You’d think there would be a straightforward answer to this question, but unfortunately there’s no clear rule under California law. Here’s a look at the ways this issue is approached and how to best protect yourself.
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.
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.
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.
Attorneys use email disclaimers for two main reasons:
- To reinforce the confidential nature of an attorney-client communication when sending an email to a client; and
- To guard against the creation of an attorney-client relationship with a potential client or other individual based on the information communicated in the email.
In The Contract that Binds: Your Fee Agreement, we noted that fee agreements should not be governed by simple boilerplate and formulaic thinking. This is true, but there are exceptions to this general advice: Here are two particular provisions that should be considered and likely added to every fee agreement you draft.
The following is a guest blog post by Nicole Abboud, Esq. Ms. Abboud is a Millennial speaker, former practicing attorney, producer and host of The Gen Why Lawyer Podcast, and founder at Abboud Media—a video branding and marketing agency for lawyers.
Your potential clients are online, searching for answers to their legal concerns by consuming digital content. Videos are one way they seek answers. In fact, with over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos watched per day and YouTube ranking as the second largest search engine on the web, it’s safe to say that video is a highly effective way of reaching potential clients.