Advantages of hiring personal injury law firm for your injuries.

Experiencing a personal injury can be the most traumatic experience for an individual especially when the injury is caused due to the negligence of someone else. Whether you have been injured, met with an accident or slipped or fallen at any place, you will need to seek compensation from the accused person. But you might not be able to handle this task on your own as you don’t have any experience and qualification for the same. This is the reason why you need to hire an attorney from a reliable and reputable personal injury law firm. This is the best way of getting assistance and guidance for your case so that the attorney will be present by your side throughout the legal proceedings. Before hiring an attorney, you should do proper research for making sure that you will get the legal professional for your case. You should discuss the details of the case so that you will get all kind of help from the personal injury attorney who will make sure that you will get the compensation that you are entitled to. This is especially important so that you can focus on your complete recovery after the injury while the attorney will pay attention to the personal injury claim and its procedures. It is a difficult thing to navigate on your own and you need to hire an attorney who will handle the entire court proceedings so that you can recover as quickly as possible. As an injury victim, you should make sure to hire experienced and skilled personal injury lawyer who will help you in managing your claim. This will also allow you to focus on your healing after the injury or accident because everything will be handled by the layer on your behalf.

Advantages of hiring personal injury law firm

Experience of the attorney

When you suffer from a serious and life threatening injury or accident, you might be devastated and you are unable to decide the next course of action you need to take. The best option for you is to hire an experienced attorney who will has been working in this field for past many years. This professional will offer you financial compensation with the help of civil lawsuit so that you will get the best assistance of the attorney. An experienced personal Injury attorney has handled case similar to yours for making sure that you will get the desired outcome. You will get services for getting the accused and negligent person punished while demanding compensation for the injuries that you have sustained.

Professionalism of the personal injury attorney

Any kind of accident can cause a lot of emotional upheaval for the victim and it might become difficult for him/her to lead a normal life after this mishap. But you will need to get your life back on track and this can be done with the help of compensation that you deserve from the guilty person. A professional and skilled attorney will make sure to go deep into your personal injury case for finding every details relating to the case. This is the best way of getting the settlement and compensation that you deserve so that you will be able to recover in the shortest possible time.

Matters concerning personal injury claim

Since the attorney is aware of the total worth of your claim, it becomes easier for you to get the compensation so that you will have ample time for dealing with your pain and suffering. Additionally, the attorney will also gather all the evidences that indicate the accused at fault and will show medical bills to the court so that you can get maximum compensation for your injuries. The insurance settlement will be done by the attorney on your behalf so that you will not have to worry about dealing with the insurance company. When you know the claim of your worth, you will be able to get financial benefits that you are entitled to. This is especially important for ensuring that the recovery process will be done smoothly without worrying about your finances.

Reduce stress with the help of attorney

The period after the injury is filled with a lot of pain, trauma and suffering especially when you don’t know what course of action that you will need to follow. This is the reason why you need to hire the most reputable personal injury law firm so that you will enjoy a reduction in your stress level. The attorney will do everything that is possible for alleviating your stress and anxiety so that you will enjoy complete peace of mind. Moreover, when you get professional assistance from the attorney, you will be able to manage post traumatic stress disorder that is caused after serious injuries or accident.

Get desired outcome with assistance from attorney

The attorney will help you in minimizing the risk caused due to the injury because you will get more time for your recovery while the attorney will handle everything on your behalf. This will be done keeping in mind your best interest so that you will not have to worry about finances. The compensation that you get from the guilty person is very helpful in recovering quickly so that you will enough money for paying the hospital bills and medical expenses. The attorney will also guide you through legal process so that your mental health will not be affected in any manner. The risk of being stressed or incapable will be eliminated completely when you hire an attorney who will keep your best interest in mind.

Personal injury attorney knows legal procedures

Hiring an experienced and qualified attorney is the best option for you because you will get assistance from someone who is aware of the entire procedure. Some cases are more difficult and complicated than it appears and only the best attorney will be able to handle the case on your behalf. Right from tracking the culprit, to gathering evidences or completing all the paperwork, everything will be done by the attorney. You will get complete peace of mind because your case is in the hands of an attorney who will make sure that you will get compensation for your injuries and sufferings.

Attorney-Client Sex: A Bad Idea That’s Also Unethical

For decades, regulators and courts have ruled that sex with a client during the course of the professional relationship is unethical. Nonetheless, lawyers continue to flout precedent and are frequently disciplined for engaging in sexual relations with their clients.

Some cases of impermissible attorney-client sex are no brainers–such as the attorney who insists on a “legal services-for-sexual services” fee arrangement. Still, many attorneys believe that as long as the relationship is consensual, what happens between two consenting adults is none of bar counsel’s business.

That kind of thinking would be a mistake. Indeed, courts and bar organizations provide many justifications for regulating the personal aspects of the attorney-client relationship. And now the majority of jurisdictions in the United States include an outright ban on attorney-client intimacy during the course of the professional relationship.


The ABA Model Rule 1.8(j)

In 2002, following growing recognition of a “lawyer’s gone wild” problem, the ABA adopted Model Rule 1.8(j), which imposes a per se ban on attorney-client sex. The ban carves out only sexual relationships that predate the attorney-client relationship – after all, lawyers should be free to represent their spouses.

Today, over 30 states have adopted Rule 1.8(j). Most recently, on November 30, 2018, California replaced its previous regulation on attorney-client sex with a per se ban. California’s prior rule was criticized for being under-enforced because it left too many “outs” for the lawyer–such as requiring bar counsel to demonstrate that the sex resulted in the lawyer doing something else unethical, such as providing incompetent representation. In California’s experience, the prior test was unworkable, leading to the new per se ban.

It’s About Power

The traditional ethics-based rationales behind the regulation is a realization that sex is not about sex–it is about power. Or more precisely, an imbalance of power.

Clients come to their lawyers for help in solving their legal problems.  For the relationship to work, clients must feel free to share with their attorneys their secrets, which could include very personal, intimate details of their lives.  The information is sacred and must be used by the attorney only for the client’s best interests and consistent with the client’s legal needs.

Clients are also often emotionally vulnerable when they come to their lawyers for help.  They may be facing a serious dilemma and their rights in their freedom, or their property, or their own personal or business affairs, may be at stake.  The lawyer’s number one job is to protect their client. 

Moreover, the attorney-client relationship is a fiduciary one.  The client has placed complete trust in the lawyer who is bound to act in the best interest of the trusting party.  A fiduciary relationship exists:

[w]herever confidence on one side results in superiority and influence on the other side; where a special confidence is reposed in one who in equity and good conscience is bound to act in good faith and with due regard to the interests of the one reposing the confidence; where confidence is reposed and accepted, whether the origin is moral, social, domestic, or merely personal; or where a person has knowledge and authority which he is bound to exercise for the benefit of another person.

