Fee Basics

by Keith A. Call
Turn to the “Attorney Discipline” section of this or almost any other issue of the Utah Bar Journal, and chances are high you will see one or more cases involving violations of Utah Rule of Professional Conduct 1.5, which deals with fees. In fact, ethical violations involving fee issues comprise a large percentage of complaints lodged with the Bar’s Office of Professional Conduct. See, e.g., Utah State Bar Office of Prof’l Conduct, 2011 Annual Report, available at http://www.utahbar.org/assets/ANNUAL Report2010-2011.pdf (last visited May 31, 2012). Based on my casual review of the “Attorney Discipline” section of recent issues of the Bar Journal, many lawyers seem to be getting into trouble for violating some simple fee basics. Here are some ideas to help keep you safe. (more…)

Helping Clients Talk

by Keith A. Call
Suppose you and your client believe an obstreperous opposing counsel is standing in the way of achieving a fair settlement. Your client tells you he wants to meet with the opposing party in a private client-to-client meeting, and he wants your guidance. What kind of advice can you ethically provide?
Rule 4.2(a) states, “[A] lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter.…” Utah R. Prof’l Conduct 4.2(a). Rule 8.4(a) deems it professional misconduct to attempt to violate the rules through the acts of another. See id. R. 8.4(a). On their face, these rules appear to be fairly restrictive on your ability to proceed. (more…)