June 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

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  • Must a lawyer tell opposing counsel that the lawyer’s client lied under oath in a deposition?  Under the Louisiana rules, even if opposing counsel elicited the client’s false testimony, the lawyer has an obligation to take reasonable remedial measures–including disclosure of the falsehood–when the client testifies falsely at a deposition.
  • I messed up and did not file the petition before my client’s case prescribed. Am I going to be disciplined? Probably not, but maybe.
  • I want to split fees with another lawyer on some cases. Can I do this? Yes, this plan is certainly workable. Remember that pure referrals are not allowed. Rather, a division of fees between lawyers who are not in the same firm may be made if the client agrees in writing and is advised in writing as to the share of the fee that each lawyer will receive, the total fee is reasonable, and each lawyer renders meaningful legal services. Moreover, a referring lawyer cannot share a legal fee if the lawyer has a conflict of interest that prohibits the lawyer from performing legal services in connection with the matter. 

Lawyers Behaving Badly

A lawyer may sign a colleague’s name on a legal pleading with the consent of the lawyer colleague. But, a lawyer who does so without the colleague’s knowledge or consent may face discipline.

Although Louisiana lawyers are not required to carry or to report malpractice insurance, it is readily available. Importantly, most malpractice insurance will cover the cost of defending disciplinary complaints. The Louisiana State Bar Association’s endorsed insurance program is administered by Gilsbar (incidentally, the name “Gilsbar” is an acronym that stands for Group Insurance Louisiana State BAR). For more information on this program, visit the LSBA webite. See LSBA-Endorsed Insurance.

Practice Tips

You are entitled to have an impartial and fair judge preside over your case, but how do you know when the circumstances make recusal or disqualification of the judge a possibility? Is it even possible to file a recusal motion without suffering some professional consequences? Yes, by keeping the motion and ensuing motion practice highly professional. Here are some suggestions.

My former client’s files are taking up a lot of space in my office. Can I get rid of them? Maybe, but it depends on hold old the files are. A good rule of thumb is to keep client files for five (5) years following termination of the matter, unless there is a good reason for maintaining the file for a longer period of time.

Worried? Wondering? Just Ask.

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