There should be nothing, therefore, and no one, during the course of the relationship that interferes with or limits the lawyer’s professional judgment and the lawyer must be able to render candid advice to their client.  Moreover, lawyers are prohibited from engaging in conduct that involves dishonesty, deceit, or misrepresentation, and engaging in a sexual relationship with a client—with all of the trappings that come along with such a relationship—could raise a substantial question as to the lawyer’s honesty or fitness to practice.

A sexual or intimate relationship started after the commencement of the legal representation has at least the reasonable possibility of adversely influencing the lawyer’s judgment, creating a personal conflict of interest, and allowing the lawyer to use client confidential information for the lawyer’s personal advantage. 

When sex is thrown into the mix, the lawyer’s judgment could be clouded.  They could be put into the situation of having their ethics questioned—even by their own client, who may feel that they were taken advantage of, were emotionally not able to consent, or gave into impulses either because of their vulnerable state or because they believed, rightly or wrongly, that intimacy was part of the quid pro quo for the continuing loyalty and zealous representation to which they were entitled.  Thus, in addition to potentially harming the lawyers’ reputation and ability to practice, engaging in intimate relations with clients raises a non-trivial risk that the lawyer, whether intentionally or not, well intended or not, will violate one or more of the rules of professional conduct. 

Cases involving attorney-client sex arise across practice areas, although history has proven that attorneys who practice in the areas of criminal law and domestic relations have a greater chance of becoming intimate with their client.

For example, in In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Atta, an attorney represented a client in a divorce proceeding.  During the course of the representation, the attorney told his client, whose husband had left her and married another, that the attorney had strong feelings for her and discussed one day marrying her.  Subsequently the client accused her attorney of failing to timely file her divorce papers and asserted the attorney had “taken advantage of her by engaging in a sexual relationship with her while she was in an emotional stage in her life.”            

The Supreme Court of Wisconsin found that by representing his client while simultaneously engaging in a romantic relationship with her, the attorney violated: (1) Rule 1.7(a)(2), due to the lawyer’s material limitation based upon his personal interest; (2) Rule 1.16(a) for failing to withdraw from the representation once the conflict arose; and (3) Rule 1.8(j) by having sexual relations with a client while representing her in the divorce action. Other related ethics rules also were alleged to have been violated arising from the attorney’s denial of having any sexual or inappropriate contact with the client, including during the course of the bar counsel’s disciplinary investigation and court proceedings.


The Exception to the Ban

The comments to Rule 1.8(j) clarify that a sexual relationship that predates the formation of the attorney-client relationship are not prohibited—at least not by Rule 1.8(j).  Thus, one could under Model Rule 1.8(j0 take their lover as their client, but not the other way around—at least not during the existence of the attorney-client relationship.  The comments to ABA Model Rule 1.8 note that this exception for pre-existing relationships could still run afoul of other rules of professional conduct and warns that “before proceeding with the representation in these circumstances [of a pre-existing relationship], the lawyer should consider whether the lawyer’s ability to represent the client will be materially limited by the relationship.

Organization as the Client

Rule 1.8(j)’s comments add further gloss when the “client” is an organization, in which case the rule “prohibits a lawyer for the organization whether inside counsel or outside counsel) from having a sexual relationship with a constituent of the organization who supervises, directs or regularly consults with that lawyer concerning the organization’s legal matters. 

Ordinarily, if one attorney is conflicted from a representation, then all lawyers associated in a firm with that lawyer are also conflicted.  The exception, however, is that imputed disqualification does not apply to conduct covered by Rule 1.8(j).  The comments explain that “The prohibition set forth in [Rule 1.8(j)] is personal and is not applied to associated lawyers.


Conclusion

A slight majority of jurisdictions in the United States expressly ban attorney-client sexual relations that commence after the start of the representation.  Other jurisdictions are still considering adding an equivalent to Model Rule 1.8(j) to their existing rules. 

There are many ways that attorney-client sexual relations may interfere with the lawyer’s professional responsibility obligations to their clients. 

Before entering into a “consensual” sexual relationship with a client, a lawyer should be mindful of the rules in their particular jurisdiction. 

Whether or not the lawyer is practicing in a jurisdiction that has adopted some version of Rule 1.8(j), if the lawyer is considering entering into an intimate relationship with a client, they should consider what is in the client’s best legal interests.  The attorney should strongly consider either referring the client to another lawyer or to refrain from entering into an intimate client relationship until the client representation has concluded.

How To Build A Law Firm’s Reputation To Garner New Business

5 Ways to Attract New Clients to Your Law Firm

The legal profession is under considerable strain. From an overwhelming mass of lawyers to highly cost-sensitive clientele to technology eating away at profits, law firms must focus on building their reputations if they are to survive let alone thrive. While the cornerstone of a law firm’s reputation is its legal expertise, other components come into play. Thought leadership and exceptional interpersonal relationships are two of them.

According to Frank Carone, executive partner at Abrams Fensterman and a renowned personal advisor to business owners and the wealthy, “The traditional focus on all the things that can go wrong is not going to be enough for law firms to be successful in today’s hyper-competitive environment. It’s becoming essential for law firms to be thinking ahead to show the way. The most successful law firms are thought, leaders. They need to be proactively looking for ways to help their clients become more successful. While this does involve solid risk mitigation, it also often entails combining state-of-the-art legal thinking with a strong understanding of business issues. Lawyers need to be creative and innovative in order to identify ways for their clients to excel.”

What Potential Clients Look for When They Visit Your Legal Site - Law  Technology Today

Thought leadership is increasingly important to the success of lawyers and their firms. It is essential for the content to be meaningful and insightful to the intended audiences. Problematically, most law firms fail to deliver high-value content. Moreover, in many law firms thought leadership initiatives are more regurgitation of other people’s ideas and are a form of thought fellowship.

Law firm reputations are also built in the trenches. The ability of lawyers to work effectively with clients is often paramount to building a sterling reputation. “Solid interpersonal skills are essential for lawyers today,” says Jeffrey Chiesa, co-chair of Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi. “Lawyers must build trust with their clients. This is only possible when they are able to prove their expertise, when everything is transparent to clients, and when they are demonstrably efficient and reliable. It’s essential to not just meet client expectations but to exceed them. By building trust, lawyers at the law firm are building the law firm’s reputation.”

