Q. I handle criminal cases for one flat fee – start to finish. When must I put the fee in trust and when can I take payments along the way?
The Lawyer's Lawyer
Q. In divorce cases, my retainer provides that a $1,000 "engagement fee" is "non-refundable" and "earned upon receipt." This assures my client that I won't represent the other side. Must I put this fee in my trust account?
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?
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?
Q. After lengthy litigation, we recently collected a large outstanding bill from a client who filed a frivolous counterclaim against us for malpractice. To prevent this from happening again, may we require binding arbitration in future retainer agreements?
Q. Denying that she sped up to beat a red light, my injured client swore that she had lots of time to get to work at 8:00 a.m. Told that the police timed the crash at 8:32 a.m., she then changed her start time to 9. May I fire her for lying?
Q. Unhappy with my client's engineering work, a huge contractor ignored my demand for payment of a $150,000 bill. It's a small sum to the contractor, but a lot of money for my client to lose. With more documents than cash on hand, my client wants to sue and fight "on principle." How should I engineer this?