It’s Time to Review Your Calendaring System

Missed deadlines caused by failure to properly calendar matters are the most significant cause of malpractice claims against attorneys. Without a good docket control system, even the most knowledgeable practitioner may miss a deadline or not have enough time to properly prepare. Is your system up to the task? Continue reading

What to Include in a Fee Agreement for Forming a Corporation

If you represent clients in forming a California corporation, you should have a fee agreement that is specifically tailored for that type of work. Here are the necessary provisions to include. Continue reading

What to Tell Clients About Their Files at the End of the Case

Case files routinely contain documents (and sometimes other property) that clients have provided. The California Rules of Professional Conduct require that an attorney return these items, 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). Here’s sample language that you can use in a letter to a client at the end of the case. Continue reading

When Your Gut Says Not to Take a Case

You know how you get a “gut feeling” against someone or a situation? This can definitely happen in your law practice. It may be that your personal observations, discussions, or other interactions with a prospective client will lead you to believe that you couldn’t adequately represent the client, or that the client won’t cooperate with you on the matter. When you get that feeling and decide to heed it, here’s how to politely and effectively extricate yourself. Continue reading

Getting Paid: Your Billing Statement

You likely didn’t learn anything about billing statements in law school, but you can’t run a law practice without getting paid. Here are some basic considerations for your billing statements and sample language to put in your fee agreement so that your client knows what to expect. Continue reading

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

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