The Lawyer's Lawyer

Lawyers Helping Lawyers Avoid the Perils of Professional Discipline

Client, Liar, You're Fired!

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?

Legal Criminals

Q. I got pulled over for DUI last night – the first time this has happened since I left college nearly 10 years ago. Could I face ethics charges as well?

Ways to Leave Your Law Firm

Q. I gave ten years of my life to this firm. 
But I think I've reached my limit on the fees that I can earn. 
I should fly solo, yet there's much that I must learn. 
What are the proper ways to leave my law firm?

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?

Phishing for Lawyers

Q. Representing a Korean supplier of silicone for electronics, I demanded $90,000 from a U.S. company that failed to pay for these materials and immediately received a $90,000 cashier's check. My client wants me to wire its net recovery from my trust account to its Canadian bank. Any need to wait?

Ten Commandments of Trust

Q. As the new managing partner of our firm, I have no idea how to manage our trust account. What must I do to comply with the rules?

Deal Without Appeal

Q. I took a complicated contingency case to trial and lost. Now my client wants me to appeal the verdict for free. Must I?

The Unsettled Client

Q. I settled a weak case for $30,000, and got my client's medical bills reduced to $15,000. But my client is angry that he's "netting a measly $5,000," won't let me pay his doctors, and objects to my one-third fee. What should I do?

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?

Crossing the Border

Q. Injured on a Delaware highway, my old client spent the night in a Dover hospital, returned to Maryland for more treatment, and called me for representation. I'm not licensed in Delaware. May I take her case?

Legal Marketing Secrets

Q. As a high-volume accident lawyer, I've been approached by a marketing firm with "proprietary tools" that can send me at least a dozen cases per month. May I use this service?

Profiting from Retainers

​​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?

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?

Binding Clients to Arbitration

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?

The Dreaded Overdraft

Q. I'm ashamed to admit that I don't know how to balance my own checkbook. Knowing that banks are reporting overdrafts to the grievance board, I'm terrified of bouncing a check on my trust account. May I keep some extra money in the account just to be safe?

Hoarding Closed Client Files

Q. In 25 years of practice, I've never thrown anything away. But I'm moving to a smaller office without much storage space. May I toss my closed client files?

April Fool's for Lawyers

Q. To help me celebrate April Fool's Day, the local sheriff will have my law partner detained as he walks into court today. When he asks why, the sheriff will say he's being arrested for the prank he pulled on me last year. Pretty hilarious, huh?

Poor Prognosis for Juris Doctor

Q. Most injury lawyers have difficulty getting treating physicians on the phone. But I just say I'm a "doctor" and their receptionists put me right through. Is that the right prescription?

"Engagement Fee" for Divorce?

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?

Ghostwriting an Ethical Dilemma

If you're into blogging,
 Take great care before you post.

Lest you risk a flogging,
 As host to the musings of a ghost.
 

-- Ghostwritten by Irwin R. Kramer

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.

410.581.0070

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