Training

Principles Of Professional Conduct – Competence

Principles Of Professional Conduct – Competence

The preamble of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct describes a lawyer and member of the legal profession as “. . . a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.” One primary principle of the Model Rules is that a lawyer must be competent as a representative of clients. In 2018, the California Supreme Court issued an order that approved 69 Rules of Professional Conduct for California attorneys, rejecting only one. These new rules became effective in November of 2018 and closely follow the ABA Model Rules of Professional...

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How Do I Know If I Should Take The Case?

How Do I Know If I Should Take The Case?

It really is no secret that the practice of law is highly competitive. There may be times when young lawyers and sole practitioners sit at their desks and wonder when a client will walk through the door. For attorneys, it is easy to find yourself taking every case that comes your way. However, in the long run, this may make your practice inefficient and unprofitable. As a young lawyer, how do you know if you should take a case? When attorneys accept a bad case from a client, several problems typically transpire. The matter causes the attorney to expend valuable resources...

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Motion Practice – Preliminary Considerations

Motion Practice – Preliminary Considerations

Attorneys file a vast number of motions over their careers. Motion practice is the most common courtroom experience in a legal services practice. The submission of a motion pre- or post-trial enables a party to approach a court directly and request it to perform some specific action, such as a ruling on a legal issue. Motions may be filed at any stage of a criminal, civil, or even an administrative proceeding, and they may request almost anything. At its most basic, a motion is a request for an order. Whether an extensive, detailed, voluminous motion for summary judgment or a paragraph-long...

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Writing An Engagement Agreement: Contingent Fees

Writing An Engagement Agreement: Non-Contingent Fees

Attorneys must meet all statutory requirements and rules of ethics when drafting attorney-client fee agreements. if an attorney fails to comply with any provision of the California statutes applicable to such agreements, the fee agreement becomes voidable at the client’s option and the attorney is only entitled to a reasonable fee. A fee agreement, including all attachments, is confidential and legally privileged. Typically, attorneys provide those legal services reasonably required to represent clients. They should take reasonable steps to keep clients informed of the progress of their matters, and to reasonably respond to their inquiries. If any court action is filed,...

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Writing An Engagement Agreement: Non-Contingent Fees

Writing An Engagement Agreement: Non-Contingent Fees

Attorney-client engagement agreements, the contract describing and governing the relationship whereby an attorney provides legal services to a client, should always be in writing. Attorneys in California are encouraged to draft their own agreements or modify existing samples provided their iterations do not conflict with California Business and Professions Code §§ 6146 et seq. or the Rules of Professional Conduct. Per the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, MR 1.5(b). fee arrangements should be communicated in writing unless the attorney regularly represents the particular client. The exception is court-appointed cases, where court rules and statutes will define the scope of the attorney’s...

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Knowing The Minority’s View

Knowing The Minority’s View

A minority or dissenting opinion is an opinion by one or more judges in a legal case who disagree, or dissent, with the decision reached by the majority. Any law student knows that a dissenting opinion creates no binding precedent as any applicable part of case law. Yet, it is not uncommon for judges to cite them as persuasive authority for an argument the holding of a court should be overturned or limited. John Patrick Dolan founded the California Desert Trial Academy College of Law (CDTA) based on the philosophy of not only teaching students the substantive law, but on training, educating,...

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The Importance Of Sharing Knowledge In Any Legal Context

The Importance Of Sharing Knowledge In Any Legal Context

The legal profession relies more than most upon efficient knowledge sharing – that is, the exchange of information, skills, or expertise between individuals. This is a logical occurrence since the profession and corresponding business model is built on the ability to retrieve precedents and other information. Attorneys rely on knowledge-sharing in the performance of every aspect of their job. Law students are in school to obtain as much information as possible, so seeking those who share knowledge is an elementary pursuit. The first time a legal intern is assigned by his or her summer boss to draft any pleading is usually a stressful matter. Then, at some point, the boss will refer the intern to a...

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Gaming And Education, Part Two

Gaming And Education, Part Two

The following are some benefits of combining the practice of video gaming with the educational process. *Attention and Memory Capacity There is an undeniable correlation between learning and memorization. Often, students feel overwhelmed during the conventional learning process simply because of the seeming abundance of information presented to them in many different subjects. A wonderful aspect of gaming is that it constantly places players in different circumstances with which they are comfortable and even familiar. This makes them alert and focused with little outside third-party effort, thus gradually improving their ability to pay attention and memorize information. Gamers who play educational video games...

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Gaming And Education, Part One

Gaming And Education, Part One

Games, especially video games, are more popular than ever. The advancement of technology and the state of cinematic state-of-the-art digitally generated graphics makes it difficult to tell some games from an actual film or video. Of course, many people think gamers spend an inordinate amount of time gaming and could better use this time for developing other skills to deal with everyday life. But that may be a very flawed characterization of games, since gaming may be a highly productive activity which tests and develops a substantial number of transferable skills and abilities. When you consider gaming’s capacity and power...

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The Perks Of A Student Mentor

The Perks Of A Student Mentor

For those who have already graduated from law school, imagine yourself on your first day of law school. Remember the nervousness, trepidation, and feeling of utter cluelessness. Then, imagine yourself in your last year of law school, cool, calm, ready to take on the world as an attorney-advocate. Well, almost. Imagine if, as a first-year law student, you had the older, more experienced you as a mentor to answer questions, clarify legal concepts, and just tell you where to get a good pizza in town. There are many perks of having a student mentor whose studies are advanced beyond yours. There...

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