The Lawyer's Lawyer

Lawyers Helping Lawyers Avoid the Perils of Professional Discipline

Posts on Managing the Attorney-Client Relationship to Avoid Complaints and Ethical Misconduct

Ethics on Vacation

Q. As we head to the beach for a two-week vacation, my wife and kids want me to leave my cell phone behind so I won't be distracted with client calls. Is this a good idea?

Counselor At Law

Q. Rather than focus on charges that may be tough to beat, my client repeatedly insists that she wouldn't be prosecuted at all if she were white. As a white woman, how can I get her off this racist rant?

Holding Files for Ransom

Q. After ten months of discovery in a complex civil case, my client fired me for "taking too long" and refused to pay her bill. Now, her new lawyer has asked me for the file. May I keep it until I get paid?

Removing Retainers

Q. If I don't take retainers, I won't need a trust account at all. Can't I avoid this whole problem by billing for my work after it's completed?

Dollars & Sense

Q. After ordering numerous revisions to her will, my client changed her mind yet again, claimed that my latest draft misstated her wishes, and demanded all of her money back. If I give in, can my refund be used against me?

Billing for Billing

Q. Whenever my client gets a bill, he calls to question each of my time entries, keeping me on the phone for 30-45 minutes each time. May I bill him for this time?

Fee Splitting

Q. I've always heard that referral fees are forbidden. But I know lawyers who routinely refer cases for a share of the profit, even if they're not licensed where the cases are pending. Isn't this unethical?

Giving Thanks

Q. We are thankful for the many satisfied clients who have recommended us to their friends, coworkers and relatives. To encourage more referrals, may we send them tokens of our appreciation?

Challenging the Law

Q. It's a loser under current case law, but my client still wants me to seek relief that would require a major reversal of precedent. If she'll agree to a generous retainer and hourly fees, should I take it?

Law-Man on the Totem Pole

Q. Before leaving, our Chief Legal Officer reported directly to our CEO. Rather than keep counsel in upper management, may we eliminate the position and have our next lawyer report to a manager who works beneath our COO?

'Tis the Season ...

Q. My tech client had a huge gift basket delivered to me, with an envelope containing first class tickets for a golf trip to Scotland. May I accept these?

Buying Out of a Grievance

Q. My client has threatened me with a lawsuit and an ethics complaint unless I refund her legal fees. Should I pay her to release these claims?

Online Review Rebuttals

Q. My online reputation is everything to me. So how should I respond to a scathing review that called me an "awful" and "dishonest lawyer" who cares more about money than people?

So you committed malpractice ...

Q. I'm not inclined to make excuses. But things have been so hectic in my office that I let a nice accident case slip through the cracks and failed to file suit by the limitations deadline. My head is spinning. What should I do now?

Encryption Ethics

Q. After emailing several documents to opposing counsel, she slammed me for failing to encrypt the message and exposing records on her client's medical history. Must I encrypt these emails?

Friendly Conflicts

Q. I've been approached to represent the husband in a messy custody case. His wife is using an old law school classmate and fellow golfer who serves with me on a bar association committee. Would that present a conflict?

Driving into a Conflict?

Q. An engaged couple wants to retain me in an accident case. The boyfriend drove through an intersection when a truck ran a red light and crashed into them. May I represent both?

The Power of "No"

Q. After two other lawyers let her down, a sexual harassment victim approached me to fight for fair compensation. I haven't done these cases before, but she thinks the case is worth millions in light of the #MeToo movement. Should I take the case?

The Ills of Medical Bills

Q. Wishing to handle it herself, my client has asked me not to pay one of her doctors from the proceeds of her settlement. I never signed anything to guarantee such payment, but I'm afraid that the doctor will claim a lien on the proceeds and come after me. What should I do?

Lexting: Instant Legal Advice

Q. My criminal defense client texted me that he really wants to testify. He's got loads of priors, and the prosecutor will eat him alive. How can I get my point across so that he stays far away from the witness stand?

Attorney Grievance defense attorney specializes in defending lawyers in disciplinary proceedings before the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission and the D.C. Bar's Board on Professional Responsibility involving professional misconduct, legal ethics, disbarment, suspensions of law licenses, petitions for disciplinary action, reprimands and sanctions for unethical conduct. If you receive a letter from Bar Counsel Lydia Lawless, Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox, or from any attorney disciplinary board in Maryland or the District of Columbia, retain experienced attorneys with expertise in lawyer discipline and breach of ethics cases to avoid sanctions for professional misconduct. We help lawyers avoid disbarment, suspension, reprimands, censure and informal admonitions by drafting responses to client grievances and ethical complaints; representing lawyers in peer reviews, evidentiary hearings, and oral arguments before the BPR and the Court of Appeals; filing petitions to reinstate an attorney's license to practice law; conducting law firm ethical compliance audits; and drafting legal ethics opinions to protect lawyers from ethics charges. In many cases, disciplinary proceedings may be dismissed, dismissed with a warning, or result in a conditional diversion agreement with Bar Counsel to rectify misconduct. Lawyers may need help in managing their law firm attorney escrow IOLTA trust account and complying with attorney trust accounting rules to avoid charges of ethical misconduct. Do not represent yourself in responding to an attorney grievance, law firm client complaint, or other allegation of ethical impropriety. Attorney grievance defense counsel may help you comply with legal ethics rules, avoid sanctions like suspension or disbarment, and avoid future attorney grievances.

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By The Lawyer's Lawyers | Kramer & Connolly and Irwin R. Kramer who are responsible for the content of this informational website.   This website is designed for lawyers faced with attorney grievances. As cases do differ, past performance does not guarantee future results.
 

NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMISSION OF MARYLAND
OR THE BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE D.C. BAR