August 17, 2017

Alternative Lawyer Relationships: Ethical Implications of Contract Lawyering

DavidCLittleOutsourced legal work and contract lawyers are becoming more prevalent. There are many reasons to outsource legal services or hire contract lawyers. David C. Little of Montgomery Little & Soren, PC, in Chapter 3, “Alternative Lawyer Relationships,” of Lawyers’ Professional Liability in Colorado – Preventing Legal Malpractice and Disciplinary Actions, proposes four hypothetical scenarios:

  1. A lawyer is not comfortable drafting a special needs trust to settle a minor client’s personal injury claim and seeks assistance from another lawyer (a specialist experienced in the intricacies of such arrangements) to create the trust.
  2. The general counsel of a business corporation being sued in an environmental damage claim hires a contract law firm that specializes in the defense of environmental damage claims.
  3. A lawyer in one state is not admitted to practice in another state and must retain local counsel in order to participate pro hac vice in the other state.
  4. A firm lawyer in charge of the management of complex litigation asks a temporary lawyer service agency to provide a contract lawyer to organize the client’s documents for discovery production.

These scenarios occur regularly in practice, and there is nothing inherently unethical about hiring contract lawyers or outsourcing legal work. However, each scenario has unique ethical pitfalls, as explained by Little:

In the first example, what happens if the contract lawyer engaged to draft the special needs trust makes a mistake and the minor client loses the benefits the trust would have provided? Does it make any difference if the principal lawyer informed the minor’s guardian about the contract lawyer or had the guardian’s consent? Does the knowledge or consent of the client to the contract lawyer arrangement make any difference?

In the second example, what happens if the specialized law firm hired by the corporation’s general outside counsel discovers that the general counsel has been giving incorrect advice to the client that may have compromised the corporation’s defense to the environmental damage claim? What obligations does the contract firm (the specialist) have to the client to advise the client about the incorrect advice? Is there an independent client-lawyer relationship between the contract specialist and the client, and does the existence of any such relationship depend upon the client’s knowledge of and consent to the arrangement?

In the third example, what are the obligations of local counsel to the client for the procedural aspects of the case in the local lawyer’s jurisdiction? Does the local counsel  have any responsibility to either the client or the referring counsel to advise on either procedural or substantive matters involved in the claim?

Finally, what happens in the fourth example if the contract lawyer fails to recognize the proprietary nature of many of the client’s scientific documents and the client is damaged when its scientific secrets are disclosed without a protective order? In this example where a temporary lawyer service agency or referral agency is involved, does the agency have any exposure for the temporary lawyer’s errors or omissions?

On May 12, 2014, David Little will discuss ethical considerations involved in alternative lawyer relationships at a lunchtime CLE program, “Alternative Lawyer Relationships: Contract Lawyering and Its Ethical Implications.” Join us for this informative program.

CLE Program: Alternative Lawyer Relationships: Contract Lawyering and Its Ethical Implications

This CLE presentation will take place on May 12, 2014. Click here to register for the live program and click here to register for the webcast. You can also register by phone at (303) 860-0608.

Can’t make the live program? Order the homestudy here — MP3 audio downloadVideo OnDemand

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Regulations and their Impact on Real Estate Transactions

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal agency charged with regulating consumer protection for United States financial products and services. According to the CFPB website, the group is focused on one goal: “watching out for American consumers in the market for consumer financial products and services.”

In order to achieve its goal of consumer protection, the CFPB has promulgated many rules and regulations since its inception in 2011. Prior to the creation of the CFPB, there were many agencies regulating financial transactions, but some non-bank lending institutions were federally unregulated, such as pay day loan companies, private mortgage lenders, debt collectors, credit reporting agencies, and private student loan companies. These types of lenders are now covered by the new CFPB regulations.

The CFPB regulations have had a significant impact on real estate transactions. The scope of the regulations is surprisingly broad. Attorneys, real estate brokers, and mortgage loan originators especially are affected by the changing regulatory climate propounded by the CFPB.

A half-day CLE program is going be held on September 27 to clarify the CFPB’s new rules and how they will affect residential mortgage lending. Members of the faculty include Debra Still, President and CEO of Pulte Mortgage, Terry Jones of Cherry Creek Mortgage Company, Joey Lubinski of Ballard Spahr, Craig Wildrick of Zions Bancorporation and Tom DeVine of Holland & Hart. If you are involved in any aspect of mortgage lending, or have clients who are, this is an important program to attend.

