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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

Don’t Forget to Include Client Responsibilities in Your Fee Agreement

lawyer handing fee agreement to client with provisions setting out responsibilities of lawyer and clientYour attorney fee agreement should not only state your responsibilities as the attorney, it should also include a provision setting out the client’s responsibilities. Check out these sample provisions. Continue reading

How to Build an Effective Ethical Wall

With attorney movement on the rise between firms, it’s critical that attorneys and firms pay close attention to conflicts of interest that can come up when attorneys in practice for years are integrated into new firms. When a conflict is identified, firms can use ethical walls to prevent breaches of fiduciary duties and big hits to the firm, including disgorgement of attorney fees, malpractice claims, and loss of clients. Continue reading

Just Passing Through: New Deduction for Business Income Expires in 2026

pass through tax benefit dollarsUnder new IRC §199A, business entity owners may be able to deduct 20 percent of passthrough income. This tax boon, which is set to sunset after December 31, 2025, has many lawyers wondering whether they might personally benefit.

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Clients Get No Guaranties

It’s natural that clients want their attorneys to give them at least some idea of the likely outcome of their cases. Certainly it’s part of the attorney’s job to give the client a sense of whether the matter is likely to be resolved successfully or it lacks merit. But attorneys should never give a guaranty. Continue reading

You Should Have a Client File Retention Policy: Here’s a Sample

Attorneys maintain files on their clients’ cases with documents (and sometimes other property) that clients have provided in connection with those cases. These files have to be returned to the client, at a client’s request, when the attorney’s “employment has terminated,” subject to “any protective order or nondisclosure agreement.” Cal Rules of Prof Cond 3–700(D)(1). Given this rule, it’s imperative that attorneys establish an office policy on the retention and disposition (including destruction) of client files, and notify clients of this policy. Continue reading

Know the Limits on Attorney Fees

Attorneys can’t always get what they want in attorney fees. There are statutory limitations, fees subject to court approval, and fee agreements that violate public policy. Continue reading

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