CDTA

Legal Malpractice Traps, Part Two

Legal Malpractice Traps, Part Two

The following are some common malpractice traps that most attorneys may avoid if they exercise due care and consideration. Ignorance of insurance coverage While attorneys are charged with a duty to advise their clients on the insurance coverage potentially available in a matter, many fail to request and review their client’s insurance policies to conduct a complete coverage analysis. Most attorneys ignore coverage issues assuming that if the insurance carrier accepts the duty to defend, the carrier will retain other counsel to defend the client. If an attorney fails to review an insurance policy and the client expends substantial sums of attorney’s...

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Legal Malpractice Traps, Part One

Legal Malpractice Traps, Part One

We all make mistakes. Even attorneys. Even the best attorneys. Fortunately, most mistakes do not rise to the level of legal malpractice. But there are other problematic attorney practices and habits that often lead to malpractice grievances and claims. The following are some common malpractice traps that most attorneys may avoid if they take the simple, requisite consideration. Poor communication with clients This is the biggest complaint that disgruntled clients typically state when deposed as a plaintiff in a legal malpractice claim. Attorneys must frequently communicate with and provide regular updates to clients personally and not through staff or junior associates. Attorneys...

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Principles Of Professional Conduct – Relationships with Clients

Principles Of Professional Conduct – Relationships with Clients

While lawmakers and courts have ruled that sex with a client during the course of a professional relationship is unethical, many lawyers have continued the practice resulting in state bars frequently taking disciplinary measures against lawyers who engage in sexual relations with clients. Many attorneys believe that what happens between two consenting adults is no business of the State Bar or anyone else. Prior to the 2018 changes to the California Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers in California were banned from engaging in a sexual relationship with a client only if it was an exchange for representation or if it involved...

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Writing Your Office Manual As A Sole Practitioner

Writing Your Office Manual As A Sole Practitioner

For sole practitioners, preparing and maintaining a manual of office policies and procedures is an essential part of any law practice. While it may not be the most compelling literary exercise, the alternative is unthinkable. Anything but a well-drafted manual makes a law firm susceptible to all types of legal claims while providing little guidance to employees regarding their important work-related responsibilities. Taking all the requisite time to formulate and draft an effective office policies and procedures manual avoids countless future misunderstandings, disagreements, and failures. Law firms that have a clear, comprehensive manual will create and facilitate the reliability of employees...

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Utilizing Support Personnel: The Interpreter

Utilizing Support Personnel: The Interpreter

Legal support workers assist lawyers in the many tasks that sustain the functioning of a law firm. There are also many “support” workers such as court reporters and interpreters that are typically independent contractors who assist lawyers as well. While court reporters are exclusively found in courtrooms and deposition rooms, interpreters are common in legal, medical, and immigration settings. However, interpreters who work in a legal context are set apart because of strict ethical and professional standards. Legal interpretation is divided into two main categories, judicial (court interpreting) and quasi-judicial (interpreting in other legal settings). Judiciary interpreters work in courtrooms and...

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Lawyers As Caregivers: Ensuring Client Satisfaction

Lawyers As Caregivers: Ensuring Client Satisfaction

Lawyers are hired to perform services for clients. Whether these services involve drafting a will, negotiating a contract, or providing representation in a criminal defense or personal injury matter, attorneys must do more than perform the task at hand, they must satisfy clients. Most clients perceive hiring an attorney as an act that has serious ramifications, thus requiring attorneys to possess skills that nurture clients over the course of, and often after, an attorney’s representation. Most people do not look forward to an office visit with an attorney. It is perceived as an experience that requires considerable valuable resources such as...

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The CDTA: Pushing Forward In 2020

The CDTA: Pushing Forward In 2020

The Fall of 2020 is here and the semester’s abrupt transition to distance learning is in full swing. Faculty and students are taking full advantage of the California Desert Trial Academy College of Law’s (CDTA) online learning platform, now in its ninth year of operation. Everyone at the CDTA has united to overcome the universal challenges that arise as a result of a forced emphasis on the virtual classroom. As a result, the CDTA is pushing successfully forward in 2020 as we approach our tenth anniversary. There are many students with limited access to online learning tools because the educational institution they...

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Time Management And Online Learning – Multitasking Should Be Avoided

Time Management And Online Learning – Multitasking Should Be Avoided

Many people believe that to be effective in their jobs, which includes managing time and using it efficiently, they must multitask. Since their time is so precious, students tend to cherish the ability to accomplish as much work as possible at any given time. With the new adventure of online learning currently unfolding, it is certainly a temptation for students at home to multitask to take full advantage of the situation. However, some believe that a key to online learning and managing time is the opposite approach and that multitasking should be avoided. The ability to multitask is considered a skill...

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Time Management And Online Learning – The Virtual Work Space

Time Management And Online Learning - The Virtual Work Space

Students forced to learn from home must make the most of their situation. A great place to start is the selection, organization, and maintenance of the location to be a student’s virtual workspace or office. While a virtual workspace permits students a great deal of freedom and flexibility in how and when they learn, a virtual workspace may be less efficient without the correct tools, resources, and protocols in place to achieve maximum success. A valuable, if not necessary, skill for students, especially online students, is effective time management. The better that time is managed, the more time that is available...

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Avoiding Malpractice: Office Staff Must Comply With The Ethical Rules

Avoiding Malpractice: Office Staff Must Comply With The Ethical Rules

In the last two decades, there has been a growing increase in legal malpractice cases directly attributed to errors made by support staff. Of course, poor relationships with clients are a contributing factor to legal malpractice actions. Support staff may also affect these interactions and must always be careful to observe the ethical rules. Even if a malpractice claim fails, the litigation of the malpractice matter itself causes an attorney and his or her staff to expend a substantial number of billable hours. Malpractice claims typically create stress, anxiety, distraction, and an uncomfortable work environment. An attorney’s support staff member is susceptible...

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