Legal Ethics & Malpractice Defense

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RK&O has vast experience representing lawyers, multinational law firms and in-house legal departments in matters involving all aspects of attorney conduct. Many prominent national law firms have turned to RK&O when they and their partners have been confronted with complicated legal and ethical challenges. RK&O has particular expertise handling malpractice and other litigations, regulatory enforcement proceedings, criminal investigations and disciplinary proceedings.

Because law firm defense matters often involve underlying transactions or legal actions that give rise to disputes, clients need representation from a firm that is experienced in, and equipped to handle, today’s evolving and increasingly complex legal issues. RK&O attorneys routinely represent clients in contentious and cutting-edge commercial litigations; hotly investigated regulatory/white collar matters involving securities laws and related issues; and sophisticated financial, M&A, private equity and other corporate transactions. Due to our vast expertise and experience handling these matters, we are extremely well-versed in defending the law firms and lawyers whose advice and conduct can become the subject of dispute. more +

RK&O’s reputation as a trial-ready firm can often lead to early case resolution.  In addition, our success rate on dispositive motions is excellent.

Our partners have sat on disciplinary committees, and have over two decades of experience drafting ethics opinions and serving on bar committees focused on improving the rules governing lawyer conduct. These roles give us a unique perspective when advising our clients and defending their interests.

Among others, we have handled matters involving:

  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Legal malpractice
  • Fraud
  • Aiding and abetting liability
  • Client conflicts
  • Issues relating to firm governance and management
  • Securities laws issues
  • Disciplinary proceedings
  • Partnership disputes
  • Disqualification motions


  • Dismissal of all claims against Am Law 25 law firm in New York State court lawsuit in which shareholders allege the firm and one of its partners aided and abetted the fraudulent sale of a majority interest in, and voting control over, a company to a group of investors.
  • Dismissal of all claims against former law firm partner in securities fraud litigation brought by the SEC.
  • Successful defense of law firm and lawyer in New York Attorney General’s Office investigation of aiding and abetting client’s financial fraud.
  • Successful defense of law firm in SDNY investigation of fraudulent tax shelters created and promoted by a partner of the firm.
  • Successful defense of law firm in SDNY investigation of client’s fraudulent venture capital operation.
  • Dismissal of claims against law firm and former partner where plaintiff alleged knowing submission of false declarations to prosecute a financial claim.
  • Successful defense of former General Counsel of Fortune 500 company in parallel DOJ, SEC and civil litigations focused on lawyer’s advice on corporate disclosures and insider stock sales.
  • Successful defense of lawyer sued over allegations relating to adequacy of disclosures in investor offering materials.
  • Achieved reversal of court order finding lawyer in contempt and referring lawyer for disciplinary proceedings.
  • Investigation and subsequent defense of law firms against breach of fiduciary duty claims arising from alleged breaches of advance conflict waivers.
  • Successful defense of in-house counsel in SEC investigation concerning the sale of unaffiliated stock under Section 5 of the Securities Act.