CLE Program:  The New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Regulations: What Do They Mean for Your Clients

This CLE presentation will take place on September 27, 2013, in the CLE Large Classroom. Click here to register for the live program and click here to register for the live webcast.

Can’t make the live program? Click here to order the homestudy.

Evidence and Ethics – What to Do When Handed a Smoking Gun

Gerald Pratt photo NEWThe Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct are clear that when an attorney is in possession of client property, such as a retainer, the attorney must exercise the utmost care in safekeeping that property. However, what are the ethical guidelines to follow if the property the attorney is asked to keep safe has been used in a crime? Is it ethical for an attorney to keep safe a gun that was used in the commission of a crime?

The Rules of Professional Conduct mandate that all client dealings must be kept confidential. However, they also require that attorneys refrain from conduct involving deceit, fraud, dishonesty, or misrepresentation. How can an attorney retain confidentiality while not assisting the client in hiding a murder weapon? What is the attorney to do about the evidentiary issues that arise in this scenario?

These topics and more will be discussed on Friday, December 28, 2012 at noon. Gerald Pratt, of Pratt & Landry, will present on ethical issues involved in procuring evidence. He will give guidance on how an attorney should react when presented with a smoking gun or a compromised computer, the nuances of preserving evidence versus limiting access to evidence, and more. Please join us for this final ethics presentation of the year.

CLE Program: The Smoking Gun, the Compromised Computer, and Other Ethics Issues Involved in Procuring Evidence

This CLE presentation will take place on Friday, December 28, 2012, at 12:00 p.m. (noon). Click here to register for the live program, or click here to register for the webcast.

Can’t make the live program? Click here to order the homestudy.

Colorado Legal Legends: A Fireside Chat with the Honorable Jim Carrigan

You are cordially invited to join us on Thursday, October 6, 2011, for a fireside chat and luncheon with the Honorable Jim Carrigan, who will share with us his ethical and professional words of wisdom and his personal and practical advice that have elevated him to his admired position as one of Colorado’s leading legal minds.  This is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear Judge Carrigan, a Colorado Legal Legend, speak from the heart and leave you with thoughts and words to live by to enhance your professional and personal life.

The Honorable Jim Carrigan was born in Mobridge, South Dakota, where his father owned and operated a bakery.  The Great Depression forced the family to move to Hallock, Minnesota, where he attended public school. His English teacher, to whom he says he owes his excellence in writing and love of poetry and drama and with whom he is still good friends, is Helny Ohnstad of Grand Forks. Upon graduating from high school, and with no funds for college, he hitchhiked to Los Angeles where he found work in a brass foundry.  Before long, work in the foundry solidified his ambition for higher education, and the very low tuition rate at the University of North Dakota made it his choice from 1948 until 1953. He was admitted to the University’s law school after three years as an undergraduate, and received both his Ph.B and Juris Doctor degrees simultaneously in 1953.

Upon graduation he practiced law in Williston, North Dakota and then taught for two years at New York University Law School while earning a master’s degree in tax law. In 1956, he and his bride, Bev, moved to Denver where he became a trial attorney until joining the faculty of the law school at the University of Denver.  He later taught in NYU Law School’s Master of Tax program, and was on the law faculties of the University of Washington and the University of Colorado, before returning to trial practice in Denver.

His full-time public service includes a combined twenty years as Colorado State Court Administrator, Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, and as United States District Judge.  During his legal practice and judicial tenure, he also taught law at the University of Colorado, frequently lectured at legal seminars around the country, and served on the Colorado Supreme Court Board of Bar Examiners, the original Colorado Bar Association Ethics Committee, and the University of Colorado Board of Regents. He also served on Denver’s Metropolitan Stadium Commission. Additionally, with encouragement from Bev, who loves to travel, he taught for the U.S. Information Agency in Taiwan, Zambia, and Jamaica, and in an American Bar Association program for judges in Zagreb, Croatia, as well as in Budapest and Vezprem, Hungary.  He has taught for the National Law Societies of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and in programs at Oxford University in England, sponsored by the American Bar Association and the English Barristers Association.

Early in his career as a trial lawyer, he was inducted into the prestigious International Society of Barristers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and remained active in both throughout his professional life. He was one of two trial lawyers on the original faculty of the National Judicial College for which he taught during its first fourteen years of existence.  Based on that experience, he helped create the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) for which he has served on its Board of Trustees since its founding, has chaired the Board, and has taught extensively.

On the Federal District Court, Judge Carrigan handled over 6,000 civil cases and over 1,500 criminal cases.  He also sat on the Tenth Circuit United States Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. After retiring as a Federal District Judge in 1995, he became an arbitrator for the Judicial Arbiter Group, handling cases in ten states. He and Bev have six children and (at this writing) ten grandchildren.

