areas of expertise
Nicole Hyland is a partner in the Litigation Group and Professional Responsibility Group at Frankfurt Kurnit. Her practice focuses primarily on legal ethics, professional responsibility, and legal malpractice.
Ms. Hyland counsels attorneys and law firms on conflicts of interest, legal fee disputes, escrow issues, disqualification motions, multijurisdictional law practice, business transactions with clients, lateral transitions, law firm formation and break-ups, advertising and social media use, and other professional responsibility issues. Ms. Hyland also represents defendants and plaintiffs in legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty disputes.
In addition to her legal ethics and professional responsibility practice, Ms. Hyland has an active litigation practice, focusing on art, literature, and entertainment industry disputes. She handles copyright, trademark, right of publicity, and defamation claims, as well as disputes over financing, production, distribution, and talent agreements. She counsels art, literature, and entertainment industry clients on content issues, including copyright, trademark, right of publicity, television formatting rights, privacy, defamation, and fair use.
Ms. Hyland is Chair of the Committee on Professional Ethics of the New York City Bar Association (NYCBA). In that role, she oversees the City Bar’s ethics hotline, which provides ethical guidance to lawyers from all over New York State. She also oversees the drafting of informal and formal ethics opinions on a variety of topics, including: non-refundable flat fee arrangements, the use of Professional Employer Organizations by law firms, the ethics of using a virtual law office, ethical guidelines for accepting credit cards, and business arrangements between law firms and nonlegal organizations.
Ms. Hyland serves as Co-Chair for the Ethics Committees of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) and the New York Women’s Bar Association (NYWBA) – WBASNY’s New York City chapter. For the past two years she has hosted the NYWBA annual meeting at Frankfurt Kurnit followed by an Ethics CLE program for NYWBA members and attendees.
Ms. Hyland serves on the Board of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) and is a member of the New York State Bar Association Committee for Standards on Attorney Conduct (COSAC). She is also a member of the American Bar Association’s Center for Professional Responsibility.
Ms. Hyland writes and lectures frequently on legal ethics and professional responsibility issues. She recently joined Professor Roy Simon as a co-author on his seminal treatise: Simon’s New York Rules of Professional Conduct Annotated (2015 ed.). She is on the editorial board of the New York Legal Ethics Reporter and contributes to the Legal Ethics Forum blog. Ms. Hyland is admitted to practice in New York.
awards & recognition
2013 New York-area "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers magazine
2014 - 2015 Super Lawyer in Professional Liability
2015 Corporate LiveWire Global Award in Professional Negligence – New York, USA.
Columbia University (BA, 1990)
Fordham University School of Law (JD, Cum Laude, Order of the Coif, honors, 2002)
- Notes and Articles Editor on the Fordham Law Review
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
Current Issues in Corporate Representation: Protecting the Attorney-Client Relationship
Nicole Hyland speaks on "Current Issues in Corporate Representation: Protecting the Attorney-Client Relationship" for a Fordham Law School Ethics CLE.
February 19 2016
42nd National Conference on Professional Responsibility
Nicole Hyland speaks on the "The Ethics of Advising Clients on Social Media" at the National Conference on Professional Responsibility for the American Bar Association.
June 3 2016
2016 International Legal Ethics Conference
Nicole Hyland speaks on a panel about the Legal Ethics of Saul Goodman, the ethically challenged protagonist of the hit television show Better Call Saul. Program venue: Fordham University School of Law (July 14 -16)
July 14 2016
Past Speaking Engagements
Don’t Try This at Home: the Questionable Ethics of “Better Call Saul”
Nicole Hyland uses the hit TV show ‘Better Call Saul’ as a jumping off point to discuss a range of challenging ethical issues. Based on her popular Tumblr blog “The Legal Ethics of Better Call Saul.” Program Venue: Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
October 30 2015
Twitter is What Birds Do
Nicole Hyland presents 'Twitter is What Birds Do: Social Media Issues for Lawyers' for the Aon Law Firm Symposium in Phoenix.
October 15 2015
The 2015 Ethics Game Show
Nicole Hyland speaks at a CLE Program entitled "Ethics Game Show," a quiz-show style program where audience members guess the tricky answers to ethical questions. Program venue: Practising Law Institute, 1177 Avenue of the Americas, New York. Register Here.
July 27 2015
Twitter: Best Practices & Attorney Advertising Ethics
Nicole Hyland hosts "Twitter: Best Practices & Attorney Advertising Ethics," a New York Women's Bar Association presentation, as part of an ongoing series on social media marketing for lawyers, at 6PM. Program venue: Frankfurt Kurnit, Boardroom.
