October 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

  • Once a case settles, must a Louisiana lawyer pay outstanding invoices to third-party medical providers who provided care to the lawyer’s client? It depends, but most likely yes. The lawyer will have an obligation to satisfy the medical providers invoices if the lawyer has actual knowledge of the “third persons interest” as defined in Rule 1.15. Note that the Louisiana Supreme Court recently amended Rule 1.15. The amendments become effective on December 1, 2022.
  • We routinely represent petitioners seeking admission to the Louisiana Bar after the Committee on Bar Admissions declines to certify the applicant for admissions. Often, the reasons for the COBA’s denial center on the applicant’s lack of candor to the law school or the NCBE about prior arrests or outstanding financial obligations. Here are some tips for avoiding lies and omissions on your law school application.
  • What information must Louisiana lawyers include on their lawyer advertisements? Unless the ad is exempt from the LSBA filing and review process, Louisiana lawyers must include the full name of the lawyer responsible for the consent, an office location, and a LSBA filing number.
  • We frequently see lawyers fighting with other lawyers over legal fees. This is especially true when the initially retained lawyer perceives that they contributed significant time and value to the case before the successor lawyer took over and settled the matter. There are several options available to resolve these types of fee disputes. The lawyers can attempt an informal resolution or submit to the LSBA Fee Dispute Resolution. We also see lawyers elect to intervene in the underlying litigation or initiate a lawsuit against the successor lawyer.
  • 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

  • These lawyers were the subject of Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary orders or Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board recommendations published during the month of October 2022.

Best Practices

  • The options are almost endless when it comes to drafting clauses to include in a lawyer-client engagement agreement. Here are our suggestions on the five essential terms for a lawyer-client engagement agreement.
  • The rules governing lawyer advertising in Louisiana are complex and difficult to navigate. Under the rules, the LSBA must evaluate all non-exempt advertisements, but this process can take up to a month. If a Louisiana lawyer wants to begin running their advertisement at the same time they submit the ad to the LSBA, the best practice is to either spend some time learning and studying the Rules of Professional Conduct or retain an ethics lawyer to review the ad for compliance.
  • Your representation is over. Whether it ended through completion of the underlying matter or through your termination by the client, you must surrender to your client (or former client) the client file upon request. Here are some tips on making sure you comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct when producing the client file.

Worried? Wondering? Just Ask.

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