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Articles

I Received a Letter From the State Bar of Texas. What Do I Do Now?”

Receiving a letter from the State Bar of Texas notifying you that a grievance has been filed against you can be upsetting and daunting.  Consider the following as soon as you receive a letter from the State Bar, because you must respond within 30 days. 1. Read the letter, don’t Read the full post

Texas Ethics Opinion Allows Lawyers to Use Collection Agencies: Should You Use Them?

Ethics, Fees, Firm Management

A recent Texas ethics opinion addresses two issues concerning collection of unpaid fees from clients. In Opinion 652, the Professional Ethics Committee addresses whether a lawyer may use a collection agency to collect overdue fees, and whether nonpaying clients may be reported to a credit bureau. Prior opinions of the Read the full post

Texas Ethics Opinion 651: Email Links on Law Firm Websites

Conflicts, Ethics, Technology

The Professional Ethics Committee for the State Bar of Texas has issued an opinion regarding the confidentiality of emails sent by prospective clients. Opinion 651 is a critical opinion for lawyers and law firms which have websites. The opinion concludes that lawyers are not required to warn prospective clients who Read the full post

When (And How) Can You Destroy Client Files?

Firm Management

2013 Texas Ethics Opinion 627  indicates that lawyers can eventually dispose of client files, but provides no indication of what period of time constitutes a proper “passage of time.” The opinion is based on assumed facts that a law firm uses a 5 year retention period. Two recent opinions in other states Read the full post

Law Firm Dissolution: Ethics and Malpractice

Firm Management

When law firms dissolve, a host of issues must be addressed by firm members. Many of the issues are of a business nature. Who will satisfy lease, loan and other contractual obligations of the firm? How will tax returns, accounts receivables and other accounting issues be resolved? Where will mail Read the full post

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

Ethics

This article considers 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 outside Read the full post

Arbitration Clauses in Fee Agreements

Fees

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

Scheduling

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

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