A law firm’s reputation is increasingly important in sourcing new business. So much so that it might very well be a mistake to not take steps to foster a powerful reputation. A number of factors play into this with legal expertise being primary. Meanwhile, being a thought leader and having lawyers with excellent interpersonal skills can be very effective in building the law firm’s reputation and consequently garnering new business.

9 Reasons Why You Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer.

When you are accused of a crime and facing a criminal charge, you don’t want to go into court unprepared. Most individuals end up losing their cases because they are unaware of their rights, legal technicalities, and proper court procedures. There is a long list of procedures to be followed when you have to go to court. So, you must seek legal assistance from a criminal defense attorney when the stakes are higher than a simple fine. Many individuals do not hire a criminal defense lawyer to save the cost and fees associated with it. But the fact is that hiring a criminal defense attorney is always a wise decision because the monetary fees of hiring a lawyer are always minimal as compared to the huge expenses resulting from losing your case. Hence, a criminal defense lawyer is necessary to have the best possible defense.

The Essential Do's and Don'ts of Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney:

A criminal defense lawyer is well aware of the difference between all criminal cases so he can easily determine the factors and arguments that can be used to remove any charges relating to the alleged crime.

Let’s delve into some critical situations where you must seek the help of a criminal defense lawyer.

 

1.    Understanding of the Judicial System:

One of the most crucial reasons to hire a criminal defense attorney is that he has enough knowledge of how the judicial system of your country works. The legal system is complex and challenging to understand even for the people who work for it every day. Therefore, you should hire an experienced defense lawyer as he clearly understands the intricate workings and procedures of the court systems. He will guide you through the court process based on your case. Pasadena’s Criminal Lawyer has more than thirty years of experience in dealing with criminal cases.

2.    Following Proper Court Procedures:

When you have a good criminal defense lawyer in your corner, he will not compromise on your defense before even setting foot in court. There is so much paperwork involved when you are preparing to defend yourself in court and a professional criminal lawyer knows the proper way of processing your case documents. Many legal hurdles can prevent your access to the court and the prosecutor may use this fact to his advantage. Most courts dealing with criminal cases involve rigid deadlines, bottlenecks, and legal procedures that can make you negligent of your personal responsibilities. Therefore, you should have the powerful support of a well-experienced and professional criminal defense lawyer. When the prosecutor knows that he is up against an experienced and competent lawyer, you are more likely to win a plea bargain.

3.    Relationships with Prosecutors:

An experienced defense attorney has developed relationships with prosecutors after working in the legal field for years. While this may sound odd to you but lawyers have positive relationships with their counterparts as well. That is because both parties understand that they can have a better experience when they are familiar with each other. So, when you hire an experienced defense attorney, you can expect that he has developed a good relationship with your prosecutor. This relationship can prove to be useful for the outcome of your case. Their relationship may enable them to negotiate an affordable bond or a better plea deal. Your defense attorney is your spokesperson and knows how to rightly handle all the discussions and negotiations with law enforcement and prosecution. The discussion with the prosecution can often get heated but your lawyer can work to neutralize the situation. When your attorney has a good rapport and legal experience, you can rest assured that he will handle all the negotiations of your case professionally. If your lawyer has been working dedicatedly in your city, he may also be familiar with local judges and may be well aware of the best tactics to use for a particular judge when defending against the accusation.

What does a criminal defense lawyer do? - The Katy News

 

4.    Better Examination of the Evidence:

Your prosecution has experts reviewing the evidence in the criminal case you are facing. So, you should also have a legal expert by your side. An experienced and competent criminal lawyer knows how to catch the evidence against you that may have been collected illegally to tamper your case. Moreover, your defense attorney knows how to deal with the witnesses who exaggerate the truth to prove the alleged crime and is able to point out any weakness in their statement immediately. Therefore, you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer to examine the evidence and witnesses presented by the prosecution. Moreover, when you hire a professional defense lawyer who belongs to a law firm, you will get support from a defense team. You can benefit from a wide range of connections your defense lawyer has with medical practitioners, private investigators, and expert witnesses. These connections can be consulted to add stronger evidence for your defense.

 

5.    Save You Money:

Although it may seem costly to hire a criminal defense attorney, you’ll actually end up saving money when you have an expert to guide you through the process. That is because when you have an expert attorney by your side, your case proceeds smoothly and efficiently. Therefore, a lawyer will reduce the amount of time your case can take to make it through the system. This can help you get back to your normal life as soon as possible. The financial considerations related to your charges can be higher as compared to the fee you pay to hire a criminal defense lawyer. Without a defense lawyer, the financial loss you bear can be higher resulting from lost income due to the time your case would take and the consequences of a potential conviction. Also, you can get a free consultation for your case from a well-reputed law firm.

 

6.    Get Expert Legal Advice:

A professional and experienced lawyer has spent years practicing law, so he knows how to deal with the charges in your case. He devises the legal ways to help defend your case. He knows how to use law in your best interests. You can rest assured that your defense lawyer has in-depth knowledge of the legal system and he is well aware of all the changes made to the law. He knows how to protect your rights from the prosecution and law enforcement. He will study your case carefully to find any evidence against you that may have been obtained improperly. He has the abilities to prove the wrong allegations with the help of strong evidence. Having your case reviewed by an expert criminal defense lawyer could lead you to have criminal charges dismissed successfully. He can easily identify the weaknesses that may exist in your case and knows the right tactics to hide them.

7.    Protect Your Future:

When you are facing a criminal charge, your life and future are on stake. Your life can dramatically change if you are proved guilty and you will have to pay high fees and penalties and spend years in prison. When you fail to defend yourself, the consequences can be serious from the inability to obtain a job to limitations on where you can live. A professional defense attorney can also help keep your criminal record clean so that it will not impact your future. Depending on your case and other circumstances, your attorney can have your charges reduces, penalties lessened, or the case dismissed. He can even help you set aside a conviction or have it removed from your record. He helps you avail the best possible options to reduce the impact a criminal conviction can have on your life.

 

8.    Get Personalized Attention:

While facing a criminal charge, you may feel like everyone is against you. You may not feel comfortable to share details of your case with the people who are close to you. When you have a sincere legal expert, you can comfortably discuss all your fears, insecurities, and everything regarding your case. Your defense lawyer will have your back. He will be there to support and guide you throughout the process. Many people suffer because of the lack of understanding of the court system and end up spending more time in jail or paying higher penalties. From not filing the proper paperwork to missing hearings, the process can be overwhelming for you to handle alone. A criminal defense lawyer understands the process when someone is arrested to the time when he or she is sentenced. That is why you need personalized attention of a criminal defense lawyer from the beginning of your case.

