Category Archives: Ethics

Judgment Proof: Winning your case is worthless until you collect

Sometimes the biggest hurdle to success in litigation is the most obvious: You can’t get blood from a stone.  In litigation this means that even if you have a great case, a sure winner, you can still lose if your … Continue reading

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Hybrid Legal Fees: Beware of lawyers bearing alternative fee proposals

Every few years, especially during recessions, another generation of lawyers, and a few clients and reporters, claim to have invented or discovered alternative legal fees.  In this context, alternative legal fees are any fee other than a basic hourly fee.  Common … Continue reading

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Object to the Form: Lawyer’s absurd deposition objections yield videotaped mea culpa

A deposition is supposed to record testimony — each side asks its questions and the answers of the witness are recorded, usually by a stenographer, but also by video or audio means.  There is rarely a judge in the room, … Continue reading

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Lawyer Glut: Until everyone has a lawyer they can afford, there’s no glut

While individual lawyers and law firms sometimes suffer in economic recessions, like everyone else, they usually do much better than most.  In the most recent real estate bubble recession, lawyers with business depending on some investments, some business transactions, and … Continue reading

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Condo-million: Legal fees and penalties punish condo and homeowners

One very common complaint about legal fees arises when condo or homeowners’ associations tack huge legal fees onto every past due payment, fine, or other charge.  Sometimes these are hundreds or thousands of dollars, ten or more times the original … Continue reading

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House Rules: Clients should think twice before trying bar-sponsored fee arbitration

As we’ve noted before, arbitration (and its neutered friend mediation) is a private replacement for civil litigation in court.  Many parties consider arbitration when the local courts are slow, perhaps to get a private “judge” with some special expertise, or … Continue reading

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Yikes: Law firm sues client for negative Yelp review

The internet has opened unlimited channels for everyone with something to say to communicate with the world.  Whether everyone has something worth saying and anyone is listening are still issues.  The days of public information that is systematically filtered and … Continue reading

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Passive Aggression: Juror research limited to “passive” means, while clients can’t just scrub own online records

Social media provide possible sources for lawyers of the public or semi-private thoughts of clients, opponents, witnesses, and even jurors.  This can be a goldmine for witness impeachment or an opponent’s admissions, but it can also be an ethical trap … Continue reading

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More Is Rarely Better: Spending more for lawyers only guarantees a bigger bill

An otherwise political debate about differences in how laws are unevenly enforced for the one percent versus the rest of us became distracted by suggestions that people who can afford to pay more for their lawyers get better lawyering as … Continue reading

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Jury Duty: Judge jails lawyer for complaining that jury duty conflicted with client duty

There are several common “types” for judges — so common that they are frequently portrayed quite accurately on TV and in movies.  You’ve got your passive, cerebral, experienced judge — the ones who never yell or make snide remarks.  Then … Continue reading

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