Tips for Doing Pro Bono Work from Someone in the Trenches

thinkstockphotos-178363193The following is a guest blog post by Richard M. Wilner, a founding shareholder and chair of the  Employment-based Immigration Practice Group of Wilner & O’Reilly in Orange County. Together with his partner Kelly S. O’Reilly—a former immigration officer—he helps lead a team of 14 lawyers dedicated exclusively to the practice of immigration law.

The great Winston Churchill said “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” Consequently, I believe there is no group more deserving of my time, at no charge, than the men and women who serve in the United States military. Whether representing military clients or otherwise, here are some things I’ve learned from years of doing pro bono legal work. Continue reading

A Conflicts Check Can Save You

thinkstockphotos-490180254A global law firm recently embarrassed itself by not doing a simple conflicts check. As Joe Patrice in his blog post for Above the Law explains, Dentons’ attorneys shot off a letter demanding a retraction from CNN for a story on possible ethics issues with Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price, before a “simple conflict check” revealed that Dentons also represents CNN. You can do better than that. Create a conflicts check system and use it. Continue reading

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cultivating Clients in the Marijuana Field

thinkstockphotos-597927996The following is a guest blog post by Allison B. Margolin, a partner at Margolin and Lawrence in Los Angeles. Ms. Margolin practices criminal defense and civil litigation in both state and federal court.

California’s new law legalizing recreational marijuana has attracted people from all walks of life to the industry. In turn, this will bring new clients to attorneys. But before you represent clients in marijuana-related businesses, consider these tips. Continue reading

Protect Clients from Themselves

social_138282233A legal matter may be the most important thing happening in your client’s life, but you have to warn your client to avoid conversations about it on social media. Whatever they say online—no matter how innocently intended—can be found and used to undermine their position. Here are three things to tell clients about online communications. Continue reading

Litigators: Send These 5 Letters to Your Clients

92419672It’s crucial that attorneys maintain regular and open communication with their clients.  When it comes to litigation, communications often come in the form of status report letters. Here are 5 letters that litigators send to their clients and what to include in them. Continue reading

Fee Agreements: Say What You Won’t Be Doing

thinkstockphotos-493171033Many times you can anticipate related services that you don’t intend to provide under the existing fee agreement with the client, but that the client might want provided. Like when you’re retained to negotiate a dispute, but not to litigate it. Or a settlement may have tax consequences for the client, but you won’t be giving tax advice. Be fair to the client and protect yourself by stating any excluded services in your fee agreement. Continue reading

Don’t Take a Defendant’s Case Until Considering These Factors

Woman in white is thinking. Pros and cons concept.Plaintiff’s counsel always needs to consider whether the cost of litigation to the client is likely to outweigh the gain. Defense counsel needs to do a similar analysis: Consider whether the pros of taking a defendant’s case are outweighed by the cons. Continue reading

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