Category Archives: Ethics

Human Experimentation: Lawyers may “moonlight” outside expertise

Most lawyers must have a bachelor’s degree (in any subject), plus an advanced degree from an accredited law school (usually a Juris Doctor, with some exceptions), then they must satisfy various state licensing requirements and pass a bar exam (with … Continue reading

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Eyeballing It: The eyewitness myth

Our legal system regularly runs over the rights, and lives, of criminal defendants who are legally innocent until found guilty.  In addition to faulty verdicts and unsupported charges, common issues include the scarcity of competent, affordable legal representation for the … Continue reading

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Fee Forfeiture: “Deceptive” legal bills backfire on lawyer in arbitration

Can a lawyer bill one or more clients twice (or more) for the same hours of work?  No.  (You can only bill each particular hour one time when you bill by the hour.  We’re not talking about doing similar work … Continue reading

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Puffing Professionals: Law firm immune for false statements to client

Here’s an example of how the legal system, through gatekeeping judges, seems to protect its own — lawyers.  There are many hurdles, some unique to lawyers, protecting lawyers from the consequences of their alleged mistakes by prematurely tossing claims that … Continue reading

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Prix Fixe: Setting standard legal fees is illegal price fixing

While there are other stories about the acceptance of the billable hour as a de facto standard for legal billing, this is one of the more entertaining I have seen.  This is the story of how the US Supreme Court … Continue reading

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Just Say No: Sometimes it’s not worth hiring a lawyer for your legal problem

Here’s some online advice by a lawyer suggesting when you should not hire a lawyer.  Often lawyers feel compelled, by their financial interest but also by ethics rules pushing them to genuflect to the bar.  Unlike most of these self-serving … Continue reading

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Disabled Lawyering: Lawyer impersonates colleague to double dip veterans’ fees

Just when you think you’ve heard all the ways a rogue lawyer might find to overcharge a client, along comes a story like this one.  It seems a lawyer used a friend’s identity to illegally double bill disabled veterans for … Continue reading

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Pyramid Scheme: Contract lawyer document review may not be billable

There’s a new layer at the bottom of the billable hours pyramid.  The top is still occupied by partners, followed by non-partner lawyers, and then by the fairly recent paralegal and other quasi-clerical layers.  But, in the last few years, … Continue reading

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Fire the Client: Law firm accused of malpractice knocks out estate administrator

A common complaint we hear about lawyers arises in the administration of wills, estates, and trusts.  Often the problem is that the lawyer double dips by serving both as the lawyer billing the estate for legal work (needed or otherwise) … Continue reading

Posted in All CGL, Civilian's Guide to Lawyers, Client Tips, Devil's Advocate, Ethics, Firing a Lawyer, Hiring a lawyer, Lawyer Management, Legal Commentary, Legal Fees, Legal Fees: Law & Management, Legal News Notes, Trial Practice Checklists 2d | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fire the Client: Law firm accused of malpractice knocks out estate administrator

Suspended Disbelief: Bar suspends lawyer who took $450K with OCD excuse

People have gone to jail for decades for stealing a few dollars in cash or merchandise.  So why is the Illinois Bar, after several years, just suspending the law license of a lawyer (who admits he took $69,000, or is … Continue reading

Posted in All CGL, Civilian's Guide to Lawyers, Client Tips, Devil's Advocate, Ethics, Firing a Lawyer, Hiring a lawyer, In-House Lawyer Notes, Lawyer Management, Legal Bill Reviews, Legal Commentary, Legal Fees, Legal Fees: Law & Management, Legal News Notes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Suspended Disbelief: Bar suspends lawyer who took $450K with OCD excuse