December 2022: Worried or Wondering

You’ve been busy focusing on what matters most. We have been handling the rest. Here is a summary of some of the more interesting or frequently asked questions we received from you this month.

Legal Ethics

  • New Year, New You! Are you starting 2023 off by switching to a new law firm? Here are a few tips to ensure that you handle the transition smoothly.
  • The Louisiana legislature passed a new statute related to collecting damages in legal malpractice cases. Read up on the development here.
  • The lawyer-client privilege is one of the oldest and most important privileges of confidential communications in our judicial system. Does the presence of a third party waive the lawyer-client privilege? Maybe, but it just depends.
  • We get multiple questions every day regarding the application of the lawyer advertising rules to Louisiana lawyers. Here are the top ten most FAQ on lawyer advertising.
  • All blog posts on the Louisiana Legal Ethics website are now organized into a Post Index to help you quickly locate posts on topics you are interested in.

Lawyers Behaving Badly

  • While the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Office of Disciplinary Counsel has always kept busy, the types of complaints it focuses on does change. Of course, there is a steady stream of complaints from unhappy clients who are unsatisfied with the progress of their cases or who are disappointed with results. But what else is going on at ODC? Here are a few observations…
  • No lawyer wants to receive an envelope from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel containing a complaint. Although the Office dismisses approximately 80% of the complaints it receives, the anguish associated with being accused of misconduct and the time lost gathering old file materials, preparing a written response and submitting to a sworn statement are bruises that remain even after a dismissal. What can you do to avoid the complaint in the first place? Well, you can start by following your mother’s good advice not to lie, cheat or steal. Unfortunately though, that’s just not enough in today’s more complicated regulatory environment. You need to do more, and that more is this.
  • These lawyers were the subject of Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary orders or Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board recommendations published during the month of December 2022.

Best Practices

  • Although the rules of professional conduct do not always require it, see Rule 1.5, you should require every prospective client to sign an engagement agreement before you commence the representation. If you do, and you should, then include these five essential engagement agreement terms.
  • Entering into a joint venture with an out of state law firm? Here are a few tips to ensure you structure the agreement properly.
  • CNA, the leading malpractice insurer for Louisiana lawyers, distributed to its insureds helpful advice as to how they should handle client trust and IOLTA accounts. Read CNA’s advice here.

Worried? Wondering? Just Ask.

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