The following is a guest blog post by Perry L. Segal, an attorney and management consultant at Charon Law, Redwood City. Mr. Segal has over 25 years of combined experience in law and technology. He is co-chair of the California Council of State Bar Sections, special advisor and past-chair of the Law Practice Management and Technology Section Executive Committee, and a member of the bar’s Social Media Task Force.
Few technologies create more puzzlement and worry for attorneys than “the cloud.” Attorneys, quite reasonably, want to know how they can stay on the right side of their ethical obligations when it comes to using it. As always, attorneys need to practice in accordance with the standard of reasonable care and effort. But there’s a caveat: Attorneys will be charged with the standard of an attorney who is competent in the understanding and use of technology. What does this actually mean? And as a practical matter, what can an attorney do? Continue reading
Given the decreasing time attorneys have for conducting voir dire, it can be very useful to investigate jurors with publicly available background information. Simply running Google searches can reveal an enormous amount of information about a potential juror in a short amount of time. This public information often will come from social media sources. As Ben Hancock reported in his article for Law.com, “social media profiles can present a trove of data points for jury selection…[but] researching jurors online while keeping on the right side of the judge and local ethics rules is hardly a straightforward exercise.”
An an attorney and an officer of the court, you sometimes have competing duties: to represent your clients zealously and to maintain respect for the court. When it comes to a disagreeable court ruling, you’ll need to make your strongest argument while remaining respectful to the judge. The key is to argue without arguing. Continue reading
Common 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
Not surprisingly, California’s legal ethics rules have a lot to say about how attorneys relate to jurors. Here are 5 do’s and don’ts when it comes to attorney-juror interaction. Continue reading
The following is a guest blog post by Benjamin Scott. Ben is a solo estate planning attorney, a graduate of Concord Law School, a former high school physics teacher, and a father of three.
There are advantages of working another job while starting a solo law practice, but after a year of trying this experiment, I see the mistakes of trying to work two jobs. Continue reading
The following is a guest blog post by April E. Frisby of Frisby Law. April is a corporate and securities transactional lawyer and an adjunct law professor at Whittier Law School.
Lawyers are often gun-shy when it comes to blogging, in part because of the ethical limits on advertising and solicitation by lawyers. But if you keep ethical considerations in mind, blogging can be a fun, cost-effective way to promote your practice. Continue reading
Your cases may be filled with conflict, but make sure that they don’t include conflicts of interest. It’s most important to avoid conflicts of interest, but you also have to know what to do when they arise. And there’s a big stick involved with getting it wrong. Continue reading
In this video, attorney and author Micha Liberty not only explains why client communications are so important, but also describes the most common errors attorneys make in client communications and how to avoid them.
Updated on 10/31/12: The ABA Journal reports that the judge refused to issue a gag order to bar comments and blogging by George Zimmerman’s defense lawyer, finding no “overriding pattern of prejudicial commentary” and that an impartial jury could still be seated.
In an admittedly unusual move, the defense team for George Zimmerman, the man charged with murdering Trayvon Martin, has launched a new website, Facebook, and Twitter account to “disput[e] misinformation,” “discourag[e] speculation,” and provide “a voice for Mr. Zimmerman.” The website also seeks donations for Zimmerman’s defense fund. Is this new route for defense counsel a risky maneuver? How would California’s legal ethics rules weigh in? Continue reading