f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

January 23, 2004

Do Law Clients Want Enthusiasm or Machismo?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:53 am

pirate  your kind of lawyer?

Evan Schaeffer at Notes from the (Legal) Underground shoots our Southwest-Airlines-as-law-firm metaphor out of the skies this morning (see yesterday’s post).  He doesn’t think law firm clients would be “accepting of the warm-and-fuzzy-advocate” suggested by the successful airline’s approach to doing business.  They would instead choose the air force image.   I’m not at all sure that clients would prefer military-style discipline, cost-overruns, and collateral damage over a firm that gets the job done economically but enthusiastically, with morale high and customer satisfaction the first priority. 

Of course, a lot depends on just what service the clients needs, and Evan might be right about many personal injury clients, who are his specialty.  I went to his law firm site to see what image Schaeffer & Lamere was projecting.  Instead of warrior soldier graphics, I found dignified sepia-tones and genteel images.  I guess Evan lets his Mars side show while weblogging and litigating.  

  • On a more serious note, I checked out Evan’s Personal Injury FAQ page and made a discovery that clients should not be at all happy about — although S&L “will not take your case unless we think it has a good chance of success,” it “typically” charges a 33.3% fee, with 40% taken for “more complex kinds of cases.”  The spoils of victory are indeed great for the swashbuckling esquire — and, when a standard contingency fee is used, not related to the risk incurred by the lawyers.  I wish all personal injury clients got to read this or this before signing their contingency fee agreements.  It may not be entertaining reading, but it is educational. 

MJP Reform: Bumpy Road or Fast Track?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 9:27 am

“x-skier” . . .

An article in the current issue of the ABA Journal takes a look at the inevitable, uneven and unpredictable state-by-state review that follows any major change in a Model Rule of legal ethics.  The ABA adopted New Model Rule 5.5  in 2002 in the hope that multijurisdictional practice would be easier to accomplish and would take place under more uniform rules across the nation.   (See our posting earlier this week, discussing rejection of changes to Rule 5.5 by the Connecticut Bar Association, which has links to ABA MJP resources.)

  • Because rules of professional conduct come under the authority of each licensing jurisdiction, Model Rules are only advisory, and each state must decide whether to ignore or adopt them — and/or adapt them to their own needs and internal pressures. 

The Journal article notes that “In the 17 months since the ABA amended the Model Rules to ease restrictions against multijurisdictional practice, six states—Colorado, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina and South Dakota—have enacted new rules that lower the barriers against temporary practice by out-of-state lawyers. . . . By late 2003, proposals to revise MJP rules were pending in at least 13 other jurisdictions.”

Nonetheless, Wayne J. Positan, the Roseland, N.J., lawyer who chaired the ABA Commission on Multijurisdictional Practice, “cautions that the entire review process could take up to 20 years.”  And:

An even greater concern for proponents of easing rules on multijurisdictional practice, however, is that the states will not agree on uniform rules, leaving a patchwork of regulations imposing varying requirements on lawyers who seek to practice temporarily in outside jurisdictions.

There are apparently no clear trends yet, but the article takes a look at many of the variations that have already cropped up.

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