June 11 2015
LinkedIn: Best Practices & Attorney Advertising Ethics
Nicole Hyland hosts "LinkedIn: Best Practices & Attorney Advertising Ethics," a New York Women's Bar Association presentation as part of an ongoing series on social media marketing for lawyers.
May 12 2015
Conflicts of Interest: Managing Conflicts and Avoiding the Dreaded Disqualification Motion
April 22 2015
Current Ethical Issues in Corporate Representation
Nicole Hyland speaks on a panel hosted by Cardozo Law School and Fordham University School of Law. The program covers: Attorney-Client Privilege in the Corporate Context, Ethical Obligations Upon Receiving Inadvertently Sent Documents, Playbook Conflicts, and Offering Legal Representation to Corporate Employees. Program venue: Cardozo Law School, Moot Court Room.
February 10 2015
Fordham Bridge the Gap Program 2015
Nicole Hyland presents two CLE programs about litigation/advocacy ethics and law practice ethics at Fordham's "Bridge the Gap" program.
January 24 2015
Writing and Publishing to Further Your Career
Nicole Hyland speaks on a panel hosted by the NYC Bar Association's Committee on Career Advancement and Management. The program explores how lawyers can use writing and publishing to enhance their professional profiles and develop business. Program venue: NYCBA building at 42 West 44th Street in New York.
January 14 2015
Staying out of Trouble: What Every Attorney Must Know About Ethics 2014
Nicole Hyland speaks on a panel about important developments in the New York ethics rules, including conflicts of interest, confidentiality, advertising and the no-contact rule. Program venue: Practising Law Institute, 1177 Avenue of the Americas, New York. Register here.
December 15 2014
E-discovery at Outten & Golden
December 9 2014
Entertainment Business Law Seminar
Edward Rosenthal and Nicole Hyland speak on litigation strategies and attorney ethics in the entertainment industry at the Entertainment Business Law Seminar in association with the CMJ Music Marathon.
October 24 2014
Ethics for Advertising Lawyers
Nicole Hyland speaks at a CLE Program about the unique ethical issues that confront advertising lawyers, both in-house and outside counsel. Program venue: Frankfurt Kurnit
October 17 2014
What Lawyers Need to Know About Social Media and Advertising
Nicole Hyland speaks on a panel about social media, advertising, and legal ethics. Program venue: The annual meeting of WBASNY in Galloway, New Jersey.
June 9 2014
“Ethics in the Electronic Age” at the New York City Bar Association
Nicole Hyland speaks at a CLE program hosted by the New York City Bar Association entitled "Ethics in the Electronic Age. Be careful when using that smart phone, tablet, blog or social network." Program venue: NYCBA building at 42 West 44th Street in New York.
June 2 2014
Breaking Bad in the Digital Age: Ethical Concerns in Lawyers’ Use of Emerging Technology
Nicole Hyland speaks at a CLE program entitled "Breaking Bad in the Digital Age: Ethical Concerns in Lawyers’ Use of Emerging Technology." Program Venue: 40th ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility in Long Beach, California
May 29 2014
The Intra-Firm Attorney-Client Privilege and Duties Upon Receiving Privileged Documents
Nicole Hyland speaks on a panel about recent developments concerning the recognition of the atorney-client privilege between law firm in-house counsel and the lawyers they advise, as well as the ethical issues that arise when lawyers receive stolen documents. Program venue: IADC Professional Liability Roundable in Chicago, Illinois.
May 8 2014
Lawyer Complaints and Complaining Lawyers: Navigating the World of Attorney Discipline
Nicole Hyland moderates an ethics panel about New York’s disciplinary system, offering a range of different viewpoints, including prosecutor, respondents’ counsel and judge, for the annual Meeting of the New York Women’s Bar Association. Program Venue: Frankfurt Kurnit.
April 24 2014
Privacy and Your Practice: How to Keep your Information Safe and Secure
Nicole Hyland speaks on an ethics panel about the ethical implications of using the cloud, social media, and other technological developments. Program Venue: CUNY School of Law, Long Island City, New York.
April 17 2014
“The Intra-Firm Attorney Client Privilege,” at the Bi-Annual Meeting of the APRL
Nicole Hyland speaks on a panel about recent developments concerning the intra-firm attorney-client privilege. Program venue: APRL bi-annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
March 28 2014
Selected Ethics Issues in IP Rights Enforcement and Defense
Nicole Hyland speaks at a CLE program entitled "Selected Ethics Issues in IP Rights Enforcement and Defense". Program venue: Practising Law Institute, 1177 Avenue of the Americas New York.
