Author: cdtalaw

About IOLTA Accounts

About IOLTA Accounts

A strange acronym with which every attorney who starts his or her practice becomes familiar is IOLTA. This stands for Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts. And this interest raises money to provide civil legal services to indigent individuals. Any lawyer who handles client funds that are too small in amount or held too briefly to earn interest for the client must participate in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts program. Such IOLTA accounts may only be kept at approved financial institutions. Attorneys routinely receive client funds that must be held in trust for future use. If there is a large sum of...

Continue reading

Some Ethical Considerations Of Billing

Some Ethical Considerations Of Billing

A law practice's method of billing may directly impact the financial viability of the practice and is an important component of an individual lawyer's ethical and professional obligations. Most states grant lawyers a large degree of discretion to develop billing practices that are suitable to the law practice and beneficial to the client. However, the billing practices of a law firm are not solely important because of the necessity to ensure the firm’s financial stability, but because attorneys have an ethical duty to engage in proper billing practices. A primary focus of attorneys throughout their practice is the collection of outstanding fees....

Continue reading

Law Practice and Marketing

Law Practice and Marketing

Law firms vary by practice area, location, client-type, experience, and many other facets. Each additional factor causes the marketing requirements of each business enterprise that much more distinctive and unique. While they all share the reality of operating in an overly competitive legal industry, they must find their niche within this industry, then develop and sustain this niche over time. The law is extraordinarily varied and offers law students and established attorneys a wide menu of specialties from which to choose.  These choices may become narrower based on geographic location and client-type. It is important and rewarding to know that none...

Continue reading

Identify Your Time Thieves

Identify Your Time Thieves

While time efficiency is a daunting subject to any person, it is especially intimidating to law students. At the undergraduate level, time efficiency was less important as it related to making it to class and completing each assignment. Students improvised, adapted, and muddled through. For law students, it is important to identify those habits, tendencies, inclinations, and - whatever else you want to call them - that expend, exhaust, waste, and - whatever else you want to call it - our precious time. The idea is to identify those things that take, like thieves, our valuable time that may never be...

Continue reading

Solo Practitioners And Personal Commitment

Solo Practitioners And Personal Commitment

The benefits of working for yourself often seem distant when working during the 11th hour trying to finish a motion. However, this situation would certainly still occur even if you were working at a firm. Practicing law on any scale often requires hard work after hours seven days a week. For solo practitioners wishing to achieve success, the practice of law involves a deep, personal commitment that will be time-consuming beyond anything else in the practitioner’s life. At least, for some period of years. Any graduating law student considering a solo practice should address and answer the following questions to get...

Continue reading

Adapting To The September 2020 California Bar Exam

Adapting To The September 2020 California Bar Exam

The California Bar Exam has been postponed to September 9th and 10th, 2020. This will result in a delay from the test’s normal administration at the end of July. This allows graduates and other exam-takers to have more time to prepare for the exam. So how should you use it? These dates mean a relatively short six- or seven-week delay for law students, allowing them to study over the summer. These dates also allow test-takers to take the test before starting their jobs in the fall. In 2019, 7,664 took the California Bar Exam, of which 4,938 (63.6%) were first-time applicants. First...

Continue reading

Attorney-Client Privilege And Client Confidentiality

Attorney-Client Privilege And Client Confidentiality

As law students prepare for graduation, certain questions that relate to legal ethics and professional responsibility become more prevalent in their minds. These practical considerations are of equal importance to any other aspect of a law firm’s practice. Like substantive legal rules, they require the strict adherence of all licensed attorneys. An important question relates to protecting client confidentiality. After all, most attorneys like to talk. On one hand, there is the attorney-client privilege which, of course, contains a facet of confidentiality. This is what law students learn about in professional responsibility class as they study the ethical rules, including RC...

Continue reading

When A Lawyer Is Representing A Corporation, Who Exactly Is The Client?

When A Lawyer Is Representing A Corporation, Who Exactly Is The Client?

A recurring question for lawyers who represent corporations and other entities is who exactly is the attorney representing? What is the scope of the attorney’s clientele in this situation? Does the attorney also represent others? Does the attorney represent shareholders? Affiliate and subsidiary corporations? Officers? Directors? In California, Rule of Professional Conduct 1.13 “Organization as Client” answers this question. A lawyer employed or retained by an organization represents the organization through its duly authorized constituents. A lawyer must conform his or her representation to the concept that the client is the organization itself, acting through its duly authorized directors, officers, employees, members,...

Continue reading

Memorization Techniques For Applied Knowledge

Memorization Techniques For Applied Knowledge

The California Desert Trial Academy is a progressive law school where students focus on those skills necessary to become not just a lawyer, but an attorney-advocate. Learning the skills to be an advocate gives students an expedient path to a successful and rewarding legal career. With certain memorization techniques in your toolbox, there are ways to use this knowledge to build connections between concepts and push your understanding of the material to a new level. Here are two memorization techniques for applied knowledge: *Explain what you’re trying to learn to someone else An excellent way to test your understanding of a concept in...

Continue reading

Fixed Legal Fees And Making A Profit

Fixed Legal Fees And Making A Profit

Of course, like any other business that charges some cost for its services, fees are the lifeblood of a law practice. Legal fees depend on several variables: the time necessary to remedy the problem; the lawyer's ability, experience, and reputation; the novelty and difficulty of the case; the results; and associated costs. A lawyer's overhead expenses such as rent, utilities, office equipment, computers, also affect the fee charged. Profit is a lawyer’s income. In the case of a law practice, it is what remains after paying the aforementioned overhead costs of the practice. Research indicates that attorneys may expect to keep...

Continue reading