Ethics & Professional Responsibility

Firms often serve as escrow agent for clients, and sometimes the adversary as well — real estate closings, corporate transaction down payments, environmental clean-up and settlement agreements in litigation are just a few examples.  But is your firm protected?  Do you have a detailed escrow agreement that explicitly sets forth your obligations and spells out under what circumstances exactly you can disburse the funds and to whom?  If all you do is put the money…
Earlier this year, I wrote about the disappearing rural lawyer. In Illinois, more lawyers are hanging their law firm shingle in urban areas. This isn’t just an Illinois trend, it’s happening across the U.S. For instance, in Illinois, roughly 7,000 lawyers across 95 counties outside of Chicagoland serve 35% of the state’s population, or approximately 4.5 million people. This breaks down to a 1:700 lawyer-resident ratio. In The Disappearing Rural Lawyer part I, I…
Happy 2020! A new year and a new decade have arrived. Have you set any resolutions for the year ahead? If so, I have some bad news. Eighty percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. However, all hope isn’t lost. The success rate improves if you set small, realistic goals. Therefore, I’ve laid out three manageable goals for lawyers in 2020 that can improve your practice and the profession. Prioritize wellness First in my…
RSMD’s Jim Doppke will address the Chicago Bar Association Professional Responsibility Committee at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 16. He’ll discuss limited scope representation agreements, which the Illinois Supreme Court formally introduced as part of its 2013 amendment of Rule 13. But what’s the state of the law now? Jim will examine current views on the benefits and pitfalls of limited scope, and he’ll provide thoughts about best limited scope practices for 2020 and beyond.…
Warning: the underlying facts and procedural history are cringeworthy. This is the saga of a medical malpractice case which is dismissed, leading to a legal malpractice case, which is wrongfully dismissed, leading to an Appellate Division case which exposes all the flawed decision-making. Plaintiff died, allegedly of bedsore complications in a Jersey City nursing home in 2012. His daughter, as the representative of her father’s estate, retained defendant attorney to handle the medical malpractice case…