 

9.    Help You Consider All Settlement Options:

An expert criminal defense attorney can help you weigh all the choices you are offered from the types of charges to the plea deals options, and help you determine what’s best in your favor. He can also help you negotiate other potentially favorable options such as the possible dismissal of your case or reduction of penalties and charges. Other important options you may need to consider are whether you should accept a deal offered by the prosecution or go for the trial. Your attorney will inform you about all the potential consequences of every decision and the type of sentence you could face if you are convicted at a trial. He will also review all the outcomes of a guilty plea and can plea bargain a lighter settlement in exchange. You should not try to plea bargain without the help of a criminal defense lawyer.

Tips to Improve Law Firm Client Relationships

4 Ways to Build Strong Client Relationships for Law Firms EverSpark  Interactive

78 percent of lawyers say that acquiring new business is one of their top challenges, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters Solo and Small Law Firm group. In other words, if law firm business development is difficult for you, you’re not alone.

There’s more to building a business than buying a few online ads and praying for clients. You’ll need to spend time building relationships, while also keeping existing clients happy to ensure repeat business—all of which can be more difficult than it sounds.

We’ve rounded up a few best practices surrounding client relationships, based on our webinar, Business Development Strategies for Law Firms, held by Clio’s own Lawyer in Residence, Joshua Lenon. As he puts it:

Quite frankly, a lot of your own career development centers around your ability to bring in business, so it’s something that you should be focussing on from day one.

Whether you’re starting a new practice, or just looking to brush up on your law firm business development skills, this list includes several valuable tools to build positive client relationships and ensure sustainable growth for your law firm.

Client relationships and law firm business development

For any law firm—or any business, for that matter—it’s important to focus on building strong client relationships. Happy clients will keep coming back, and they may also recommend your services to others.

There are plenty of ways to build relationships, but some approaches work better than others. If you want to build the best client relationships possible, take a look at this chart from BTI Consulting, which outlines 17 activities to consider.client relationships and law firm business development

Source: BTI Consulting

The two activities in the Business Magnets quadrant are less important. As Joshua says:

For the most part, your clients aren’t searching for an innovative approach. They’re not searching for a law firm that anticipates their needs, because they know that information already. They know what their needs are. So if you’re marketing yourself solely on these two features, while you might stand out a little bit, you might not be able to close the business. To close the business, you have to at least meet the price of admission.

In other words, the six activities listed in the Price of Admission quadrant outline the basic expectations most clients will have for you. Clients won’t single you out as exceptional for keeping them informed and dealing with unexpected changes, but you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re capable of these activities to close new business.

So how do you build client relationships to reach relationship bliss? According to Joshua and BTI, there are at least five things that you as a lawyer can do to keep your clients coming back:

1. Reach out with unprompted communication

Joshua states:

Unprompted communication is something that I think is really easy for lawyers to do, but so few actually do it. Reaching out to a client with an update—whether it’s significant or not—is a great way to show involvement in a matter, but a lot of lawyers don’t necessarily do this.

2. Pay attention to regional reputation management

For lawyers responsible for business development in solo, small, and medium-sized firms, Joshua notes:

You’re going to be dealing with regional clients, and they’re going to be asking their colleagues whom they turn to. If you have a regional reputation—and that can be demonstrated in a variety of different ways, whether it’s by participation in community activities, or by coverage in the local news—your ability to demonstrate that reputation will help you build a stronger relationship.

3. Offer a breadth of service

Lawyers can’t claim to specialize under most states’ ethical advertising rules, but many still fall into the trap of keeping a narrow focus and missing out on clients.

As Joshua explains:

We tend to focus on a particular area of expertise and seek clients for that. But clients are actually seeking lawyers that can handle their needs, not necessarily just your expertise.

Make sure that you’re open to helping clients, even if it means referring or handing a client off to an appropriate source for aid.

4. Demonstrate your value

As a lawyer, you need to be able to demonstrate your value. But while some lawyers charge upwards of $1,000 per hour, demonstrating dollar value can sometimes be difficult. And, clients can sometimes see lawyers as interchangeable, regardless of their skill or expertise.

That’s a problem—in that scenario, clients see cost but not value.

“You need to show the client you’re actually saving them money or time or emotional grief because they’re hiring you,” Joshua states.

5. Show a commitment to help

“You need to be able to understand the client’s business,” Joshua says. “It may be family affairs, it may actually be a business, but you need to be able to recognize what they’re actually seeking, focus on it, and demonstrate a commitment to help.”

How do you demonstrate this? Dan Pinnington does it with a simple question for clients: “What’s your greatest concern?” He finds that this forces his clients into a moment of clarity, and allows him to reassure them that he can help with their greatest worries as they apply to the matter at hand.

“Dan didn’t arrive at this question because he was told about it,” Joshua says. “He arrived at this question because that’s what worked with the clients he was seeking.”

Key takeaways

How Law Firms Foster Better Client Relationships - Mike Gingerich

To sum up, here’s what you need to focus on to build strong client relationships for sustainable law firm business development:

  • Reach out. Unprompted communication does wonders for showing your clients that you’re involved.
  • Manage your local reputation. Get involved in your community to build relationships with potential clients.
  • Broaden your horizons. Be ready to help anyone who comes through your door—even if it means referring them to another lawyer.
  • Communicate value. Take extra care to explain how your services save your client money and/or time.
  • Focus on helping. Ask your client what their greatest concern is, and show your commitment to helping with that.

There’s a lot more to successful law firm business development beyond building client relationships. Traditional networking activities and online promotion should also be part of your plan. You’ll also need to track your efforts to ensure they’re effective.

What to Expect when Meeting Your Attorney for the First Time

What to bring for your first attorney-client meeting

Despite what some popular jokes insinuate to the contrary, lawyers are people, too. They understand that it’s common for potential clients to be nervous or anxious when meeting for the first time. Try to remember that attorneys are there to help you. Knowing what to expect can ease your mind.


Preparation

Being prepared will organize your thoughts, refresh your memory, and do wonders for your comfort level. It will also help to focus the meeting so your attorney can give accurate and relevant advice.

• Gather all significant documents. If your attorney has sent you forms to fill out, complete them in advance and bring them with you.

• Write down a brief timeline of events.

• Make a list of all the issues you are concerned about and any questions you want to be answered before you commit to hiring the lawyer. Sample questions include: What kind of strategy would you recommend for handling my case? What are your rates? What additional costs am I expected to pay? Who else in your office will work on my case?

• Think about what you would like the outcome to be, which will help the lawyer determine whether your expectations are attainable.

