Failing to screen clients properly can carry a high penalty.
Any economic downturn is keenly felt by lawyers and law firms, just as it is by other segments of society. Factors that put a law firm's profitability and its attorneys' earnings at risk, such as economic turbulence or losing a major client to another firm, motivate lawyers to try to insulate their practices from mercurial shifts that may hurt their bottom line.
Serious problems can arise, however, if a firm reacts precipitously when its client base and/or revenues begin to level off or even decline. A firm may move into a new practice area without the proper legal foundation; it may keep existing clients when prudence and objectivity counsel withdrawing from the representation; or it may become less discriminating in accepting clients who approach the firm with problems within the firm's expertise.
Although pressure to maintain profitability can mount, failure to screen clients properly can carry a high penalty. Failing to maintain rigorous standards for client selection can jeopardize your professional license and reputation, can increase stress and decrease firm morale and, ultimately, can hurt your firm financially. This insightful, practical program will show you how to avoid crossing the ethical line when deciding whether to represent a particular client or whether to sever a relationship with an existing client. Topics include:
Representing clients with issues that are not within the firm's expertise
Distinguishing a conflict from permissible representation under ethics rules
What constitutes informed consent by a client who waives a conflict of interest
Prohibited or regulated transactions between lawyers and clients
How to avoid getting ensnarled in a client's illegal or unethical activities
The six practical rules of client selection
When withdrawal from representation is the prudent course
From the highly popular ALI-ABA telephone seminar originally broadcast on November 13, 2007, this encore replay featuresan update and live Q&A with the faculty for which you can submit your questions in advance and/or during the program.
Devarieste Curry is a partner at McLeod, Watkinson & Miller in Washington, D.C. Ms. Curry has over 20 years of experience counseling and representing corporate, non-profit, and invidial clients in employment and commercial matters and handling complex, multi-party commercial litigation in federal and state courts. Her non-profit and corporate practice includes drafting and negotiating a broad range of commercial contracts, as well as counseling clients on governance, ethical, contractual, and employment law issues. Ms. Curry is currently a member of the Legal Ethics Committee of the District of Columbia Bar, where she previously served as Chair of the Practice Management Service Committee and member of the Disciplinary System Study Committee and Judicial Evaluation Committee.
Paul A. Renne is general counsel at the firm of Cooley Godward Kronish LLP in San Francisco, and senior counsel to the firm's litigation department. Mr. Renne’s practice is primarily related to litigating complex business disputes, with special emphasis on securities litigation, accountants' malpractice, trade secrets and intellectual property matters. He has tried in excess of 100 jury trials. Mr. Renne is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, serving as State Chair for Northern California. He is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and currently a member of the Executive Commitee of the California State Bar Litigation Section.
Total 60-minute hours of instruction: 1.75; Total 50-minute hours: 2.1
Virtually all ALI CLE programs receive credit in AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, ME, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, PR, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VI, VT, WA, WI, WV and WY. Upon request, ALI CLE will apply for credit in ID, LA, and RI.
For more information about CLE or CPE credit, email TeamMCLE@ali-cle.org or call 1-800-CLE-NEWS (253-6397).
State (General / Ethics) Expiration Date (if applicable)
Several jurisdictions limit the number of credits to be taken via on-demand. Please check with your state regulator for possible limits in your jurisdiction.
AL (0 / 1)
AZ (0 / 1)
CA (0 / 1)
CO (0 / 2) 11/19/2010
DE (0 / 1)
ID (0 / 1)
IL (0 / 1) 11/19/2010
MO (0 / 2)
MT (0 / 1)
NC (0 / 1) 12/31/2010
ND (0 / 1)
NH (0 / 1) 6/30/2011
NM (0 / 1)
NY (0 / 2) 11/19/2010
OK (0 / 2)
OR (0 / 1)
PA (0 / 1)
RI (0 / 2)
SC (0 / 1)
VT (0 / 1)
WA (0 / 1) 11/19/2013
WV (0 / 2)
WY (0 / 1)
The Table of Contents for this coursebook can be found below. For further information about the program, please use the links on the lefthand side under "Course Details".