Category Archives: ABA Model Rules

Get Your CLE Done: Keep Your Law License!

When we first started Attorney Credits, our idea was to bring you quality CLE at a great price, in a convenient online format.  We know that attorneys are busy professionals – you don’t need to waste your time and  money completing CLE courses.

Falsely Certifying CLE Compliance 

Countless attorneys have been fined and or suspended for failing to complete their MCLE requirement.

At the end of the day, we also help you to keep your law license.  That’s because if you fail to complete your CLE – or worse yet, lie about compliance – it can cost you your law license. For more information about CLE courses and bundles please click here: Attorney Credits.

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How Can Small Law Firms Grow Today?

The changing legal landscape invites a different approach to law practice.

We have all heard the legal industry is changing. Lawyers compete for clients, experiencing how access and affordability are two barriers that seem to be pervasive. Whether a lawyer is relatively new to the profession, or has been practicing for many years, the thoughts of how to maintain and grow a successful practice is or should be on the mind.

So how can small firms grow today? The old tested methods of networking, advertising, and referrals certainly would still hold true, but in today’s world, it seems more is needed. Clients tend to want easy access to their attorney, coupled with reasonable fees, and a sense of consistency or branding. While this may sound obvious in theory, in practice, as a general statement, it doesn’t work so well.

Access

While office building set ups may be comfortable for lawyers, anecdotally clients share that riding up an elevator, waiting in a reception room or conference room, and then finally meeting with a lawyer in that setting can often be “overwhelming” or “intimidating.” Traditional law practice set up lent itself to such an environment, but as society has changed, it appears a sizeable number of consumers and small businesses prefer being able to pull into a one level parking lot, walk into a retail setting that is still professional, and have access to an attorney – even if to just to briefly meet to set up an appointment.

Reasonable Fees

Many firms offer options of flat fees, hourly fees, and hybrids, but few, if any, publish some or all of them on their websites. Clients have perceptions of fees being exorbitant, sometimes rightfully so, which is why transparency up front, with full disclosures as to how a fee can increase or change form (flat to hourly) builds credibility, and may increase the likelihood of a client choosing you.

Consistency or a Brand

Today, society loves brands, probably more than ever. Of course, one firm in and of itself can create a brand, having various locations can serve to enhance a brand and peoples’ desire to frequent it.

While anyone can arguably make a cup of coffee, we have Starbucks. While anyone can arguably make a sandwich, we have Subway. And while anyone that is trained on tax preparation, can prepare taxes, we have H&R Block. Law firms can benefit from consistency, not necessarily in the practice of law itself, as every case is technically unique, but in the business of law. Having an expectation that a common name, a certain look and design of the firm, and defined levels of client service, can give clients a sense that there’s credibility, and that it’s a brand that they want to employ.

In general, it seems people have a sense of security or an expectation with a brand-and yes, even service brands. We know that you can not control the services of a dentist, a hairstylist, or an accountant/tax preparer, but the business framework within which they operate can be. As described above, the consistency that can come from branding can be very important to gain business and have it repeat.

Example of a Solution Encompassing Access, Affordability and Branding

An example of one answer to the challenge of access, sharing reasonable fees, and affordability is providing consistency through branding as part of a law firm franchise system.

Legal Value Firm®, a Torrance, California based law firm has done just that. Now in its fifth year, Legal Value Firm is a full-service law firm of attorneys, offering a wide range of practice areas, for mostly flat fees, in professional space in a shopping center. This paradigm has offered clients a whole new alternative: easy access and affordable legal services in a branded, neighborhood Legal Value Firm. Currently, Legal Value Firms are being offered in Arizona, with other states pending (legalvaluefranchise.com).

Founding attorney Joe Donnini states, “Law practice is definitely changing, and the timing is perfect to redefine access and delivery of legal services. With our new shopping center concept, we have positioned our brand to be a solution of the future for many consumers/small businesses and attorneys, too.”

How Does Franchising Work?

As a way to grow a law firm, franchising will offer education, training and support on client development, marketing, operations and overall business management. Attorney franchisees will be able to use their independent judgment in their practice of law, and still be in business for themselves but not by themselves.