Consultation

The meeting is an opportunity for you to tell your story, but it’s also important to get to know each other a bit to make sure you feel comfortable working together. Regardless of the reason you are seeking legal advice (personal injury, criminal defense, divorce, bankruptcy, etc.), be honest and as accurate as possible when describing the events. The lawyer will ask questions designed to focus the discussion on the background facts he or she feels are important.

If the lawyer is willing to take your case and you wish to proceed, you will be presented with a retainer agreement, which should be fully explained to you. Do not sign until you understand it. This agreement is a contract that describes your obligations to the lawyer and the lawyer’s obligations to you, including such details as to how you will receive updates about what’s happening with your case, how much the lawyer is charging to handle your legal issue, whether you’re required to make an upfront deposit and how frequently payments are due.

Payment

How to Prepare for Your First Meeting With a Lawyer - ANTHEM INJURY LAWYERS


If you need a lawyer for a case that doesn’t involve a claim for money (seeking a divorce, criminal defense, filing bankruptcy), then you will have to pay a “retainer” in advance for the work and then pay by the hour once the retainer is spent. Usually, attorneys with more experience have higher rates than novice attorneys, but the cost often evens out because they may take less time to do the same work. Some lawyers are willing to work out a payment plan so you don’t owe everything at once. If you can’t afford the costs that the lawyer outlines, ask if alternative arrangements can be made.

For cases seeking money, such as personal injury or workers’ compensation claims, the lawyer often agrees to accept a fixed percentage of the amount recovered by the client. This is called a contingent fee arrangement and although percentages vary, one-third (33 percent) is common. If you win, either through settlement or trial, the lawyer is paid for the recovery. If you lose, you don’t have to pay the lawyer anything (of course, you don’t get any money either). The lawyer’s fee is different from filing fees and similar court costs, and, win or lose, the client is usually responsible for their payment.

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By the end of your meeting, you should leave with a clear understanding of what you have accomplished and what is happening next. If all goes well, you’ve found an attorney with whom you’re comfortable and who wants to represent you. While meeting with a lawyer for the first time is a new experience, it doesn’t have to be an intimidating one.

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How to Find an Excellent Lawyer

If your legal problem is complex or involves lots of money, you might not want to attempt to handle the entire matter without a lawyer. After all, lawyers do more than dispense legal information. They offer strategic advice and apply sophisticated technical skills to legal problems. Ideally, you’ll be able to find a lawyer who’s willing to serve as your legal “coach” to help you educate yourself to the maximum extent possible and to take over as your formal legal counsel only if necessary.

How to Find the Right Lawyer

How to Find a Good Divorce Lawyer | Terry & Roberts

Locating a good lawyer who can efficiently help with your particular problem may not be easy. Don’t expect to locate a good lawyer by simply looking in the phone book or reading an advertisement. There’s not enough information in these sources to help you make a valid judgment.

Personal Referrals

A better approach is to talk to people in your community who have experienced the same problem you face — for example, if you have a claim of sexual harassment, talk to a women’s group. Ask them who their lawyers were and what they think of them. If you talk to half a dozen people who have had a similar legal problem, chances are you’ll come away with several good leads.

But don’t make a decision about a lawyer solely on the basis of someone else’s recommendation. Different people will have different responses to a lawyer’s style and personality; don’t make up your mind about hiring a lawyer until you’ve met the lawyer, discussed your case, and decided that you feel comfortable working with him or her.

Also, it may be hard to find a lawyer through a personal referral with the expertise you need (for instance, if your friend had a great divorce lawyer, but you need incorporation advice, the referral may not do you much good).

Online Services

Many sites, including Nolo.com, offer a way to connect with local lawyers based on your location and the type of legal case you have. You answer a few questions about your case and your contact information, then the right type of lawyers contact you directly. Talk to a local lawyer.

Nolo’s Lawyer Directory

Our service offers a unique lawyer directory that provides a comprehensive profile for each attorney with information that will help you select the right attorney. The profiles tell you about the lawyer’s experience, education, and fees, and perhaps most importantly, the lawyer’s general philosophy of practicing law. Nolo has confirmed that every listed attorney has a valid license and is in good standing with their bar association.

Business Referrals

Businesses that provide services to key players in the legal area you are interested in may also be able to help you identify lawyers you should consider. For example, if you are interested in small business law, speak to your banker, accountant, insurance agent, and real estate broker. These people come into frequent contact with lawyers who represent business clients and are in a position to make informed judgments.

Lawyer Referral Services

Lawyer referral services are another source of information. There is a wide variation in the quality of lawyer referral services, however, even though they are required to be approved by the state bar association. Some lawyer referral services carefully screen attorneys and list only those attorneys with particular qualifications and a certain amount of past experience, while other services will list any attorney in good standing with the state bar who maintains liability insurance. Before you choose a lawyer referral service, ask what its qualifications are for including an attorney and how carefully lawyers are screened.

What you may not get from any lawyer referral service, however, is the insight into the lawyer’s philosophy — for instance, whether the lawyer is willing to spend a few hours to be your legal coach or how aggressive the lawyer’s personality is.

Other Sources

Here are a few other sources you can turn to for possible candidates in your search for a lawyer:

  • The director of your state or local chamber of commerce may be a good source of business lawyers.
  • The director of a nonprofit group interested in the subject matter that underlies your lawsuit is sure to know lawyers who work in that area. For example, if your dispute involves trying to stop a major new subdivision, it would make sense to consult an environmental group committed to fighting urban sprawl.
  • A law librarian can help identify authors in your state who have written books or articles on a particular subject — for example, construction law.
  • A women’s or men’s support group will probably have a list of well-regarded family and divorce lawyers.

Consider a Specialist

Most lawyers specialize in certain areas, and even a so-called “general practitioner” may not know that much about the particular area of your concern. For example, of the almost one million lawyers in America today, probably fewer than 50,000 possess sufficient training and experience in small business law to be of real help to an aspiring entrepreneur.

It can pay to work with a lawyer who already knows the field, such as employment discrimination, zoning laws, software design issues, or restaurant licensing. That way you can take advantage of the fact that the lawyer is already far up the learning curve. Sometimes specialists charge a little more, but if their specialized information is truly valuable, it can be money well spent.

Interview the Prospective Lawyers

When you get the names of several good prospects, the next step is to talk to each personally. If you outline your needs in advance, many lawyers will be willing to meet with you for a half-hour or so at no charge so that you can size them up and make an informed decision.

Personality

Pay particular attention to the personal chemistry between you and your lawyer. No matter how experienced and well-recommended a lawyer is, if you feel uncomfortable with that person during your first meeting or two, you may never achieve an ideal lawyer-client relationship. Trust your instincts and seek a lawyer whose personality is compatible with your own. Look also for experience, personal rapport, and accessibility.

