How the New Rules of Conduct Affect Your Social Media Use

lawyers using social media to advertiseThe following is a guest blog post by Renee Galente Stackhouse. Renee is the founder and trial lawyer at Stackhouse, APC, where she focuses on plaintiff’s personal injury and military defense in San Diego. She is the immediate past President of California Women Lawyers, President of the CWL Foundation, Chair of the CLA SSF Section, and sits on the Board of the San Diego County Bar Association.

Potential clients and referrals are out there on social media platforms and you can’t afford to ignore them. The new California Rules of Professional Conduct, effective November 1, 2018, take social media realities into account and require changes to the way lawyers use social media. 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

3 New Rules Every Criminal Law Attorney Needs to Know

new rules of professional conductThe following is a guest blog post by Garrick Byers, known as the Statute Decoder because of his facility in interpreting statutes and rules. He is the chairperson of the California Public Defenders Association’s (CPDA’s) Ethics Committee, and is a former CPDA president. He is a criminal law specialist and a frequent speaker and writer on criminal law topics, including ethics. He was a public defender for 33 years and is currently in private practice, handling criminal law appeals, writs, motions, and case consultations.

The new California Rules of Professional Conduct, effective November 1, 2018, use the format and much of the substance of the ABA Model Rules. Here are three of the most important changes for prosecution and defense counsel. Continue reading

Highlights of the New California Professional Rules

new rules of professional conductThe following is a guest blog post by Merri A. Baldwin. Merri is a shareholder at Rogers Joseph O’Donnell P.C., where her practice focuses on attorney liability and conduct, including malpractice, State Bar discipline, ethics advice, motions to disqualify and sanctions defense. She is the former Chair of the California State Bar Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct.  She teaches professional responsibility at Berkeley Law, and is a certified specialist in Legal Malpractice Law. 

In May, after several rounds and many years of drafting, editing, and consideration, the California Supreme Court approved comprehensive changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyers in California to take effect on November 1, 2018. These significant changes bring California rules more in line with the rest of the country.  Here are some highlights of the new rules. Continue reading

3 Ways to Deal with Client Conflicts

attorney's hand up in stop gesture because there's a conflict of interest between clientsA prospective client comes to you and you discover that there’s a conflict of interest with one of your current or former clients. Or while you’re representing a client, a conflict arises with another client. You’ve got three ways to deal with these types of situations, depending on when the conflict comes to light.  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

Got a Website? Tweet? Save Copies of Everything!

135874637Did you know that, if you advertise your legal services on the Internet—and that includes having a firm website or using social media—you have to keep a copy of all the webpages for two years? Continue reading

Using Social Media? Beware of Ethical Pitfalls (Part 2)

87524559The following is a guest blog post by Jonathan Rubens, a principal at Javid Rubens LLP in San Francisco, which represents clients in business transactions and advises them on data security, privacy, trademark and copyright issues. 

With the increasing use of social media by attorneys comes ethical risk. In Part 1 of the blog post, we discussed the risks involved with posting about ongoing matters and blogging without a disclaimer. Here are more tips to help you safely navigate the social media minefield. Continue reading

Using Social Media? Beware of Ethical Pitfalls (Part 1)

87524559

The following is a guest blog post by Jonathan Rubens, a principal at Javid Rubens LLP in San Francisco, which represents clients in business transactions and advises them on data security, privacy, trademark and copyright issues.

Attorneys are using social media websites more and more. We’re visiting a variety of sites to promote our practices, communicate with our peers, and stay in touch with our clients. But social media presents many ethical pitfalls to avoid. Here are some tips to help you safely navigate the social media minefield. Continue reading

Tricky Business: Representing Clients with Adverse Interests

470754185As a matter of professional responsibility, California attorneys must avoid conflicts of interest with current and former clients. Beyond these ethical obligations, there are also practical reasons to avoid a new client who is or may be adverse to a current or former client. Continue reading