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Ethical and Liability Considerations for Lawyers Acting as Fiduciaries in Estate, Trust and Probate Contexts


This article will consider the implications of the existence of lawyers’ fiduciary obligations arising outside of the attorney client role. First, the article will consider the application of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, the rules of ethics, to situations in which an attorney has fiduciary duties that arise Read the full post

Arbitration Clauses in Fee Agreements


Arbitration clauses in fee agreements have been used by many Texas lawyers.  This article will discuss the state of the law regarding the validity of such agreements, and will note some of the practical issues that should be considered before including such agreements in contracts with clients. The Law Texas Read the full post

What To Do If Something Goes Wrong

What to Do If Something Goes Wrong

When a lawyer makes a mistake or is accused of making one, the initial reactions can affect the lawyer’s ability to defend or resolve the claim.  Taking the wrong actions can compound expenses and liability; taking the right actions may avoid any payment whatsoever.  This article discusses considerations in deciding Read the full post

Time Management is Money: Beat the Clock & Save


One of the most frequent contributors to legal malpractice claims is rushed or forgotten work. A good scheduling system only goes so far toward minimizing time problems; you may end up just watching the deadlines pass if you don’t use your time effectively. Here are ten things you can do Read the full post

Scheduling Errors and Legal Malpractice


Scheduling errors are the root cause of many legal malpractice claims. It is common to think of scheduling errors as just missed deadlines, but such errors should also be thought of as failures to plan sufficient time to perform work. This article will look at the nature of scheduling errors Read the full post

The Relationship Between Legal Fees and Legal Malpractice


Fees have a complex relationship with legal malpractice. While definitive statistics regarding the impact of legal fees on legal malpractice are not available, TLIE has noted that fee issues often provoke or aggravate legal malpractice claims. Learning methods to avoid fee issues can have a significant impact on loss avoidance. Read the full post

Preventing Fee Problems: A Preventative Approach


Fee disputes with clients lead to a number of problems.  Legal malpractice claims are often filed when clients are dissatisfied with fees.  If a lawyer tries to collect fees from an unwilling client, the client will often counterclaim for malpractice.  Legal malpractice is a mandatory counterclaim in a fee suit. Read the full post

Marking Up: When Can You Do It, And How?


Texas Ethics Opinion No. 577, issued in March 2007 and published in the October 2007 Texas Bar Journal, addresses when and how a law firm can charge a client more for an attorney’s services than it pays the attorney.  The opinion notes that Texas Disciplinary Rule of Professional Conduct 1.04(f) Read the full post

The Importance of Fee Issues


Percentage of Americans who agree that lawyers are more interested in making money than in serving their clients: 69% Public Perception of Lawyers: Consumer Research Findings, Section of Litigation, American Bar Association 2002, p. 7, available online at http://www.abanet.org/litigation/lawyers/publicperceptions.pdf. THE IMPORTANCE OF FEE ISSUES Fee issues are commonly intertwined with legal Read the full post

Recent Texas Ethics Opinions On Contingent Fees, Non-Refundable Retainers


By Jett Hanna Two recent Texas Ethics Opinions from the Professional Ethics Committee for the State Bar of Texas may change how lawyers structure contingent fee agreements and non-refundable retainers. In Opinion 610, the opinion committee determined that it is unethical for lawyers to retain a security interest in a Read the full post