Representing Co-Parties? Send This Letter.

lawyers advising co-clients about potential conflicts of interestWhen you represent individuals as co-parties to a case, there’s either an actual conflict or a potential for one. That’s why you need to send a letter like this to both parties.

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Do You Know When an Oral Fee Agreement is Enough?

lawyer trying to remember all of the circumstances in which an oral fee agreement is okayAlthough you should always memorialize your attorney-client fee agreements in writing, there are some limited circumstances in which an oral agreement covering attorney fees is legally permissible. How many of those circumstances can you identify? Continue reading

Don’t Forget to Include Client Responsibilities in Your Fee Agreement

lawyer handing fee agreement to client with provisions setting out responsibilities of lawyer and clientYour attorney fee agreement should not only state your responsibilities as the attorney, it should also include a provision setting out the client’s responsibilities. Check out these sample provisions. Continue reading

Clients Get No Guaranties

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. 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

Does an Ethical Breach Bar an Attorney from Getting Fees?

The short answer: Yes, under California law, an attorney’s ethical breach of duty may disqualify that attorney from all or part of a fee award. But there’s a possible exception. 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

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