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he granting of a license to practice law confers privileges, and imposes responsibilities, obligations, and rules of conduct that are unique to the members of the Bar. "The practice of law is a profession, not a business. An attorney is not merely a hired gun, but, rather, a professional required to act with candor and honesty." Justice Vanderbilt observed that lawyers are held to the highest standard of ethics, and an attorney must be honest dealing with the Courts, the Bar, clients, and the public. "In addition to the duties and obligations of an attorney to his client, he is responsible to the courts, to the profession of the law, and to the public... He is bound even in the absence of the attorney client relation to a more rigid standard of conduct than required of laymen." It is perhaps for this reason the practice of law is regulated by the Rules of Professional Conduct, a unique code of conduct with core values of honesty and respect for the rights of all. The New Jersey Supreme Court has stated that the RPCs "shall govern the conduct of the members of the bar." The RPCs are so intertwined with the practice of law that the RPCs often are evidence of the standard of care. The practice of law exposes lawyers to potential conflicts of interest and obligations of confidentiality that are also unique to our profession. It is with these thoughts in mind that we address the issues lawyers must resolve in order to fulfill their obligations to clients, Courts, the legal profession and the public. We hope that this text will help the Bar successfully navigate the minefields that sometimes are encountered in the practice of law.
About the Author
Abbott S. Brown is a certified civil trial attorney whose practice focuses on medical and legal malpractice litigation. A partner with Lomurro, Munson, Comer, Brown, & Schottland, P.A., in Freehold, New Jersey, Mr. Brown received his J.D. in 1978 from Rutgers University School of Law, Newark. He is admitted to practice in New Jersey and before the U.S. District Court for the Districts of New Jersey and the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, and the Second and Third Circuit Courts of Appeal. Mr. Brown has been counsel for one or more bar associations as amicus curiae in 12 published malpractice decisions, including Cornblatt v. Barow, 153 N.J. 218 (1998) , Ferreira v. Rancocas Orthopedic Associates, 178 N.J. 144 (2003) Ferreira v. Rancocas Orthopedic Assoc., 178 N.J. 144 (2001), and Nicholas v. Mynster, 213 N.J. 463 (2013). Mr. Brown served on the Supreme Court Committee on Jury Selection and Voir Dire from 2004-2010, the Supreme Court Committee on Model Civil Jury Charges from 1998-2009, where he served on the medical malpractice sub-committee, and the Board of Governors of the New Jersey Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America - New Jersey) from 1996 to 2011. He has also served on the District V-B Ethics Committee, as Chair of the Medical Malpractice Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association and on the Special Committee on Implementation of a Pilot Medical Malpractice Mediation project. Mr. Brown was an Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall University School of Law in the Health Law and Policy Program, teaching medical malpractice law between 1998 and 2012. He has also lectured at the New Jersey Judicial College and delivered more than 70 lectures for N.J.I.C.L.E., the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the New Jersey Association for Justice, the New Jersey State Bar Association, and other organizations. Mr. Brown is also the author of New Jersey Medical Malpractice Cases, 3rd Ed. (NJICLE 2009) and a chapter titled "Medical Experts" in New Jersey Trial and Evidence Law (NJICLE 2003). He has written more than 35 articles for numerous professional publications, and had opinion or editorials published in the New York Times, The Star-Ledger, and the New Jersey Law Journal. Mr. Brown was awarded the Gold Medal for Distinguished Service by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America – New Jersey in April 2001. He was named as one of New Jersey's "Top Ten Lawyers" in 2006 and named one of New Jersey's "Top 100 Lawyers" in 2005 and every year since 2007. In April 2012, Mr. Brown was recognized by NJBIZ as one of the 50 Most Powerful People in New Jersey Healthcare. Jonathan H. Lomurro is a certified civil trial attorney by the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey and certified Medical Malpractice attorney by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys. He is a partner with Lomurro, Munson, Comer, Brown & Schottland, P.A. He handles matters relating to medical malpractice, legal malpractice, and personal injury. He holds a Master of Law, LLM, in Trial Advocacy. He is the current Co-Chair of the Medical Malpractice Section and the Chair of the Civil Trial Bar section of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Mr. Lomurro has served as Trustee to the New Jersey State Bar Association and as New Jersey's representative to the American Bar Association House of Delegates. He served as a trustee for the Trial Attorneys of New Jersey. He is on the Board of Governors and acts as the Treasurer of the New Jersey Association for Justice. Further, he served four terms as the President of the Haydn Proctor Inns of Court. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Mr. Lomurro frequently published articles and lectured on different aspects of medical malpractice, electronic health records, and trial law. Additionally, he is the author of the legal treatises New Jersey Medical Malpractice Law, Try It, Technology for the Modern Practitioner, and Dropping the Digital Anchor Gary L. Riveles is a certified civil trial attorney whose practice focuses on the defense of medical malpractice, products and premises liability, and healthcare-related employment issues. A founding partner at MacNeill, O'Neill & Riveles, Mr. Riveles received his J.D. in 1994 from Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark. He is admitted to practice in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and before the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Riveles chairs the Appellate Department at his firm, where he has briefed and argued hundreds of appeals resulting in a number of precedential opinions including Kimmel v. Dayrit, 154 N.J. 337 (1998), Matynska v. Fried, 175 N.J. 51 (2002), and Komlodi v. Picciano, 217 N.J. 387 (2014). Mr. Riveles is a frequent lecturer for the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Lorman Education, and other organizations and is regularly asked to address physician groups and hospitals on the area of medical malpractice. He has written articles for numerous professional publications and had opinion or editorials published in the New Jersey Law Journal and the New Jersey Lawyer. Mr. Riveles serves on the editorial board and is a frequent contributor to Medical Malpractice Law and Strategy, an ALM publication. Mr. Riveles was selected as a 2006 and 2007 New Jersey Rising Star. He has been named a New Jersey SuperLawyer every year since 2009. In April 2019, he was named as one of New Jersey's "Top 100 Lawyers." In 2011, he was invited to become a fellow of Litigation Counsel of America, a national litigation honor society. Mr. Riveles is a charter member of the American Academy of Medical Malpractice Lawyers.