Communication and Promptness

Ask all prospective lawyers how you will be able to contact them and how long it will take them to return your communications. And don’t assume that because the lawyer seems friendly and easy to talk to that it’s okay to overlook this step.

Unfortunately, the complaint logs of all lawyer regulatory groups indicate that many lawyers are terrible communicators. If every time you have a problem there’s a delay of several days before you can talk to your lawyer on the phone or get an appointment, you’ll lose precious time, not to mention sleep.

Almost nothing is more aggravating to a client than to leave a legal project in a lawyer’s hands and then have weeks or even months go by without anything happening. You want a lawyer who will work hard on your behalf and follow through promptly on all assignments.

Willingness to Work With You

When you have a legal problem, you need legal information. Lawyers, of course, are prime sources of this information, but if you bought all the needed information at their rates — $150 to $450 an hour — you’d quickly empty your bank account. Fortunately, many lawyers will work with you to help you acquire a good working knowledge of the legal principles and procedures you need to deal with your problem at least partly on your own.

If you are hoping to represent yourself and use a lawyer only for advice, make sure the lawyer is open to that type of setup. Likewise, if you’re going into business and will draft your own bylaws or business agreements, ask the lawyer if she’s open to reviewing your drafts and making comments.

Sex Crime, Drug Crime, DUI/OWI, Violent Crime, and Other Criminal Case Defense in Lansing, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Throughout Michigan

When you are investigated for a crime or charged with a criminal offense in Michigan, you need to start gathering information that will help you throughout your case. Hiring a lawyer is always the best first step to take, however, there is a variety of information available online that can assist you in the criminal justice process. Our criminal defense lawyers’ blog and sex crime defense blog can help you understand the laws and legal issues affecting your case, and provide you with some of the information you need to make decisions about your case.

Never take legal action without hiring an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer, and don’t speak with police or attempt to go through the early stages of your case without skilled representation. Our Michigan defense lawyers have assisted clients who face drug crime, sex crime, drunk driving, violent crime, and other criminal charges, and have the experience and knowledge needed to guide you through your case.

Contact Grabel & Associates now for aggressive criminal defense representation in Michigan. Our statewide defense lawyers will do everything they can to help you fight for the best possible case result, and we are available immediately to begin working with you in your case.

Michigan Criminal Lawyers Blog

Grabel & Associates publishes a criminal lawyers blog that has information about laws, prominent cases, and other legal issues in the state of Michigan and beyond. Some of the topics on our Michigan criminal defense blog include:

Michigan Sex Crime Attorneys Blog

For information about sex crimes cases, sex offense laws, sex crime registration, and more visit our sex crime blog. Some of the topics included in this blog are:

Michigan DUI and Drunk Driving Lawyer Blogs

If you have been accused of drunk driving, DUI, OWI, or any other intoxicated driving charge, contact Grabel & Associates now. Some of the pages below may be helpful in determining what charges you face, why you need an attorney, and what potential criminal penalties you are facing may be.

Michigan Sex Crime Defense Blogs

Sex crime charges are very serious, and if convicted, you could face jail time, fines, and sex offender registration among other penalties. Contact our MI firm now if you have been accused of a criminal charge, and review the blog posts below for more information about sex crimes in Michigan.

Drug Charges Defense Blogs

The following pages contain information on drug crime and drug charges in Michigan. Additional blog posts can be found on the Michigan Criminal Lawyers Blog.

Violent Crime Charges Blogs and Articles

Assault, homicide, and other violent crime charges are taken very seriously by Michigan police and prosecutors, and anyone charged with a violent crime charge should contact an attorney immediately. Our criminal defense blog has information on legal issues including the following charges:

Contact Grabel & Associates for Aggressive Michigan Criminal Defense

Our experienced lawyers know what it takes to earn great results for clients who are facing criminal charges, and we will dedicate as much time as necessary to your case. We care about your future and will protect your rights while fighting for your freedom no matter what charge you face. We believe every client is innocent until proven guilty, and will provide you with a dynamic defense strategy based on the unique details of your case.

Call 1-800-342-7896 now to speak with an experienced attorney, or contact us online. We are available 24/7 to take your call and can begin helping you as soon as you contact us. Never take legal action without consulting an attorney, contact us now and ask to set up a free consultation with trial lawyer Scott Grabel. The more you know about the charges you face, the better you will be able to defend against conviction.

Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Criminal Lawyer

6 Qualities Of A Good Criminal Defense Lawyer | Attorney at Law Magazine

Criminal law is tough—but if you’re willing to rise to the challenge, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more exciting, diverse, or thought-provoking legal career.

From what criminal law entails to what you’ll study in law school to the skills you’ll need to practice in the real world, keep reading for expert insights into what it takes to succeed in this rewarding legal specialty.

What is criminal law, anyway?

Whether they’re prosecuting people who break the law, defending those who have been accused of crimes, or performing related work, criminal lawyers play a critical role in our society and in the administration of justice.

As New England Law | Boston Professor Victor Hansen puts it, criminal law is basically our saying, “the conduct you engaged in was outside of what we as a society approve, and therefore you should receive our societal condemnation.” Professor Hansen, who directs the school’s Criminal Practice and Procedure certificate program, says that “societal condemnation” is really the defining factor in criminal law.

Even though a crime may be perpetrated against an individual, it’s considered an offense against the state (aka society) and prosecuted as such. “That’s what distinguishes the whole line of criminal law as different from any other kind of law,” Professor Hansen says. Criminal law then focuses on what conduct should be punished and affixing the appropriate punishment for those wrongdoings.

Underpinning a criminal lawyer’s work is the heady responsibility of cases with potentially life-changing ramifications, as they fight for justice on behalf of their client.

“[Criminal law] made me feel like a detective, and that’s why it really resonated with me,” says Teniola Adeyemi, a 2015 New England Law graduate and Assistant District Attorney in Boston. While so much legal work is black and white, she was fascinated by the gray areas in criminal law. “You’d establish a standard and then you’d have to figure out, well, what does that mean for my case? How does that help or hurt?” she says. “It’s thought-provoking.”

Professor Hansen adds that certain interests and personality traits are particularly well-suited for the law. As with any legal professional, criminal lawyers need to have solid critical thinking, interpersonal and written, and verbal communication skills. The ability to analyze complex information is also a must, as is the ability to deal with potentially disturbing situations, such as discussing or viewing evidence related to a violent crime. Last but certainly not least, underpinning a criminal lawyer’s work is the heady responsibility of cases with potentially life-changing ramifications, as they fight for justice on behalf of their client.

