A vast majority of professional malpractice matters arise from an alleged conflict of interest. Legal malpractice claims, for example, most frequently involve conflicts of interest; a whopping 46% according to a recent study. Perhaps this is no surprise. According to one scholar, the “exercise of his independent professional judgment” goes to the “heart of the skills” which a professional offers to his client. Thus, lawsuits typically follow in the event of a breach – or perceived breach – of that independence. Of course, …Continue Reading
NY Attorney’s Attempt to Recover Legal Fees Backfires
Let it be said: we don’t work for free. The business of law, like any profession, is based on a simple formula: quality work + results = payment. Sometimes obtaining payment can be the most difficult piece of the equation. When a fee dispute does arise, an attorney may be required to strike a balance between demanding full compensation and maintaining a productive and ongoing relationship with the client.
We’ve previously warned of the risks of engaging in collection proceedings against former clients. However, that …Continue Reading
Secret Video Exposes Expert Witness to Criminal Proceedings
A New York state judge recently provided a compelling reminder of the serious ramifications for failing to provide truthful testimony on the stand. The focus of Queens Supreme Court Justice Duane Hart’s admonition was an orthopedist routinely hired to assist in the defense of personal injury cases. When the court discovered through a hidden camera recording that the expert’s testimony was exaggerated at best – or an outright lie at worst – the court ordered a mistrial and directed his attention to potential criminal …Continue Reading
Alleged Conflict of Interest Leads to Malpractice Suit
A prestigious and well regarded Philadelphia based law firm was recently named in a multi-million dollar malpractice lawsuit arising from an alleged conflict of interest. The plaintiff alleges that the firm’s relationship with her ex-husband’s employer resulted in a less than favorable outcome in her divorce proceedings. In 2009, the plaintiff wife retained the law firm’s matrimonial group to represent her in divorcing her husband who held a high position at Morgan Stanley. While the divorce case was proceeding, the law firm was retained …Continue Reading
Recent Decision: It’s Okay to Reach Your Next Client Via Text?
Marketing is a must for all professionals. The quality of a professional’s skills may be wasted unless marketed to, and utilized by, would-be clients. Thus, professionals strive for efficiency in targeting an audience but those efforts are tempered by ethical considerations in advertising. However, solicitation just got considerably easier for attorneys in Ohio who may now reach potential clients via text.
It was not so long ago that most forms of attorney advertising were prohibited by every bar in the country. Pursuant to the …Continue Reading
What’s the Going Rate to Buy a Witness? About $10,000 an Hour…
Parties are free to pay fact witnesses exorbitant fees, according to New York’s highest court, so long as the jury is alerted to the potential for bias. In a recent decision before the New York Appellate Division, an orthopedic surgeon received $10,000 to testify against a woman he treated after she allegedly fell while walking her dog in Peekskill, New York. Notably, the surgeon did not provide expert advice, rather he received the hefty sum to merely recount for the jury his conversations …Continue Reading
When Professional Misconduct = Unfair Trade Practices
The California Court of Appeals recently concluded that an attorney’s professional malpractice and ethical violations may give rise to liability for unfair trade practices. In the underlying dispute, attorney Martin Guajardo, the sole shareholder in his own law firm, sold his practice because he faced disciplinary action brought by the state bar. Although Attorney Guajardo ultimately resigned from the bar, he continued to practice law following the sale of his firm. The People of the State of California filed a complaint against Guajardo, …Continue Reading
A Lesson in Ethical Attorney Billing
A lawyer stands at the gates of heaven and pleads his case to St. Peter. “I’m much too young to die. I’m only 48.” St. Peter responds, raising an eyebrow: “Forty-eight? Not according to your time sheets.”
Unfortunately, some attorneys give the rest of the profession a bad name for abusing the billable hour system. Take for example the sole practitioner in Massachusetts, Attorney Derek Beaulieu, who was recently suspended from the bar for four years for having billed more than 3600 hours annually to …Continue Reading