How the New Rules of Conduct Affect Your Social Media Use

lawyers using social media to advertiseThe following is a guest blog post by Renee Galente Stackhouse. Renee is the founder and trial lawyer at Stackhouse, APC, where she focuses on plaintiff’s personal injury and military defense in San Diego. She is the immediate past President of California Women Lawyers, President of the CWL Foundation, Chair of the CLA SSF Section, and sits on the Board of the San Diego County Bar Association.

Potential clients and referrals are out there on social media platforms and you can’t afford to ignore them. The new California Rules of Professional Conduct, effective November 1, 2018, take social media realities into account and require changes to the way lawyers use social media. Continue reading

What Experienced Attorneys Know About Relating to Opposing Counsel

The following is a guest blog post by Anabella Q. Bonfa. Ms. Bonfa is a litigator with Wellman & Warren LLP and has built a reputation for handling business and partnership disputes, theft of trade secrets, and unfair competition. She lectures extensively on trade secrets, networking, and using social media to develop business.

In the last year, attorney professionalism has been a hot topic. Courts are issuing sanctions more than ever against attorneys who engage in abusive and inappropriate, or even discourteous, behavior in and out of the court room. Experienced attorneys know the reasons to consider your level of professionalism in law practice—and what it can cost if you don’t. Continue reading

Lawyers Must Now Inform Clients about Mediation Confidentiality in Writing

The following is a guest blog post by Teddy (Theda) Snyder. Ms. Snyder is based in Los Angeles and conducts civil and workers compensation mediations throughout California.

Starting January 1, 2019, attorneys must ask clients to acknowledge in writing that they have been fully informed about the rules of mediation confidentiality. SB 954 amends Evidence Code §1122 and adds §1129 (Stats 2018, ch 350). You can create your own form, but you’ll probably use a version of the “safe harbor” form in §1129.

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New Ethics Rules Weigh In on Flat Fees

new rules of professional conductThe following is a guest blog post by Megan Zavieh. Megan focuses her practice exclusively on attorney ethics, providing guidance to attorneys, representing attorneys facing State Bar discipline, podcasting, and writing extensively on ethics issues.

California’s new Rules of Professional Conduct, effective November 1, 2018, recognizes a trend in legal services billing—flat fees. Flat fees are becoming more common as an alternative to the traditional billable hour. As they rise in popularity outside of criminal law, the rules directly address them. Here’s what you need to know and do. Continue reading

3 New Rules Every Criminal Law Attorney Needs to Know

new rules of professional conductThe following is a guest blog post by Garrick Byers, known as the Statute Decoder because of his facility in interpreting statutes and rules. He is the chairperson of the California Public Defenders Association’s (CPDA’s) Ethics Committee, and is a former CPDA president. He is a criminal law specialist and a frequent speaker and writer on criminal law topics, including ethics. He was a public defender for 33 years and is currently in private practice, handling criminal law appeals, writs, motions, and case consultations.

The new California Rules of Professional Conduct, effective November 1, 2018, use the format and much of the substance of the ABA Model Rules. Here are three of the most important changes for prosecution and defense counsel. Continue reading

Highlights of the New California Professional Rules

new rules of professional conductThe following is a guest blog post by Merri A. Baldwin. Merri is a shareholder at Rogers Joseph O’Donnell P.C., where her practice focuses on attorney liability and conduct, including malpractice, State Bar discipline, ethics advice, motions to disqualify and sanctions defense. She is the former Chair of the California State Bar Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct.  She teaches professional responsibility at Berkeley Law, and is a certified specialist in Legal Malpractice Law. 

In May, after several rounds and many years of drafting, editing, and consideration, the California Supreme Court approved comprehensive changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyers in California to take effect on November 1, 2018. These significant changes bring California rules more in line with the rest of the country.  Here are some highlights of the new rules. Continue reading

The Key to Increasing Lawyer Productivity

lawyers can increase their productivityThe following is a guest blog post by Ritu Goswamy, Esq. Ritu is a lawyer, author, and legal productivity consultant. Ritu’s first book, The New Billable Hour: Bill More Hours, Be More Productive, and Still Have Work-Life Balance, is available for free by emailing her at ritu[at]newbillablehour.com.

“Productivity” is defined as the measure of output per unit of input. To get an increase in productivity, you need greater input efficiency. Here’s how lawyers can apply this principle to increase their productivity and make their practice more rewarding on every level. Continue reading

5 Ways Lawyers Can Maximize Their Time

lawyer with time pressure and too much to doThe following is a guest blog post by Ritu Goswamy, Esq. Ritu is a lawyer, author, and legal productivity consultant. Her New Billable Hour™ system allows lawyers to expand their time by billing themselves first. Ritu’s first book, The New Billable Hour: Bill More Hours, Be More Productive, and Still Have Work-Life Balance, is available for free by emailing her at ritu@newbillablehour.com.

As lawyers, we may think that there’s not enough time to get everything done. When we feel like we’re “spinning out,” learning the latest time management hack just adds to our stress. We can’t create more hours in the day, but can maximize the hours we have. Consider these five methods to maximize the hours in a day as ways to become more aware and in control of your time. When we are in control, the “spinning out” lessens and our focus deepens. Continue reading

Divorce Is Not Any Easier After Trump’s Tax Cut

wedding cake split apart to show divorce and split of assetsThe following is a guest post from Ed Lyman, a trial and appellate attorney at Walzer Melcher LLP who handles complex dissolution of marriage and domestic partnerships for high net worth individuals.

Family law attorneys and accountants are struggling to grasp the impact of the GOP’s tax overhaul on divorces. The biggest changes that affect divorcées is the repeal of various deductions, the creation of new ones, large tax cuts for business entities, and eliminating many exemptions. These changes require special attention when calculating alimony, child support, and division of marital assets. Continue reading

Don’t Let Your Ethical Duties Get Lost in the Cloud

The following is a guest blog post by Perry L. Segal, an attorney and management consultant at Charon Law, Redwood City. Mr. Segal has over 25 years of combined experience in law and technology. He is co-chair of the California Council of State Bar Sections, special advisor and past-chair of the Law Practice Management and Technology Section Executive Committee, and a member of the bar’s Social Media Task Force.

Few technologies create more puzzlement and worry for attorneys than “the cloud.” Attorneys, quite reasonably, want to know how they can stay on the right side of their ethical obligations when it comes to using it. As always, attorneys need to practice in accordance with the standard of reasonable care and effort. But there’s a caveat: Attorneys will be charged with the standard of an attorney who is competent in the understanding and use of technology. What does this actually mean? And as a practical matter, what can an attorney do? Continue reading