Client Funds

New CLE on Common Ethics Traps for Attorneys

Pick up the phone and call your clients, don’t “borrow” money from trust accounts, calendar every key deadline & date – the same fundamental ethics principles still hold true for the 21st century lawyer. That’s because the same traditional ethics issues continue to plague lawyers, leading to countless ethics violations and malpractice lawsuits. Lawyers & Ethics The same traditional legal ethics issues…

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…

Preventing Legal Malpractice: 60 Tips in 60 Minutes

Take cases outside of your main practice area. Forget to calendar key dates. Co-mingle client and firm funds. And whatever you don’t, don’t call or email your clients to keep them informed about their cases. This is a blueprint of how NOT to practice law – or what to do if you want to be disbarred or end up on the wrong…

CLE Course: Ethical Traps for the Unwary

How well do you know the California Rules of Professional Conduct (CRPC), the Business & Professions Code (B&PC) and the State Bar Act? Do you know them well enough to avoid lurking ethical traps? Lawyers & Ethics Unfortunately, many lawyers think that the MPRE is the last time they need to study ethics rules and quite a few attorneys have little or…

Show Me The Money! Ethics of Trust Accounting CLE

If you are like me, one of the first things you do while perusing your state bar journal or website is to flip quickly to the back and the scan the discipline pages. There is something that fascinates me about the stories of those attorneys that were unfortunate enough to get a public censure… or even disbarment in the most extreme circumstances.…

How to Avoid Legal Malpractice Claims

Over the last few decades, the incidence of legal malpractice claims has greatly increased as more clients have begun to sue their attorneys for substandard work.  There are many reasons to explain the increased number of legal malpractice claims, and the recent downturn in the economy has only generated more malpractice claims.  In order to avoid these lawsuits, attorneys must be extremely…

CLE Course: The Initial Client Interview in Family Law Matters

Do you know one of the best times to prevent malpractice? During the very first meeting with the client – at the outset of the attorney-client relationship. This is a crucial point in the attorney-client relationship that must be used to examine many facets of your representation – from your competence to handle the matter in question to the existence of conflicts…

CLE Course: Client Intake, Damages & Expert Witnesses – Do You Want to Take This PI Case?

When you are contemplating whether to take that next case remember the quote below.  This quote is from a seasoned attorney who has learned his lesson the hard way – not to take every case that walks through the door.  How many times have you started a case and then once you get deeper into it you think to yourself, “why did…

Avoiding Ethical Violations & Legal Malpractice Claims

Legal Malpractice – two words attorneys never want to hear in their legal career … unless they are taking a CLE course with Attorney Credits.  There are many avenues that can lead to a malpractice claim, from conflicts of interest to improperly calendaring important dates.  However, many of these ethical traps can easily be avoided with a little knowledge and diligence. We…

No Such Thing as a Non-Refundable Retainer?

By Jason Castillo, Director of Legal Education The Iowa Supreme Court recently suspended a retired Iowa attorney for 30 days after ruling that a fee agreement with a criminal defendant was unethical.  According to the opinion, “the amount of the fee charged and collected by Vilmont for performing the limited and insignificant services in representing his client was, without question, unreasonable.”  The court then…