kidney donation.

Child in DCF Care Needs Kidney Transplant


A wonderful young boy in the care of DCF is in need of a kidney donation. Maybe you or someone you know could be his match.

How Did State's Top Court Discover Judicial Restraint?


Congratulations to Connecticut's Supreme Court for proclaiming the futility of public administration, ruling that a University of Connecticut employee who smoked marijuana while operating a university truck cannot be fired. The court's legal rationale was plausible but there was little consistency to it.

Chaos in Trial Scheduling

The new court year begins soon, and, as in virtually every year I can recall as a practicing lawyer, there is pushing and pulling between state and federal courts regarding scheduling of trials. Is it too much to ask state and federal judges to work together on scheduling issues?

The Abyss Claims Another Lawyer


I am deflated suddenly, staring out the window wondering about the point of it all. News is just now breaking that another lawyer has committed suicide. The body of Meriden's John Ivers Jr., 50, reported missing this month, has been recovered. A self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the police say. Did it have to come to this?

Mark Dubois

Training the Next Generation of Lawyers

In the struggle of a fledgling Texas law school to obtain ABA accreditation is a message for others on the issue of what schools should be doing to educate and train the next generation of lawyers.

Thomas P. O’Connor, left, and Wyatt R. Jansen of Whitman Breed Abbott & Morgan

Strategic Removal and the Voluntary-Involuntary Rule

By Thomas P. O'Connor and Wyatt R. Jansen |

The choice between federal and state court is one of the most strategically significant decisions made in the course of litigation. It can dramatically favor one party over another, affecting everything from the pace and expense of litigation to the governing procedural (and, in some instances, substantive) law.

Nicholas Paindiris, left, and Cody N. Guarnieri Brown of Paindiris & Scott

The White Whale of DRS Tax Clearance Certificates


Herman Melville once wrote: "All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad." The object of my obsession, and that of many practitioners who deal with the purchase and sale of small businesses in Connecticut, is having a smooth, seamless, efficient and timely closing of the sale. What can often seem to be the "great white whale" in this process: appropriately addressing successor liability with the Department of Revenue Services.

Mark Dubois

Kinda Lonely

Sometimes, being a lawyer can be a lonely place to be. Unlike some other professions, we have a set of ethics rules that can make it really hard to do our jobs, keep our licenses and look at ourselves in the mirror every morning. Three recent cases brought this home to me.

SCOTUS Shouldn't Require 'Specialists'

Ordinary criminal defense lawyers not well-equipped to appear before the Supreme Court? If so, that sheds more light on what the court has become than it does on the defense bar.

A Second Look at Pretrial Detention

In the last session of the Legislature the governor proposed reforming our bail bond system by releasing anyone charged with a misdemeanor from pretrial incarceration unless they had committed a violent offense. We applaud the governor's effort to reduce the prison population, but there are two problems with his proposal.

Illegal Alien Criminals Will Laugh at 'Casey's Law'


Illegal immigrants and their enablers have become a big constituency of the Democratic Party, and Sen. Blumenthal and Rep. Courtney are Democrats. While they regret Casey Chadwick's murder and the many crimes committed by other illegal immigrants, they don't regret them enough to risk proposing anything that might be effective.

George T. Holler, founder of Milford, Conn.-based Holler Law Firm

What Do You Mean I Can't Close My Client's Real Estate Transaction?


What's new in the world of real estate closings? The better question is what hasn't changed in the last few years?

Attack of the Sad-Sack Scribbler

In case you didn't get the memo or, more to the point, read the tweet, I am to be pitied.

Mark Dubois

Mess Up, Fess Up

None of us is perfect. We all screw up on occasion. How we react and how we handle the matter when the inevitable occurs, can sometimes cause problems.

Saying Goodbye to Social Media

By Norm Pattis |
Harry Mazadoorian

Emotional Intelligence and Neuroscience: The Legal Profession Catches Up

The concept of emotional intelligence has been around for quite a while and has been used in business schools, diplomacy, the military, law enforcement and health care but has been slow to be embraced by the legal profession.

Mark Dubois

A Brave New World

Paris, San Bernardino, Dallas, Nice, Baton Rouge. As we reel from one horrific mass killing to another, many, on both sides of the political aisle, pronounce it time that something, anything, must be done to reverse the course of madness that seems to be gripping the world. Using the criminal law "categorical unity" of means, motive and opportunity, I'm afraid that when you unpack the options, none of us is going to like the alternatives.