January 31 2014
Social Lawyers: Avoiding the Ethical Pitfalls of Using Social Media
Nicole Hyland speaks at a CLE program about Ethics and Social Media for the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Leadership Development, as part of the NYSBA 2014 Annual Meeting. Program venue: Watchell, Lipton 51 West 52nd Street in New York.
January 28 2014
Nicole Hyland at the New York City Bar Association
Nicole Hyland speaks at a CLE program on Ethics and Social Media hosted by the New York City Bar Association. Program venue: NYCBA building at 42 West 44th Street in New York.
January 14 2014
Fordham Law School Bridge-the-Gap Program 2014
Nicole Hyland presents two ethics programs on conflicts of interest and social media ethics at Fordham Law School's 2014 Bridge-the-Gap program. Program venue: Fordham University School of Law.
January 11 2014
Ethics Issues for the Open Source Practitioner
Nicole Hyland speaks "Ethics Issues for the Open Source Practitioner", a CLE program at PLI's New York Conference Center.
November 13 2013
Other People’s Money: Client Funds and Escrow Accounts
Nicole Hyland moderates an ethics panel regarding the ethical implications of handling client funds, including opening and managing escrow accounts, the IOLA program, and the New York Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection.
September 26 2013
Ethics & Conflicts: How to Handle Client Conflicts 2013
Nicole Hyland speaks at CLE program on how to handle client conflicts hosted by the Practising Law Institute. Program Venue: PLI's New York Conference Center.
August 13 2013
The Legal Ethics of Blogging, Social Networking & List Servs
Nicole Hyland speaks on a panel hosted by the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers in San Francisco, California about the legal ethics of blogging, social networking, and List Serv.
August 9 2013
Social Media Traps to Avoid for Lawyers
Nicole Hyland presents an ethics CLE on "Social Media Traps to Avoid for Lawyers" at Frankfurt Kurnit.
July 30 2013
Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls in a Criminal Law Practice
Nicole Hyland moderates, "Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls in a Criminal Law Practice," an event co-sponsored by the Ethics and Criminal Law Committees of the New York Women’s Bar Association.
June 18 2013
New York City Bar Association’s Legal Referral Service
Nicole Hyland moderates a CLE program on Marketing and Social Media for the City Bar.
May 28 2013
Hot Topics in Legal Ethics
Nicole Hyland speaks at a CLE program hosted by Fordham Law School.
May 20 2013
Conflicts Panel for New York Women’s Bar Association
Nicole Hyland moderates "Duties, Duties, Duties: What to do When Your Duties to Your Client Conflict With Your Duties to the Court or Third Parties", a CLE Program at Frankfurt Kurnit.
April 23 2013
The Ethics Game Show: Matrimonial and Family Law Edition 2013
Nicole Hyland speaks at "The Ethics Game Show: Matrimonial and Family Law Edition 2013", aCLE program at the PLI's New York Conference Center.
March 28 2013
Ethics for Business and Transactional Lawyers
Nicole Hyland speaks at a CLE program hosted by the NY State Bar Association at the Concierge Conference Center, New York City.
March 18 2013
Ethical Billing Practices and Retainer Agreements
Nicole Hyland and Frankfurt Kurnit host a CLE program on "Ethical Billing Practices and Retainer Agreements".
February 12 2013
‘Outlaw’ or ‘Artlaw’: Advertising in the Digital Age
Nicole Hyland speaks on a panel at the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) on "'Outlaw' or 'Artlaw': Advertising in the Digital Age" in Dallas, TX.
February 8 2013
IP Enforcement and Litigation 2013: Criminal and Civil Update
Nicole Hyland speaks at a CLE program on IP Enforcement and Litigation at PLI’s New York Conference Center.
February 1 2013
Ethical Dangers of Lawyers Using Technology & Social Media
January 29 2013
Staying Out of Trouble: What Every Attorney Must Know About Ethics 2012
December 17 2012
Ethics Game Show
Nicole Hyland speaks at,"Ethics Game Show", an event hosted by the New York Women's Bar Association.
December 6 2012
Attorney Escrow Accounts
Nicole Hyland speaks on "Attorney Escrow Accounts", a panel at the NYC Bar Bridge the Gap Program.
December 5 2012
NYC Bar Bridge the Gap Program
Nicole Hyland speaks at the NYC Bar Bridge the Gap Program on a panel regarding Attorney Escrow accounts.
