1. Attorneys fee agreements
should be limited solely to issues about compensation and recoverable costs.
2. Prior to
the commencement of the attorney-client relationship, a lawyer must treat the client with
fairness in negotiating the terms and conditions of future employment.
3. After the commencement of the attorney-client relationship, the attorney owes the
client fiduciary duties of the highest character.
4. Except for ensuring that a fee agreement complies with the law, a lawyer has no duty
to update his or her fee agreement.
5. Generally, representation of multiple parties in the same case does not involve any
potential conflicts of interest.
6. When representing a corporation and its officers in the same matter, it is important
to comply with rule 3-600, Rules of Professional Conduct.
7. It is important to discuss the confidentiality implications of representation of a
trustee in his or her individual capacity.
8. A lawyer is not required to set forth the scope of legal services in a contingency
9. A lawyer is not required to set forth the scope of legal services in an hourly rate
contract to an individual client in which it is presumed that the services will cost in
excess of $1,000.
10. Civil law suggests that lawyers must also advise their clients what related
services they will not be performing.
11. A contingency fee contract is required by law to set forth the responsibilities of
both lawyer and client respecting performance of the contract.
12. A lawyer cannot represent a partnership in formation.
13. From a risk management standpoint, it is important to set forth a provision in the
fee agreement that the lawyer will not be providing tax advice in virtually all litigation
and transactional matters, unless the lawyer intends to handle such matters as a courtesy
to the client.
14. The same model fee agreement should work for all practices, all clients and for all
15. It takes a long time to prepare a model fee agreement for a lawyers
particular practice because the lawyer is required to create ab initio all necessary
clauses relevant to his or her practice.
16. Defining who is the client is unnecessary and spelling it out in a fee agreement is
demeaning to the client.
17. Lawyers cannot limit the scope of their representation under law.
18. When a husband and wife consult with a lawyer regarding the wifes personal
injuries, the lawyer has duties only to the wife who becomes the client.
19. If a group of homeowners consults with a lawyer, the lawyer automatically
represents the homeowners individually.
20. A lawyer who represents solely a limited partnership may have civil duties to the
limited partners who the lawyer thinks are not his clients.