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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

8 Things Lawyers Can Do to Address Burn Out

If you’re a lawyer, you probably know some burned out lawyers. In fact, you might be a burned out lawyer yourself. There are plenty of articles about how billable hour demands and student debt loads are crushing lawyers’ souls. Unfortunately, these issues are just the tip of the iceberg. Lawyers also can be dragged down by representing clients or causes they don’t agree with, the hierarchical nature of the profession, the publics’ negative perceptions of lawyers and the work we do, etc. What is a lawyer to do? Here are some suggestions. Continue reading

What to Tell a Client When the Case Lacks Merit

When you’re hired to make an initial case evaluation, make sure you have an understanding with the client that, if you find that the case lacks merit, you won’t provide any further representation on it. A case may seem compelling to the client, but you may see a fatal flaw. Explaining this can be uncomfortable, but it’s critical that you do so in a termination letter that clearly states your position. 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

Have You Looked at Your Email Disclaimer Lately?

It has become routine for attorneys to include a disclaimer in their emails. But like anything else that becomes routine, some attorneys have lost track of the purpose of the disclaimer and could benefit from a little thought on improving its language and placement. If that’s you, take a look at your disclaimer and compare it to our sample. Continue reading

This Is a Great Way to Organize Your Case

Early and well-thought-out organization of a case is key to getting the best result for your client, whether through summary judgment, settlement, or trial. Not sure how to set up an organizing framework or want to find a better method than your current one? Check out this example and see if it will work for you. Continue reading

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