December 5 2012
Emerging Ethical Risks for Attorneys
Nicole Hyland speaks at "Emerging Ethical Risks for Attorneys", an event sponsored by the HB Litigation Conference in New York City.
July 25 2012
Ethics Game Show
Nicole Hyland speaks at the "Ethics Game Show", a presentation at the NY City Bar Association.
June 27 2012
Ethics for Government Lawyers Panel
Nicole Hyland chairs "Ethics for Government Lawyers" at a PLI conference in New York.
March 9 2012
Ethical Issues Confronted During Litigation
October 26 2011
New York State Bar Association
June 22 2011
My First Ethical Dilemma: A Program for Law Students
Nicole Hyland presents "My First Ethical Dilemma: A Program for Law Students" at the New York City Bar.
April 20 2011
news & press
We Asked an Ethics Lawyer About Defense Attorneys Who Break the Rules
Nicole Hyland was interviewed by Vice about about public defenders, attorney-client privilege, and how yLaw & Order has skewed Americans' opinions of the justice system in the lead up to Season 2 of 'Better Call Saul.'
Law Firms Win Big Case Arising from Representation of Clients with Competing Interests
Law firms often struggle to determine when the rules of professional conduct permit representation of clients who compete in the marketplace. When is it OK, for example, to represent clients with competing patents, trademarks, or copyrights? A recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case provides important guidance for IP lawyers -- particularly those representing clients with patents.
New York Authorizes Temporary Practice By Out-Of-State Lawyers
In a thrilling and important development, New York has promulgated a new Court Rule, 22 NYCRR § 523 ("Section 523"), that allows lawyers admitted in other jurisdictions, but not admitted in New York, to practice here under certain circumstances.
A Storm on the Horizon - When to Communicate with Clients About Destroyed Files
As hurricane Joaquin barrels towards the Northeast, New York lawyers may be reminded of the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy as well as other recent disasters.
Forty Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2015
Super Lawyers listed forty Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2015 edition.
Virtually Unclear: Will Legal Tech Companies Bridge Justice Gap or Fall into UPL Abyss?
Nicole Hyland and Tyler Maulsby contributed an article to the New York Legal Ethics Reporter titled, "Virtually Unclear: Will Legal Tech Companies Bridge Justice Gap or Fall into UPL Abyss?".
Dentons Conflict Ruling Should Give Megafirms Pause
City Bar Ethics Panel Issues Opinion on Attorney Threats
To Dodge Conflicts, Make Waivers Specific
Nicole Hyland was quoted by Bloomberg BNA on the ethics of client engagement letters and the advance waiver clauses they include in the article, "To Dodge Conflicts, Make Waivers Specific".
Google Hits Jenner With Own Book In Subpoena Spat
Mylan’s Kirkland Ellis Suit May Hold Clues for Conflict Waivers
Law360 quoted Nicole Hyland on what Mylan Inc. et al. v. Kirkland Ellis LLP could mean for conflict waivers. In the suit, Mylan alleged Kirkland & Ellis LLP breached fiduciary, ethical and professional duties when it agreed to represent Mylan’s rival, Teva.
The Legal Ethics and Morality of ‘Better Call Saul’
Bits or Mortar: Will New York Continue to Require Non-Resident Lawyers to Have Physical Offices?
For a variety of reasons, some New York lawyers choose to practice "virtually" - that is, they conduct their business primarily over the Internet, rather than through a physical law office.
Attorneys Are Lawyering Up in Two New Cases
Standard Of Review: The Legal Ethics (Or Lack Thereof) Of Better Call Saul
Slate TV Club Podcast
Thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2014
Super Lawyers listed thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2014 edition.
Nicole Hyland’s Blog in Above the Law
NYCBA Says Retainer Fees OK if Certain Conditions Met
The New York Law Journal covered a New York City Bar opinion on non-refundable retainer fees. The City Bar’s Committee on Professional Ethics, which is chaired by Nicole Hyland, released the opinion.
NYC Bar Warns Firms To Tread Lightly With HR Outsourcing
Law360 quoted Nicole Hyland on the ethical issues confronting law firms that use Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) to outsource human resource and employee benefit functions. The article (which is behind a paywall) quoted Ms. Hyland saying: "Law firms are ethically permitted to use PEOs, subject to certain guidelines. The law firm must scrutinize the PEO Agreement carefully to make sure that it does not interfere with the lawyers' ethical obligations." You can read more about this ethics opinion here.
