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How to Write a ‘Closing Your Practice’ Letter

Occasionally a lawyer will reach out to me wanting clarification on what should be covered in a letter notifying active clients, whose matters the lawyer will be unable to complete in time, that they are closing their practice. Here’s my response. Ordinarily these letters will inform each client of any relevant time limitations or time [...]

Two Letterhead/Advertising Missteps You Don’t Want to Make

I’ll admit that advertising missteps rarely garner much attention from those who enforce the Rules of Professional Conduct. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise because, truth be told, complaints about what some firm is doing with their advertising campaign almost always come from competitors. Disciplinary complaints filed by consumers of legal services upset with [...]

What You Learn at the Office Stays at the Office — A Support Staff Confidentiality Primer

Trust, which is built upon a lawyer’s ethical duty to keep all information relating to the representation of a client confidential, is the hallmark of the attorney-client relationship. Think about it. A confidentiality rule makes sense because it’s an excellent way to encourage prospective clients to seek legal assistance when called for and to help [...]

How to Recognize When Rationalizations and Creative Lawyering Aren’t the Answer

I’ve heard all kinds of crazy comments from lawyers over the years. For example, during a CLE event with a state bar’s ethics counsel sitting next to me on a speaker’s panel, two lawyer attendees tried to convince others in attendance that the panel’s position on conflict of interest resolution was clearly wrong. They stood [...]

Checklists for Closing Your Practice and Winding Up Your Business

Common reasons lawyers close their practices include a medical disability, wanting to retire, a move out-of-state, or a career change. While the specific steps that need to be taken and the time frame involved can vary significantly depending upon the reason driving the closure and the type of practice being closed, the following two checklists [...]

One Reason Why Reminders Never Hurt

I took a call worth sharing because the learning it provides serves as a good reminder about the perils that can arise from a failure to follow through. Here’s the short version of what transpired followed up by what I view as the key takeaways. A long-term client reached out to his attorney to ask [...]

Why Effective Client Communication Is all About Details and Documentation

ABA MRPC Rule 1.4 Communication seems clear on its face. Attorneys are to keep clients reasonably informed about the status of their matters as well as to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. Attorneys are to also explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit all clients to make informed decisions regarding [...]

How to Avoid Ever Thinking “Oh, I Shouldn’t Have Said That”

I recently asked several of our claims attorneys to identify the top habits they felt new lawyers should develop from day one. With one exception, the list they provided covered the habits I expected they would prioritize. And yet, the more I thought about that one exception, the more I realized how spot on they [...]

How Failing to Plan for One’s Retirement Can Become A De Facto Plan to Fail

In light of my 60th birthday celebration soon becoming a memory, my wife and I have been spending a fair amount of time of late reviewing our investments, finalizing our estate plan, and discussing various options should our life together ever take some unanticipated turns. We’re doing this because we recognize that a job loss, [...]

When Passwords Fail – A Personal Story

Sometimes married couples see things differently and the only way to resolve the tension is by finally deciding to agree to disagree. That’s how things played out in our home for a number of years on the issue of passwords. My wife viewed my focus on computer security and passwords as something approaching mild paranoia. [...]