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Ethics Issues

DLAPiper’s $200k Cover Charge Part II: Ethics Issues

February 8, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

This morning, I posted about DLAPiper’s $200k minimum annual billing cover charge for clients. But after a couple of conversations, I’ve gotten to wondering how DLAPiper can enforce this minimum charge without running afoul of ethics requirements. For example, what happens if DLAPiper estimates that defending Company X in a major lawsuit will cost $250,000, […]

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Don’t Lose Your Reputation When Leaving A Law Firm

May 14, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

(Note: Originally published online at Complete Lawyer, July 2008) Most law students and lawyers know quite a bit about finding a job—how to write a compelling cover letter and an attention-grabbing resume, how to navigate tricky interview questions and how to make contacts who can help with the job search. With all the time we […]

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Ghostbusting in the Blogosphere: Is Ghostblogging Unethical & What’s the Best Way to Deal With It?

February 1, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

Back in 2004, now my departed-from-the-blogosphere friend David Giacalone predicted that Ghostblogging Will Kill the Blogosphere.  In a thoughtful post that considered the issue from all sides, David criticized the ethics of ghost blogging and lamented that that mass produced, ghostblogs would be “devoid of the spark of life that has put magic into this way […]

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Is Biglaw Planning on Changing the Rules of The Game?

January 27, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

Boo-hoo for biglaw.  Unable to cope with the economic downturn, biglaw may now try to change the rules of the game. Over at Ideoblog, Professor Larry Ribstein faults ethics rules such as the prohibition on non-compete agreements and non-lawyer investment in law firms and conflicts of interest requirements.  For example, Ribstein says that because firms […]

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Lessons for Solos from Dreier LLP: If It Sounds Too Good To Be True…

December 14, 2008 by Carolyn Elefant

With the law firm of Dreier LLP on the brink of collapse as the result of founder and sole equity partner Marc Dreier’s multi-million dollar criminal fraud, the firm’s lawyers are learning first hand that if  a work situation sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.  Not only will many Dreier lawyers […]

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An Interesting Technique for Getting Legal Fees Paid: Shouldn’t Lawyers Be Better Than Mobsters?

December 7, 2008 by Carolyn Elefant

Peter Olson’s Solo in Chicago is another one of those great, unsung blogs that’s been running for years, seamlessly marrying tips on starting a practice with Olson’s own experiences.  A few days ago, Olson posted a link to an article by legal consutant Ellen Freedman from the ISBA journal (not publicly available) entitled Don’t be […]

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Talk About Hypocrisy: Doesn’t the Bar Have Anything Better To Do Than Go After a $35/Hr. Contract Attorney?

December 22, 2007 by Carolyn Elefant

With billing fraud rampant at major law firms, guess who the Illinois disciplinary committee decided to prosecute? Was it the the partners at a Chicago office of a national firm, whose own colleague shined a light on overbilling? Nah – that’s too large a target. Why not go after the smallest possible potato instead – […]

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I Hope That This Hillman Article on Client Choice Isn’t Intended to Create More Hurdles for Shinglers-to-Be

December 16, 2007 by Carolyn Elefant

Under legal ethics principles, a clients’ right to the attorney of their choosing trumps even the economic interest of the firm representing the client. For that reason, firms cannot force lawyers to enter into non-compete agreements or impose onerous restrictions that would prevent a client from following a departing attorney to another firm or to […]

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$42 Million Fee – Inherently Unreasonable? That Depends, But Here, It Was

November 30, 2007 by Carolyn Elefant

Over at Legal Blog Watch, I’ve posted my view on the $42 million fee collected by a law firm in a multi-million dollar estate matter. Basically, the lawyers originally had a fee agreement with the client; when she found her legal fees mounting (to the tune of $1 million per quarter), she asked her lawyers […]

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You know what…this judge WAS a few fries shy of a Happy Meal

May 31, 2007 by Carolyn Elefant

Ever since I’ve started my site, I’ve blogged about situations where, in my view, judges have gone way over the line in sanctioning attorneys for conduct, such as sending a lawyer to jail for refusing to apologize or showing up late for a hearing. But typically, these sanctions have issued against solo and small firm […]

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