Prospective licensed attorney franchisees may be relatively newly licensed attorneys, seasoned attorneys that want to convert their practice or operate it in addition to Legal Value Firm, or larger firms that want to capture more market share (analogous to hotels that have various brands under their portfolio).

Franchising is not the answer for every attorney, but certainly can be for many. In Legal Value Firm’s experience, some of the challenges described in this piece that lawyers face have been minimized or overcome. For example, there are numerous occasions where clients will sign up for an engagement simply because they frequent the shopping center-or it does happen where people engage the firm on the spot for a pressing matter. Capturing more market share is something that can be harder in a traditional setting with a traditional practice operation.

So while change can be inevitable, choices are increasing for small law firms to grow their business. Franchising is one choice that is poised to evolve as the future does. For more information about franchising click here: Legal Value Firm.

This is a guest post from attorney Joe Donnini. Joe is an experienced attorney, entrepreneur, educator, and business consultant.  Having a diverse background has positioned Joe to gain perspective in multiple industries on many matters.  Joe has assisted clients in key areas of business creation, development, operations, and finance.

New CLE on How Firms Can Increase Gender Diversity

Virtually every large law firm and publicly held corporation claims it is committed to gender diversity. Yet, most gender diversity programs have accomplished very little in the way of significant change.

3 Steps to Increase Diversity in Law Firms

Progress toward gender diversity depends on three key actions:

(1) Specifying specific numerical goals

(2) Providing meaningful financial incentives to achieve them

(3) Adopting and enforcing a clear strategy for how that is to be done

Join Andi Kramer and Al Harris for this thoughtful and poignant program about overcoming gender bias in the legal profession to create a more successful and profitable law firm. Andi and Al will mainly address why diversity benefits law firms & organizations, the gender achievement gap in the legal profession, what men can do and what legal organizations can do to end gender bias. To learn about what steps you can take to create a more diverse firm, please click here: What Men & Organizations Can Do to Close the Gender Achievement Gap in Law.

Further topics covered in this CLE course:

  • The moral & business rationale for diversity
  • Unconscious & implicit bias
  • ABA Model Rule 8.4(g)
  • Blind auditions
  • Thinking slow
  • Getting involved
  • Valuing difference
  • Hiring & assignments
  • Professional development
  • Compensation & promotion
  • Leaves & retention

Andrea S. Kramer is an attorney and a partner in the international law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, LLP. The managing partner in the Chicago office of Nixon Peabody, Al is a frequent writer and lecturer on the financial markets, financial regulation, corporate governance and diversity in the legal profession.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • Missouri (MO)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in Illinois and around the country. For more information about CLE in Illinois please click the following link: IL CLE.

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New CLE Course on Avoiding and Obtaining Discovery Sanctions When Dealing with ESI

You’re involved in international litigation representing a local company that sold high tech electronic equipment to an English firm. As soon as discovery starts, the English company claims that four key employees no longer work at the company and they can’t locate their smartphones, laptops and other company devices. With the help of your expert, you eventually realize that all four people are still employed at the company and you get a termination order from the judge due to their dishonesty.

ESI – Discovery & Sanctions

Julie Thorpe-Lopez was not an expert on eDiscovery when the case began – and she wasn’t an expert when it finished either. But she was savvy enough to “know what she didn’t know.” With the help of eDiscovery expert Ryan Maxwell, she was able to leverage an incredibly favorable outcome for client in what looked like a losing case.

In this CLE course, Julie Lopez and Ryan Maxwell will detail how to obtain ESI in eDiscovery and how to avoid sanctions when producing ESI. Julie and Ryan will mainly discuss the attorney’s duty to preserve ESI, ESI best practices and sanctions for failing to properly handle electronically stored information. To access this course please click here: ESI Basics: Avoiding and Obtaining Discovery Sanctions.

