Spell Out the Effective Date of Your Fee Agreement

Every contract for legal services should contain a clause specifying the date the agreement will become effective. This date establishes the beginning of the attorney-client relationship and marks the beginning of the attorney’s fiduciary duties toward the client. Continue reading

How to Handle Abusive Deposition Tactics

lawyer stopping abusive behavior at a depositionConduct enough depositions and you’re bound to see abusive tactics by some opposing counsel. Here are five ways to effectively deal with the most common abuses attorneys experience during depositions. Continue reading

5 Things to Include in Your Email Policy

sending protected email between attorney and clientOne of the first communications you should send to a new client is your email policy.  Explain the dangers involved in emailing privileged information and tell them what precautions to take. Continue reading

How to Drop a Prospective Client Who Doesn’t Pay Your Retainer

Thumbs down icon for turning down a clientYou meet with a prospective client and explain that you’ll need a initial retainer fee to get started. The prospective client doesn’t pay the fee and you’re pretty sure this will be a pattern, so you decide not to take on this person as a client. Now you’ll need to inform him or her in writing.

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3 Tips Before Starting a Law Practice

Particularly in solo and small law practices, income growth typically is irregular and for the most part slow in the first year of practice. Before you decide to go solo or join a new practice, do some financial planning and consider these three tips. Continue reading

How to Cover Costs in Your Fee Agreement

money in hand representing costs attorney can recoverIt’s not just attorney fees that you need to discuss in your fee agreement with your client—make sure to cover costs, including whether you’ll advance them. Here are the basics that you need to know, including sample language for your agreement. Continue reading

3 Ways to Deal with Client Conflicts

attorney's hand up in stop gesture because there's a conflict of interest between clientsA prospective client comes to you and you discover that there’s a conflict of interest with one of your current or former clients. Or while you’re representing a client, a conflict arises with another client. You’ve got three ways to deal with these types of situations, depending on when the conflict comes to light.  Continue reading

5 Tips for Preparing Defense Closing Argument

man holding up five fingers for the five tips for defense closing argumentLike opening statements, defense counsel should strategically organize the closing argument and reduce it to very simple main points. But unlike an opening statement, a closing argument is an explicit argument rather than a narrative containing an implicit argument. Here are five tips for defense counsel’s closing argument. Continue reading

How to Write Special Interrogatories

woman drafting interrogatories on her computerDrafting special interrogatories is yet another mainstay of litigation practice that’s generally not covered well in law school. Consider this a summary overview to get you started. Continue reading

Checklist: Reviewing an Estate Plan

Attorneys are often asked to review a will prepared by either another attorney or the client who used a self-help book. But review of an existing will really means an estate plan review, including beneficiary designations and powers of attorney. It’s relatively simple to spot improper drafting, but harder to determine whether needed provisions were omitted. This checklist will help you review a will and estate plan to make sure it’s up-to-date and meets your client’s needs. Continue reading