Lawyers as a group are terrible when it comes to properly and thoroughly documenting their files! Of course, not you, but all the other lawyers out there sure are. You wouldn’t believe how bad it can get. I say this because with almost every claim handled we’re having to deal with the lack of documentation of something. This can be a serious problem because now we’re often forced to live with the reality that a word-against-word dispute between a lawyer and his or her client is in play and that rarely ends well for the lawyer. Here’s just one story that highlights the problem.
Over the years I have witnessed a few vigorous debates where the point of contention was over whether the practice of law is a business or a profession. I am sometimes taken aback by the positions some lawyers take.
There are those who really do find the notion of equating the practice of law in any way, shape, or form with the running of a business as an extremely offensive position. In the opposite corner stands the attorney who is in it solely for the money and views the very existence of our rules of professional conduct as a personal affront. Thus, the great debate.
An opportunity to sit on the board of a local nonprofit is finally on the table. Of course, if you accept, the board may ask you to do a little pro bono work from time to time; but hey, it feels like an offer that shouldn’t be turned down. But have you considered all the ethical minefields? We have.
There is no exception in the confidentiality rule that says an attorney needn’t worry about maintaining client confidences if an electronic document is in use. That means metadata. If you don’t know what it is, or you know what it is and having been paying attention to the documents you send, you better read this post.
From time to time I get involved in conversations with lawyers who have called in with a question or concern and as we talk through the situation it becomes clear that part of the problem is the lawyer doesn’t know who his client is. These are the times I find myself asking “How in the world does this happen?” It happens more often than you think!
Before purchasing any policy, make certain you understand what you will be getting for the money you’re about to spend. Sometimes significant price differences between two seemingly similar policies are due to policy differences that are not always readily apparent. Here are the key items you need to understand.
Occasionally a lawyer will ask if there really is a need to use a standardized form during the intake process. As is often the case with such questions, the answer is “it depends.” Client intake forms are important. Find out why.
It should come as no surprise that calendaring errors are behind a significant number of malpractice claims. Ask yourself the following question. If a flood or fire were to occur tonight that results in your office being totally destroyed, would you have a complete calendar available in the morning?
It’s the call that starts out with so and so company wants the lawyer to be their exclusive local point person and boy it seems like a great opportunity. I always ask the one question these lawyers never seem to think about and the question is this. Is there an indemnification provision in the contract?
This post is directed toward those of you who fail to accurately record your time on a consistent basis throughout the day, day after day. I know it can be a hassle but there are really good reasons why this should be a priority.