Julie and Ryan will also discuss:

  • Scoping
  • Documentation
  • Defensible collection
  • Potential testimony
  • The Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM)
  • Questionnaires/interviews
  • Data sources
  • Metadata
  • File systems
  • Defensible discovery
  • Motions to compel
  • Motions for sanctions
  • Using a discovery referee
  • Hiding electronic evidence

Julie Thorpe-Lopez is a Partner with Tatro & Lopez, LLP, and mainly represents clients who’ve suffered personal injury as a result of motor vehicle collisions, elder abuse and medical malpractice. Ryan Maxwell directs Epiq’s team of computer forensics analysts in southern California and manages the purpose-built computer forensics laboratory which he designed and established.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • Missouri (MO)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in California and around the country. For more information about CLE in California please click the following link: CA CLE.

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New IL CLE Requirement: Diversity & Inclusion + Mental Health & Substance Abuse

Illinois attorneys now have a new IL MCLE requirement. Please note that the Professional Responsibility requirement has been modified. All Illinois attorneys are now required to complete a minimum of 1 hour of Diversity & Inclusion and 1 hour of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

New Professional Responsibility Requirement

  • 1 hour of Diversity & Inclusion
  • 1 hour of Mental Health and Substance Abuse

This Illinois MCLE rule change does not affect the total number of hours required to fulfill the Professional Responsibility requirement, which remains at 6. These two new hours are considered count towards your Professional Responsibility requirement. The total number of MCLE credits required in each 2 year compliance period also remains at 30.

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New CLE: Age Bias Against Younger & Older Attorneys

There are many CLE programs that discuss bias in the legal profession – but many of these programs focus on bias based on race or sex. There are very few programs that tackle the growing issue of age bias in law firms. And it’s not just older attorneys that are being discriminated against because of their age, “millennial” attorneys also face bias in the legal workplace.

Lawyers: Overcoming Age Bias

Andie and Al also provide you with advice and techniques you can use to avoid or overcome bias against other and in your own professional capacity.

In this CLE course Andie and Al help you to understand the stereotypes surrounding younger and older lawyers and the biases that result from these stereotypes. Andie and Al will mainly discuss how age discrimination manifests in the legal profession, unconscious stereotypes, what law firms & legal organizations can do and what you can do to overcome your own biases. To access the course please click here: Ending the Discriminatory Consequences of Age Bias in the Legal Profession.

These topics will also be covered:

  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Age discrimination before & after Gross v. FBL Fin. Svcs. Inc.
  • Mandatory retirement
  • Clear evidence of age bias
  • The daunting problem for older & younger female attorneys
  • Younger lawyers
  • Stereotypes & scripts
  • The ABA Mission Statement
  • ABA Model Rule 8.4(g)

Andrea S. Kramer is an attorney and a partner in the international law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, LLP. The managing partner in the Chicago office of Nixon Peabody, Al is a frequent writer and lecturer on the financial markets, financial regulation, corporate governance and diversity in the legal profession.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in Illinois and around the country. For more information about CLE in Illinois please click the following link: IL CLE.

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CLE Course: Understanding How Unconscious Bias Affects Your Legal Cases

We are all biased.  There is no way around it.  Bias has been hardwired into our brains during our species existence on this planet. Bias stems from a biological survival response triggered by a dangerous or stressful event where a split-second judgement is required as part of the flight or fight response.

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness.

In this CLE course, you will learn how illegal and unconscious bias affects your cases. Richad Huver provides a lively discussion about how lawyers must identify & deal with biases, how bias affects your decision-making & cases, how to spot illegal & unconscious bias and the common types of bias that lawyers must deal with in their everyday practice. To access the course please click here: We’re All Biased: Understanding How Your Bias Affects Your Cases.

Richard also addresses:

  • Snap judgements
  • Bias & decision-making
  • The amygdala
  • Bias & the biological response
  • The two brain systems
  • Illegal bias
  • Stereotypes
  • Harvard’s Project Implicit
  • Cognitive bias
  • Availability bias
  • Anchoring bias
  • Recency bias
  • The ostrich effect
  • The bandwagon effect
  • The placebo effect
  • Confirmation bias
  • Information bias
  • Choice-supportive bias
  • Zero risk bias
  • Survivorship
  • Outcome bias

Richard’s three decades of litigation experience and leadership roles in the legal community, including President of the San Diego County Bar Association, have proven invaluable in his burgeoning mediation practice. Richard received an Outstanding Trial Lawyer award in 2000 and the President’s Award in 2001 from the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • Missouri (MO)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in California and around the country. For more information about CLE in California please click the following link: CA CLE.

