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Showing 11 posts from July 2014.

ABA Journal Seeks best Legal Blogs for the eighth Annual Blawg 100

Every year, the ABA Journal lists its 100 best blawgs of the year. For the uninitiated, a blawg is a blog about the law, or a related issue. 

To get its list, the ABA Journal asks all of us to weigh in on our favorite blawgs. You can nominate your favorite blawg here. There's a 500-character limit on your comments, which are due no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on August 8, 2014.

While our blog hasn't been around long enough to warrant inclusion, we encourage you to click the link above and let the legal world know what blogs you follow and appreciate.

And you say he's just a "Friend": Contacting an Unrepresented Party Through Online Social Networks

Rapper Biz Markie isn't the only one questioning the meaning of a "friend." Blog posts, Facebook, Twitter and other online social networks all have the potential to be useful litigation tools. Let's face it (pun intended), who among us hasn't googled opposing counsel, the opposing party, witnesses or even the judge? Although many of us may be careful to constantly monitor our own privacy settings, most lay litigants, who are not used to being on anyone's radar, may not. As the Miranda warning goes — "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you."   More ›

Professional Lines Alert — Non-Fiduciary Held Liable for Aiding and Abetting Breach of Fiduciary Duty

From our colleagues in our Professional Lines group comes an interesting alert.

Summary: In the absence of a fiduciary relationship with the plaintiff, a defendant can be sued for aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty when the aider and abettor commits an independent tort and the aider and abettor makes "a conscious decision to participate in tortious activity for the purpose of assisting another in performing a wrongful act." More ›

Getting Paid: Protect your Statutory Attorney Fees

In Betz v. Diamond Jim's Auto Sales, the Wisconsin Supreme Court considered what happens to statutory attorney fees when a client settles a case without notifying its lawyer. The court was "asked to determine the circumstances under which plaintiff's counsel may recover statutory attorney's fees directly from a defendant when, without counsel's knowledge or approval, the plaintiff and defendant enter into a settlement agreement that does not address attorney's fees."

We all have problem clients, but a client that completely settles its claims without telling you has to be near the top of the list. That's particularly true when you're working on a contingent fee, or expecting to recover statutory fees. More ›

Age is Nothing But a Number

How a young lawyer gains the trust and respect of an older malpractice client

A common scenario:

You are a third-year legal malpractice associate and you have just been asked by your supervisor to meet with a new client.

You immediately google him and find that he graduated from law school twenty-five years before you! The first thing that runs through your mind is: how will I gain the trust and respect of an older, more seasoned attorney who is relying on me for the defense of his malpractice claim?   More ›

LFP Alert — California Court Awards Attorneys' Fees in Legal Malpractice Case Based on Rates that Exceeded the Actual Amounts Billed

Syers Properties III, Inc. v. Rankin, ___ Cal.Rptr.3d ___, 2014 WL 2192362 (Cal.App. 1st Dist.) 

After the trial court granted the defendants' nonsuit motion, the court awarded the defendants' attorneys' fees. The court allowed the calculation of reasonable hourly rates to be based on the Laffey Matrix, which amounted to higher billable rates than defense counsel's actual billable rates. On appeal, the court upheld the trial court's award of attorneys' fees and rejected the plaintiff's argument that the actual rates billed by defense counsel represented the maximum reasonable hourly rate. More ›

E-discovery for Illinois Courts – "Something Wicked This Way Comes" – New Court Rules To Help You Avoid Toil and Trouble

On May 29, 2014, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted new rules to address e-discovery in Illinois courts. The title's reference to the Shakespeare quote from Macbeth and the Ray Bradbury novel is a warning that e-discovery for the uninformed can be a harrowing and complicated process, which can easily become unpleasant and exorbitant. More ›

LFP Alert – Unfinished Business Doctrine no Longer Applicable to New York Law Firms

Matter of Thelen, No. 136; Matter of Coudert Brothers LLP, No. 137 (July 1, 2014) 

In a unanimous decision, the New York Court of Appeals held that hourly fees earned on client matters after attorneys switch firms are not the "property" of their old partnerships — a landmark holding that makes the "unfinished business" doctrine inapplicable to lawyers and their clients. More ›

Avoiding Ethics Problems in Social Media — Phone a Friend

Lawyers are social animals and when they feel emotionally tethered to a desk, a billable hour requirement or some other unpleasant aspect of being a lawyer, their use of social media can create a big ethical problem. More ›