Mark Rubin and The Best Lawyers in America©

Mark Rubin

I’m as pleased as Punch because I’m listed in the 26th edition of The Best Lawyers in America©. Per Best Lawyers®, it recognizes roughly 60,000 U.S. lawyers, from among more than 1.3 million active lawyers. One in 20 or so!

Best Lawyers® listed me for my Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law practice. Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law, aka the Law of Lawyering, represents a small part of my practice—which focuses most heavily on business, real estate, elder law, and fiduciary work—but it’s a part of my practice I’m very proud of. (For more on what this area of law is all about, read Ethics Law aka The Law of Lawyering.)

I ended up doing ethics and professional responsibility work by happenstance. Thirty years ago, bored, wanting to contribute to my profession, and to develop referral sources, I applied for an open slot on the Disciplinary Commission of the Arizona Supreme Court. As an eight-year lawyer I expected rejection. Senior lawyers sat on the Commission! G-d bless luck, for no one else applied for the non-Maricopa County (Phoenix) opening. Truth!

The Commission no longer exists. (The Arizona Supreme Court restructured the bar discipline process several years ago.) When I served, it met once a month on a Saturday. In Phoenix, almost always. A typical day involved reviewing 10-12 attorney misconduct matters. Usually, we resolved cases finally and forever; we didn’t when the Arizona Supreme Court overruled us.

I served for six years. Almost 70 Saturdays in Phoenix, with eight others who also gave up their Saturdays. We read lots of long files. We heard some sordid tales, and a lot more stories which involved neglect, misunderstandings, and unreasonable expectations. Always, though, I developed a deep appreciation for the myriad ways in which lawyers make a mess of things.

I left the Commission when I termed out after six years. Thereafter, I stayed active in the ethics field. Most significantly, I served from 2001-3 on a 17-member committee which rewrote the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct, the 57 rules—with many subparts—which tell lawyers what they can and cannot do.

When my service on the Commission ended, I started representing lawyers with discipline problems. I represent good lawyers who’ve made mistakes and want to straighten out their situations. Always anxious and, frankly, angry in many instances. That said, almost all of my cases get resolved without a trial.

The legal profession has allowed me to shelter, feed, and educate my family, and create jobs for many others. Working the ethics and professional responsibility side lets me help fellow lawyers solve their problems and, at the same time, help maintain professional standards.

In addition to representing lawyers, I sue them. Not the same ones, of course. But, from time to time Leigh Bernstein and I see conduct which breaches the standard of care for lawyers practicing law in Arizona. With the right set of facts, we will represent someone who, unfortunately, ended up wronged by a lawyer. We’re pretty choosy, though: Legal malpractice cases present many challenges and a bad outcome, alone, does not support a legal malpractice claim.

I’m also available to serve as an expert witness, for or against a lawyer. I offer opinions on the reasonableness of fees. On the standard of care. And on causation, i.e., whether, if the lawyer acted wrongfully, his or her wrongful conduct damaged the client. Obviously, though, I am only available if I can offer opinions with which I am comfortable.

Finally, I’m available to answer questions about ethics issues. Others make a living advising the legal profession. If someone calls me with an ethics question and the issues get involved, I charge. Otherwise, I’m the guy you can call for quick, down and dirty answers.

The Best Lawyers in America© has been around for many years. It has become the gold standard for identifying the best lawyers. I am truly honored that I have been included among some great, great lawyers (including, in particular, those in our profession who, like me, work in the area of ethics and professional responsibility.) Thanks!