There are many grounds for both mandatory and permissive withdrawal under the California Rules of Professional Conduct. When it’s time to withdraw from representation in a civil case, the attorney should send the client a letter like one of these.
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.
A 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.