The Hammer Family Law Judges Have When a Party Doesn’t Cooperate

Whether as an emotional response or a strategy, if a party or attorney fails to cooperate in a family law matter it can result in a big hit from the judge. Continue reading

New Ethics Rules Weigh In on Flat Fees

new rules of professional conductThe following is a guest blog post by Megan Zavieh. Megan focuses her practice exclusively on attorney ethics, providing guidance to attorneys, representing attorneys facing State Bar discipline, podcasting, and writing extensively on ethics issues.

California’s new Rules of Professional Conduct, effective November 1, 2018, recognizes a trend in legal services billing—flat fees. Flat fees are becoming more common as an alternative to the traditional billable hour. As they rise in popularity outside of criminal law, the rules directly address them. Here’s what you need to know and do. Continue reading

Spell Out the Effective Date of Your Fee Agreement

Every contract for legal services should contain a clause specifying the date the agreement will become effective. This date establishes the beginning of the attorney-client relationship and marks the beginning of the attorney’s fiduciary duties toward the client. Continue reading

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

4 Reasons to Get Help on a Fee Motion

Just because you successfully handled the merits of a case doesn’t mean that you should take on a large or complex fee motion that arises from it. It may be time to bring in someone with fee motion expertise. 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

How to Get Reciprocal Contractual Attorney Fees

ThinkstockPhotos-464825589It’s like magic: California’s CC §1717 transforms a unilateral attorney fee provision in a contract into a reciprocal one! When the contract provides for attorney fees to either a particular party or the prevailing party, the prevailing party “on the contract” is entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees regardless of whether that party was the party specified in the contract. But taking advantage of this statute depends on meeting the following five requirements. Continue reading

Splitting Fees? Get Client Consent ASAP

124041823Common scenario: You do some work for a client and then pass off the client to another attorney, agreeing to split the attorney fees. Later you want to get your share of the fees. The Rules of Professional Conduct require that you get the client’s written consent to any fee-splitting agreement. Did you get the client’s consent right away, or are you now at the mercy of the other attorney? Continue reading