O’Melveny Worldwide

The Recorder: Advocacy or Extortion? It Depends on the Court

March 22, 2022

O’Melveny partner David Marroso and associate Emma Lux co-authored this article that looks at the notion of “zealous advocacy” and how far a lawyer may go in defending his or her client. “For decades, California practitioners treaded on uncertain terrain when playing hardball on behalf of their clients. Some courts found that demand letters could rise to the level of extortion and subjected attorneys to professional sanctions ... Other courts went the opposite direction, refusing to sanction an attorney who sent a belligerent pre-litigation settlement demand letter to an adversary,” the authors wrote. “Lawyers in California are left to wonder whether their settlement demand crosses the line from advocacy or extortion. Without clarity and guidance from the Supreme Court or the Legislature, California attorneys must err on the ‘safe side,’ temper aggressiveness, and be less ‘zealous,’ lest they find themselves as personal defendants in an extortion lawsuit. Whether that is a good or bad result is beyond the scope of this article.”

Read the full article here.*

*Reprinted with permission from the March 22, 2022 issue of The Recorder © 2022 ALM Media Properties, LLC. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.