New York Court of Appeals Refuses to Apply “Unfinished Business” Doctrine to Law Firms
In a decision with far reaching implications for law firms and their clients, the New York Court of Appeals firmly rejected the application of the "unfinished business" doctrine - an important principle of partnership law - to lawyers and law firms.
5 Ways To Turn Your Social Media Addiction Into Clients
New Ethics Opinion Says New York Lawyers May Use a Virtual Law Office Address in Advertising
In the current legal and economic climate, some lawyers are using - or considering using - so-called "virtual law offices".
Service of Process to Virtual Office
The New York Law Journal published Nicole Hyland's letter to the editor regarding a recent City Bar Ethics Committee Opinion on the use of "virtual law offices" in attorney advertising.
Panelists Identify What Lawyers Do On Social Media That Leads to Trouble
Bloomberg BNA cited "Breaking Bad in the Digital Age: Ethical Concerns in Lawyers' Use of Emerging Technology", a panel on which Nicole Hyland explored ethical concerns arising from lawyers' use of social media.
When Using Social Media, Even Legal Minds Need to Err on the Side of Caution
In-House Counsel Ethics: Practicing Law as a Square Peg
Practicing Law in the Age of Cloud Computing
New York Court of Appeals Rules on Attorney Fees Issue
Just three weeks ago, the New York Court of Appeals, in Albunio v. City of New York, issued a ruling on a question that has long bedeviled civil rights and employment lawyers - and their clients.
Law Firm Liability: Court Ruling Will Permit More Fraud Claims to Proceed
In a decision last week Melcher v. Greenberg Traurig LLP, New York's highest court, gave a big boost to plaintiffs wanting to sue lawyers for committing intentional fraud and deceit in the course of a court proceeding.
ABA Journal Podcast
Creative Arrangements with Nonlegal Businesses
Bloomberg BNA quoted Nicole Hyland on an opinion released this month by the New York City Bar's Ethics Committee regarding ethics rules for lawyers contemplating creative arrangements with nonlegal organizations.
Business Arrangements with Non-Legal Entities
In the current legal and economic climate, some lawyers are considering business arrangements with non-legal entities. A new ethics opinion by the Committee on Professional Ethics of the New York City Bar Association discusses important ethical issues raised by such business ventures.
Frankfurt Kurnit Promotes Top Entertainment and Ethics Lawyers to Partnership
Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC named Nicole Hyland partner of the firm’s Attorney Ethics and Professional Responsibility Group, and Maggie Pisacane partner of its Entertainment Group, effective January 1st, 2014.
Ethics Roundup for 2013: Six Developments that Affect the Way We Practice Law
Our work as professional responsibility attorneys over the past year has given us a front row seat to the most bedeviling ethical conundrums faced by lawyers. In our final Ethics Alert of 2013, we re-cap six important developments for New York-area lawyers, along with tips for staying on the right side of the line.
Are Your Pre-Merger Communications with Your Client Protected?
The purchaser in a corporate merger owns the seller's pre-merger communications with its lawyer, according to a recent Delaware decision. In Great Hill Equity Partners Iv, LP v. SIG Growth Equity Fund I, LLP, the buyer sued former shareholders of the seller alleging they fraudulently induced the buyer to enter into the transaction.
Use of “Of Counsel” Title for Lawyers in Foreign Countries
A recent New York City Bar Professional Ethics Committee opinion offers important new guidance to New York law firms on use of the "of counsel" title for lawyers who work in foreign countries. The opinion states that a New York law firm can designate as "of counsel" a New York attorney who resides and practices law overseas, provided the firm complies with three criteria.
Thirty-three Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2013
Can Lawyers Advise Clients to Delete Social Media Content?
Increasingly, lawyers are faced with questions about whether they should advise clients about the use of social media. While news reports and ethics opinions have focused primarily on lawyers' social media use, the issue of client counseling has received less attention. Now, a new ethics Opinion by the New York County Lawyers Association concludes that lawyers may ethically counsel clients about their use of social media, including, in some circumstances, advising them to "take down" social media content.
Judges May ‘Friend’ Lawyers, Witnesses ABA Says
Social Media Security
Judge Slams Photographer for Meritless Copyright Suit
NEWSgrist quoted Nicole Hyland on her recent "victory not only for artistic expression, but for the legal system as well."
Data security breaches are in the news, and companies that experience them are suffering loss of consumer confidence. If your business model requires you to collect personal consumer data, you may want to hear about a recent federal case that makes it much easier for consumers to sue companies for data security breaches.