California Bar Journal
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IMPORTANT NOTICE: This article is provided solely for research and archival purposes. MCLE self-study credit is no longer available. Even if you follow the instructions and submit payment you will not be granted MCLE self-study credit. Please note that low-cost MCLE is provided by the California Lawyers Association, pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 6056.


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Self-Assessment Test
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Answer the following questions after reading the MCLE article on fee agreements. Use the answer form provided to send the test, along with a $20 processing fee, to the State Bar. Please allow at least eight weeks for MCLE certificates to reach you in the mail.

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 fee contract.

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 matters.

15. It takes a long time to prepare a model fee agreement for a lawyer’s 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 wife’s 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.