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NY CLE: Diversity, Inclusion & Elimination of Bias Required in 2018

Change is coming to the New York CLE requirement in 2018. On January 1, 2018, a new category of CLE credit will be required in New York: “Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias.” This follows suit with state like Illinois and California that also have a diversity/bias requirement.

Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias

Starting on January 1, 2018, New York attorneys will be required to complete 1 hour of “Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias.”

This CLE rule change will not add to the current experienced attorney biennial CLE requirement of twenty-four (24) credit hours, nor does it change the requirement that experienced attorneys earn at least four (4) credit hours in Ethics and Professionalism. New York attorneys will still be required to completed 24 total NY CLE hours, including 4 hours of Ethics & Professionalism and 1 hour of Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias. For more information about New York CLE please click here: NY CLE.

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New Ethics CLE: Ethics & the SmallLaw Attorney 

Complying with the ethical rules can be a challenge for solo and small firm practitioners. Small firm and solo practitioners normally handle nearly all legal and business aspects of the firm, as they often serve as their own marketing, administration, billing and collections departments.

Ethics & the SmallLaw Attorney 

Small firm and solo attorneys are especially susceptible to ethics violations because they often handle all legal and business aspects of the firm.

In this CLE course, attorney Gary J. Ross provides a highly practical review of the main ethical issues faced by solo practitioners and attorneys in small firms. When you complete this course you will know the sources of ethics rules for attorneys, recognize the reasons SmallLaw attorneys tend to have more ethics violations, understand the most common ethical pitfalls and know how to properly operate your law practice in accordance with the ethics rules. To access the course please click here: Ethics and the Small Law Practitioner.

Key topics covered:

  • The Model Rules
  • Communications concerning a lawyer’s services
  • Using engagement letters
  • Establishing the lawyer-client relationship
  • Charging a reasonable fee
  • Retainers
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Taking on matters in a new area of law
  • Ending the lawyer-client relationship
  • Of counsel relationships
  • Sharing fees

Gary J. Ross founded Jackson Ross PLLC in 2013 to cater to the legal needs of the startup and venture capital community. Prior to founding Jackson Ross, Gary worked in the corporate transactions and securities practice groups in various large firms in various large cities and also managed to fit in a tour of duty with the Treasury Department.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • Missouri (MO)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in New York and around the country. For more information about New York CLE in please click the following link: NY CLE.

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New CLE: Achieving Gender Diversity in the Law Firms

In a recent case, a U.S. Magistrate Judge sanctioned an attorney for telling opposing counsel it wasn’t “becoming of a woman” to raise her voice during a contentious deposition. Yes, we have made strides when it comes to creating a level playing field for women in the legal profession… but there is still a long way to go.

Increasing Gender Diversity 

In this lively and thought-provoking program, Andrea S. Kramer and Alton B. Harris discuss how gender bias can prevent law firms and legal organizations from achieving their desired diversity goals.

In this incredibly insightful and practical discussion Andie and Al will mainly address gender disparity in achievement in the legal profession, why gender disparity exists in law firms, ending the gender disparity in law firms and what attorneys can do. Andie and Al will also provide specific action steps for addressing implicit biases and creating policies and procedures that can prevent bias from influencing decisions inside the firm. To access the course please click here: Achieving Real Gender Diversity in the Legal Profession.

The following topics are also covered:

  • ABA Model Rule 8.4(g)
  • State bar professional responsibility rules
  • The Muller-Lyer Illusion
  • Communal & agentic stereotypes
  • The Goldilocks dilemma
  • The moral & business rationale for creating diversity
  • Affinity bias
  • Unconscious bias
  • Being proactive
  • Impression management
  • What male lawyers can do to be a part of the solution

Andrea S. Kramer is an attorney and a partner in the international law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, LLP. The managing partner in the Chicago office of Nixon Peabody, Al is a frequent writer and lecturer on the financial markets, financial regulation, corporate governance and diversity in the legal profession.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • Missouri (MO)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in Illinois and around the country. For more information about CLE in Illinois please click the following link: IL CLE.

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