News Roundup

Weekly Briefs: New ethics rule considered in Virginia; name partner launches new firm

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Virginia proposes ban on agreements limiting ethics complaints

A proposed ethics rule in Virginia would ban lawyers from making agreements with clients or former clients that limit their right to pursue disciplinary complaints. The Virginia State Bar is seeking public comment on the proposal, which would be added to Rule 8.4 of the state’s professional conduct rules. (, Virginia State Bar press release)

McKool Smith co-founder launches new firm

McKool Smith co-founder Mike McKool is leaving to launch a new law firm. McKool told that he made “the hard decision” to leave because of a compelling litigation opportunity for a client. The firm couldn’t accept the representation because of a business conflict, according to David Sochia, managing partner and chairman at McKool Smith. (, McKool Smith press release)

In break from norm, Kagan lists reason for recusal

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan took a “step toward greater transparency” when she listed the reason for her recusal in a death penalty case in a May 22 order, according to a Bloomberg Law column by former Deputy Solicitor General Philip Allen Lacovara. Kagan indicated that she recused because of her “prior government employment,” a reference to her stint as the U.S. solicitor general. She also cited the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, which applies to federal judges below the Supreme Court level. The ABA House of Delegates has called on the Supreme Court to adopt a binding code of ethics for justices. (Bloomberg Law, Above the Law, the May 22 order)

TikTok sues Montana over statewide ban

TikTok has filed a federal lawsuit over Montana’s ban on the app, which is the first statewide TikTok ban in the nation. Republican Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen has said the app “is a Chinese Communist Party spying tool.” The suit says the ban violates the First Amendment and the commerce clause, is an unconstitutional bill of attainder, and is preempted by federal law. A prior challenge to the law has been filed by TikTok users. (Bloomberg Law, the New York Times, the May 22 lawsuit)

Bayer AG wins seventh trial in a row in Roundup litigation

Bayer AG has won its seventh trial in a row in litigation contending that its Roundup weed killer causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A Bayer spokesperson said the verdict for the company “is consistent with the evidence in this case that Roundup is not responsible for the plaintiff’s illness.” Bayer agreed to a settlement of up to $10.9 billion in 2020 to resolve about 75% of current Roundup claims. Other claims continue to go to trial. (, Law360)

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