Challenging? Yes. But this can all add up to an incredibly rewarding career.

Upon entering the workforce, criminal lawyers enjoy many diverse job options. Some focus on defense, working as private attorneys or public defenders. Others serve as prosecutors at the local, state, or federal level. Later in their careers, these lawyers might become judges or enter the political arena, effecting change at the highest levels.

How do you become a criminal lawyer?

6 jobs for criminology majors - Insight Digital Magazine

Whether you hope to become a criminal lawyer or enter another practice area, your career path will begin to take shape once you enter law school. You’ll complete a combination of required courses and electives, many of which will expose you to the practice and particulars of criminal law. It all starts with a first-year course covering the foundations of criminal law (required by virtually all accredited law schools).

In the criminal law course, he teaches first-year students, Professor Hansen focuses primarily on two key crimes: murder/homicide (where students look at relevant statutes, different degrees of murder, and the elements of proof needed to prove the guilt) and sexual assault (where students learn how that crime and the law itself have evolved). The class also covers potential defenses to those crimes as well as mitigating factors.

Though such horrific crimes might spring to mind when you think of “criminal law,” there’s more to the specialty than the cases ripped right out of a Law & Order screenplay. In fact, there’s a surprising universality to criminal law. “It really touches on a lot of the different areas that any lawyer would be interested in,” Professor Hansen says. “Plus there’s the added component of working with people, whether it’s victims, defendants, family members, or organizations within governmental institutions.”

Then, as an upper-level law student, you might take such classes as Juvenile Law, Mental Health Law, Prosecutorial Ethics, Trial Practice, and White Collar Crime. You’ll also have opportunities to get hands-on experience in criminal law through law school clinics, internships, moot court/mock trials, and more.

At the end of all that coursework, the big prize is your Juris Doctor (JD). After law school, some students go on to pursue advanced degrees such as the Master of Laws (LLM) or the Doctor of Science of Law (JSD or SJD), but those individuals are typically planning to conduct scholarly research or teach law. For most students hoping to pursue criminal law, the JD is what they need to practice—after passing the bar exam, of course.

Where can you learn more about studying criminal law?

“Most students have been exposed to some aspects of criminal law through books, television, and movies,” Professor Hansen says. “While that can be helpful to some degree, it can also be somewhat misleading.” Naturally, the examples found in entertainment are designed to be just that: entertaining. The realities are often more subtle.

To gain a better understanding of the real-world practice of criminal law, students should take advantage of internships, summer programs, and experiential coursework in law school. They might also consider participating in professional organizations that support students as well as working professionals. Just one example is the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association. It provides students the opportunity to network with their peers as well as professionals, plus access to resources such as videos and journals.

Other resources for students curious about criminal law include the National Center for Law Placement, which offers helpful information like average salaries in the private and public sectors, employment trends, and more. A section targeted to law students and graduates provides plenty of career advice. Another organization, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers serves private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors, and judges.

Students are also strongly encouraged to network and seek out mentoring relationships, which might involve attending professional events on campus, reaching out to law school alumni, and simply tapping into personal connections. For example, sitting down for an “informational interview” with a family friend who happens to be a criminal lawyer can be immensely helpful in clarifying your career choices!

All this being said, even if you’re strongly considering criminal law, it’s best to keep your mind and options open in law school, Professor Hansen says. “Keep your eyes open, particularly entering into your first year,” he says. “Don’t shut any doors.”

How Much Does a Criminal Lawyer Cost? A Simple Guide | Attorney at Law  Magazine

Students frequently discover previously untapped interests through their law school courses and experiential learning opportunities, Professor Hansen says. He notes that the first-year criminal law class consistently inspires students to pursue this path. At the same time, students who start law school focused on a particular area often end up changing their plans. In any case, it’s important to be realistic and gain as much experience as you can in the legal areas that interest you so you can make informed decisions.

From the LSAT to the bar exam, from that first criminal law class to the day you get your diploma, becoming a criminal lawyer takes a great deal of time and effort. But wherever they end up, criminal lawyers invariably have a significant impact on the clients—and society—they serve.

Getting an Attorney to Handle Your Criminal Case

What Is Power Of Attorney?

Within the complex criminal justice system, a defense attorney serves as the defendant’s guide, protector, and confidant. (At least that’s how it’s supposed to be.) Defense attorneys are usually grouped in two camps: court-appointed attorneys paid by the government and private attorneys paid by the defendant.

Some criminal defendants can afford to hire a private criminal defense attorney. For those who cannot afford an attorney (approximately eighty percent of all criminal defendants), the court may appoint counsel to represent the defendant (assuming certain qualifications are met). These court-appointed attorneys are either public defenders who are on government salary, or they are so-called “panel attorneys,” local attorneys chosen from a panel. A small fraction of criminal defendants (approximately two percent) represent themselves and are referred to as “pro se” or “pro per” defendants.

What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?

Criminal defense attorneys (private and court-appointed) research the facts, investigate the case against their clients, and try to negotiate deals with their adversaries (prosecutors). These deals might include reduced bail, reduced charges, and reduced sentences. Because of a number of factors—political and public pressure, overcrowded jails, overloaded court calendars—deal-making has grown in importance and has become an essential element in unclogging the criminal justice system.

Criminal defense attorneys also examine witnesses, help formulate a plea, analyze the prosecutor’s case, assess the potential sentences (and the likelihood of a particular judge awarding such a sentence), review search and seizure procedures, question witnesses, and gather evidence. Defense counsel can also advise on potential immigration consequences or other consequences of a plea, conviction, or criminal record.

Defense counsel also provide more personal services by giving the defendant a reality check as to the possible outcomes and by helping the defendant to deal with the frustrations and fears resulting from being thrown into the criminal justice system. And of course, if no plea deal can be made, the defense lawyer represents the defendant at trial.

Cost of Legal Representation

4 Reasons Why You Should Hire an Experienced DUI Lawyer

A huge factor when it comes to legal representation is the defendant’s financial status and whether the defendant can afford private counsel.

Private criminal defense attorneys charge either on an hourly basis (expect to pay $150 an hour or higher) or by a fixed or set fee. They are prohibited from charging contingency fees, which are payments that depend on the outcome of the case. If the defendant is indigent (cannot afford private counsel), the court may appoint a government-paid public defender or panel attorney.

Some—but not many—folks have enough money so that paying for a lawyer isn’t a financial strain. But arranging for legal representation often isn’t as straightforward for those who fall in between these groups of people.

