At large Minneapolis law firms (and large law firms nationwide), they have specific ethics partners and the rugs in the doorways to their offices are worn bare. Their colleagues are constantly running things past the ethics experts. Small firm lawyers, on the other hand, do not enjoy such support. What’s more, they tend to have less sophisticated clients and given the challenges of small firm practice might be tempted to take on risks that other more secure colleagues will pass over.
Is it ok if Uncle Pete pays his nephew’s (that is, your client’s) legal bill for the nephew’s divorce? For his DWI? How about Pete paying for his employee’s legal bill?
Is it ok to take part ownership in a client’s business as payment for legal fees that the client owes?
If you have come to view your client as a stubborn vindictive bully, is this sufficient basis for you to withdraw from representing him?
Do you have to get your client’s okay to dismiss a co-defendant (crossclaim defendant) if you think it’s consistent with the best legal strategy? If your client says, “No,” can you dismiss the party regardless consistent with your ethical obligations to your client?
What can you say in your advertising and what not consistent with ethics rules about lawyer advertising?
Does missing a deadline in a case always equate to a violation of lawyers’ ethical duties? Are breaches of ethical duties always actionable legal malpractice?
Karin Ciano, Brian Hagerty, and Seth Leventhal wade into the dark and foreboding jungle of Everyday Ethics for Small Firm Attorneys in a webcast of the National Business Institute set to air on April 21, 2015. Join us. Invest the $259. Maybe you will learn something that could save you a great deal more than that somewhere along the line in your legal practice.