The requirements for when an attorney may enter into a transaction with a client in which the attorney will acquire a pecuniary interest adverse to the client have been slightly modified by Cal Rules of Prof Cond 1.8.1. Here’s what you need to know.
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.
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?
The following is a guest blog post by Los Angeles attorney Eli S. Cohen. Eli handles all civil litigation matters, with specific focus on class action, employment, and real estate law.
Lawyers’ use of LinkedIn and other social media channels is skyrocketing, but beware of the ethical issues lurking there, and take action so that you are not the star of the next ethics opinion.