The bottom line for judges is that the right to free (government-paid) defense counsel generally kicks in whenever an indigent defendant faces a jail or prison sentence. If there is no possibility of incarceration—for example, a judge states on the record that she will not sentence the defendant to jail time—then the defendant might not be entitled to free counsel (depending on state law).

Note that the right to free representation does not mean a right to the lawyer of choice. A defendant who’s been appointed counsel normally doesn’t get to pick and choose in the way that a paying defendant does.

Is a Private Attorney Better Than a Court-Appointed Attorney?

Defendants sometimes believe that private attorneys possess a distinct advantage over the overworked public defender’s office or panel attorneys who are paid a minimum fee. But do private attorneys provide better representation than court-appointed government-paid defense counsel?

Many private attorneys are former prosecutors or public defenders. Based on studies that evaluate the outcomes of having a private versus court-appointed attorney, data seems to indicate that the results for defendants are often the same. For example, one study indicated that defendants represented by private counsel and public defenders fared similarly in conviction rates and sentencing (although those represented by panel attorneys fared worse). Such statistical evidence is not always reliable or clear because of complicating factors. For instance, clients represented by private counsel often have short or no prior criminal records, while indigent defendants are twice as likely to be repeat offenders. What is also unclear—and what creates one of the biggest uncertainties of the criminal justice system—is whether private attorneys can negotiate better plea deals than court-appointed counsel.

Ultimately, the experience, skills, and commitment of the particular attorney at hand—regardless of whether he or she is a public defender, panel attorney, or private lawyer—are the best indicator of the quality of the representation.

Self-Representation (Pro se)

What is clear is that being represented by a lawyer is almost always the best option. Nevertheless, some criminal defendants represent themselves. The decision of whether a defendant can self-represent is ultimately made by the judge, not the defendant. The judge is required to determine the defendant’s competency. That’s because a defendant who cannot provide a competent defense cannot get a fair shake, even if the defendant is adamant about not accepting the services of a court-appointed attorney. When determining whether a defendant can go pro se, a judge will consider factors such as:

  • the seriousness of the crime
  • the defendant’s language skills and education
  • whether the defendant understands the nature of the proceedings, and
  • whether the defendant is knowingly giving up his right to counsel.

Finding an Attorney

Lawyer (Attorney) - Dream Meaning and Interpretation - Dream Glossary and  Dictionary

When looking for a private defense attorney, look for an attorney who specializes in criminal defense and practices in the jurisdiction (city or county) where charges are pending. A local attorney will be familiar with the judges and prosecutors in that area. Learn more in our article on what to look for in a private criminal defense attorney. You can also find more information on our home page, www.criminaldefenselawyer.com.

If you don’t have the financial resources to pay for an attorney, you will typically need to ask for court-appointed counsel (before or at one of your first court hearings) and fill our paperwork on your financial resources. Learn more in our article on public defender representation.

Ethical ‘Dos and Don’ts’ Attorneys Need to Know

Types of Lawyers | legalzoom.com

My partner Matthew Conroy and I recently presented a continuing legal education seminar called Ethical Dos and Don’ts for Attorneys. That seminar is available online at Lawline. During the seminar, we covered a lot of topics including the top five examples of attorney conduct that can lead to the filing of a grievance.  Here they are:

1. Misuse of client funds:

As a lawyer, I encourage you to be very cautious regarding client funds. If the funds aren’t yours, don’t touch them unless you have an absolute right to them, typically for hours billed under an hourly fee agreement, assuming your jurisdiction allows you to take undisputed amounts of money. Even in this case, practice cautiously, obtaining client consent if possible.

Obtain and keep a record of writing from a client,or whoever is entitled to the funds, authorizing and/or directing you as to what to do with the funds. If you’re able to demonstrate a good history with your escrow accounts and can show that the mistake was a clerical or bank-related error, ordinarily you can avoid a potential problem with a grievance committee.

Another potential grievance can arise into escrow without authorization from the payee, typically the client. Ensure you have the appropriate authority, either through a retainer agreement or other writing, to deposit money on behalf of clients or third parties into your escrow account.

2. Inattention to client matters:

This is another classic area that results in grievances. Every matter has a certain timetable. A documented failure to take timely action on behalf of a client in any particular matter can lead to a grievance. Ensure you have an appropriate diary system that reminds you of timelines, deadlines, and keeps an appropriate list of client matters that you or your firm represent. The system should be able to alert you to any “hot potatoes”—matters that have not received attention for a sufficient length of time.

3. Lack of communication:

What Not to Do When Hiring a Lawyer | Spending | US News

Timely communication with your clients is essential. If you don’t know the answer to a client’s question, don’t avoid them because you haven’t had time to do the research. Call and explain what’s going on, and if you can’t provide nor engage, get another attorney to help you find the answer; inform the client of this. Don’t ignore the matter because it will only besmirch your reputation and could lead to a grievance.

4. Notary stamps:

Lawyers in New York can fill out a form, pay a fee, and automatically become notaries. A notary stamp is a dangerous tool in the hands of a lawyer, however, if not used properly. Don’t do your clients or anybody else any “favors” and notarize a signature on their behalf when they are not in your presence. This can get you in trouble.

If you’re going to notarize something that will be sworn to in the form of an affidavit, pleading or something else in court, understand that you may be charged with all of the knowledge contained in the document, by virtue of your decision to notarize and swear to the signature on that document. For this reason, I would caution lawyers to make sure that their i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed when notarizing that kind of document on behalf of a client. As a general rule, I would suggest that you avoid the problem by having someone else notarize those documents.

5. Communicating with a client who’s represented by another lawyer:

We know the rule—don’t talk to a client who’s represented by opposing counsel. Nevertheless, sometimes things happen; an opposing client calls to confirm a meeting or to ask if you received what they sent to your office. Whether by accident or happenstance, you may communicate with a client who is represented by opposing counsel. Should this happen, the most important thing to do is to document that you received a call from the client, what the nature of the communication was, and then to convey the occurrence to the counsel who represents the client.

If you’re not clear whether the client is represented by counsel, document the conversation with the client and include that they had not advised whether they had counsel or not. If you document everything and instruct your staff that any communications can only be of the most basic nature, you should be able to avoid any problems or potential grievances.

This is not an exhaustive list. In day-to-day operations, any number of ethical questions may arise. The best way to be sure that you do the right thing is to contact an attorney who has the experience and expertise to guide you through your unique ethical dilemmas.

Right of Lien - Analysis of Recent Judgment and Landmark Cases

Remember to practice with common sense and an appropriate abundance of caution, but not to practice in fear. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.