1. When a client instructs successor counsel not to disclose a settlement to a prior counsel with a valid lien, successor counsel must advise the client of the adverse ramifications of concealing the settlement, including a potential claim by prior counsel against the client.Â Should the client persist, successor counsel must nevertheless disclose the settlement to prior counsel.Â
2. A lawyer may not reveal confidential client information except with the consent of the client or as authorized or required by the State Bar Act, the Rules of Professional Conduct, or other law.Â Disclosure is required by law to fulfill the attorney's fiduciary duties to prior counsel.Â Disclosure is also authorized by law to enable both attorneys to protect their right to recover fees.
3.While the successor attorney is both obligated and permitted to disclose the fact and the amount of the settlement to the prior attorney, successor counsel may not disclose anything more to the prior attorney, without the client's consent, including the client's demand that the fact and the amount of the settlement be concealed from the prior attorney.
4. Once prior counsel is notified, both attorneys must remain mindful of their duty of confidentiality to the client in attempting to reach an accord, amicably or through legal process, on the proper allocation of fees.Â Moreover, should the attorneys resort to legal process to resolve any dispute over allocation of the fee, successor counsel should provide the client with notice and an opportunity to participate.Â In any legal proceeding, the presiding officer will be in a position to limit the disclosure of confidential information appropriately.
1. May an attorney ethically accept payment of earned fees from a client by credit card?
2. May an attorney ethically accept payment of fees not yet earned from a client by credit card?
3. May an attorney ethically accept payment of advances for costs and expenses from a client by credit card?
Funds withdrawn from a client trust account.
Contingency fee agreements containing an attorney's charging lien.
1. Does an attorney commit an ethical violation merely by obtaining or using overdraft protection on a Client Trust Account?
2. What are an attorney's ethical obligations when a check is issued against a Client Trust Account with insufficient funds to cover the amount of the check?
3. Must an attorney immediately withdraw earned fees once funds deposited into a Client Trust Account have become fixed in order to comply with the attorney's ethical obligations?
1. What ethical constraints govern an attorney whose client has conferred upon her authority to settle, without instituting litigation, claims of the client for specific percentages of the amounts claimed, when the client has disappeared?
2. What ethical constraints govern the attorney's right to collect legal fees fro; m settlement proceeds when communication with the client is not possible?
Is it ethically permissible for a lawyer to: (1) to tell a potential client of the possibility of financing the legal representation by taking out a mortgage loan on the client's real property and (2) to refer the client to an independent broker who might arrange the financing, where the resulting loan funds are placed in an escrow account which is not controlled by the lawyer and from which the funds are disbursed to the lawyer for fees and costs for work performed on behalf of the client?
Do the California Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit a member from contracting with the client that the right to recover attorney's fees pursuant to civil rights statutes belongs to the attorney and may not be waived by the client?
1. Under a contingency fee contract, where there is no specific provision governing when and how attorneys' fees shall be paid in the event of a structured settlement, to what extent is an attorney permitted to receive attorneys' fees from the initial down payment?
2. May an attorney contract with a client that in the event of a structured settlement, the attorney shall receive the entire amount of attorneys' fees from the initial settlement down payment? In the event of such an agreement, what limits, if any, can an attorney place on acceptance of an offer of settlement from the opposing party?
In representing a plaintiff in a federal civil rights action or similar "private attorney general" actions, is an attorney obligated to inform the client that statutory attorney's fees are the client's property which the client may waive as a condition of settlement?
Where an attorney has agreed to participate in a lawyer referral service under a written contract which obligates the attorney to return to the service ten percent of all fees collected over $300 minimum, may the attorney ethically raise fees to "cover" the percentage paid to the service?
May an attorney send letters to nonclients detailing fees and costs for "routine" legal services and specifying qualifications of firm members?
May an attorney ethically take promissory notes or liens as security for fees?
What are the ethical considerations involved in an attorney's participation in a service exchange in which a percentage of the legal fees earned are paid to the exchange?
Ethical considerations involved in the division of fees pursuant to separation and retirement agreements.It is proper for an attorney to delay a divorce action until his or her fees are paid?
Is it proper for a member of the State Bar to become an affiliate member of a board of realtors?