Judge Carrigan will be joined by his long-time friend and colleague, John T. Baker. John graduated from the University of Denver College of Law in 1973. He concentrates his practice on complex litigation and public interest law. John has a special interest in professionalism and professional responsibility and has served or is serving in bar association leadership positions. These positions include: President Elect of the Denver Bar Association (2008-2009), Past Chair of the Denver Bar Association Professionalism Committee, current chair of the Metropolitan Conciliation Panel, chair of the Colorado Bar Association Attorney Admission and Law School Committee, member of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado Conduct Rules Committee, and current law school working group chair of the Colorado Bar Association Professional Reform Initiative Task Force. John’s legal teaching experience includes adjunct professor at the University of Denver College of Law, Program Director and Lead Faculty for the NITA Hanley Advanced Advocacy Program, and Program Director NITA in-house or pro bono programs for the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the American Bar Association Section of Litigation. He is immediate past president of the board of directors of Denver Kids, Inc., a program to keep “at risk” Denver Public Schools students in school.

Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to hear from one of Colorado’s most distinguished and legendary legal professionals!

CLE Program: Colorado Legal Legends – A Fireside Chat with Honorable Jim Carrigan in 2011

This CLE presentation will take place on Thursday, October 6. Participants may attend live in our classroom or watch the live webcast.

If you can’t make the live program or webcast, the program will also be available as a homestudy in three formats: video on-demand, mp3 download, and audio CD recordings.

Advertising Law in 2011: Attending This Program Could Help Support Your Immune System!*

* Cannot be verified by any credible medical organization.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t see some real benefits from attending this excellent program on September 9, 2011. CBA-CLE is bringing in, just for you, legal professionals from the Federal Trade Commission and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, nationally known private practitioners, and national business experts who will join together in Denver for this informative workshop about complying with truth-in-advertising laws.

No other program in the state will offer you the in-depth, comprehensive approach that this seminar will with its distinguish faculty of experts!

Topics of the program will include:

  • Priorities from the Colorado Attorney’s General’s Office, Consumer Protection Section
  • Federal Trade Commission Updates from the Bureau of Consumer Protection
  • Substantiating Advertising Claims, including Health Claims and Green Guides
  • The Use of Social Media in Advertising
  • Copyright and Trademark Primer for Non-Intellectual Property Attorneys
  • Competitive Issues, including the Lanham Act and National Advertising Division

Register today and mark your calendars for this great program. We look forward to seeing you there!

CLE Program: Advertising Law in 2011

This CLE presentation will take place on Friday, September 9. Participants may attend live in our classroom or watch the live webcast.

If you can’t make the live program or webcast, the program will also be available as a homestudy in three formats: video on-demand, mp3 download, and audio CD recordings. The course materials will also be available.

Wal-Mart v. Dukes: Reshaping Class Certification

When it issued its decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, the Supreme Court did much more than simply end one of the largest class action suits in American history. It also set a host of new ground rules for federal courts to evaluate class certification, both in employment discrimination cases and in other types of class actions.

You may have already read some discussion and analysis of the case here at Legal Connection, thanks to one of our Featured Bloggers, Paul Karlsgodt.

Now you can join Mr. Karlsgodt and Todd McNamara on July 12 when they present a program on the case, “Wal-Mart v. Dukes: Reshaping Class Certification.”

This program will discuss the significant potential impacts of this landmark decision on a number of issues, including:

  1. Evaluation of merits issues at the class certification stage;
  2. The potentially broadened scope of the commonality element of FRCP 23(a);
  3. The standards for evaluating expert testimony at the class certification stage;
  4. The threshold standard needed to establish “common proof” of an employment or other business practice;
  5. The use of statistical evidence in support of class certification; and
  6. The standards for adjudicating claims for monetary relief under FRCP 23(b)(2).

The program will examine what the Court had to say about these and other topics, and will also explore the questions that remain unanswered following the decision.

For more information about the case and its ramifications on the legal landscape and your own legal practice, join us for this one-hour CLE program on Tuesday, July 12, “Wal-Mart v. Dukes: Reshaping Class Certification,” presented by Paul G. Karlsgodt, Esq. and Todd J. McNamara, Esq.

CLE Program: Wal-Mart v. Dukes: Reshaping Class Certification

This CLE presentation will take place on Tuesday, July 12, at 8:30 am. Participants may attend live in our classroom or watch the live webcast.

If you can’t make the live program or webcast, the program will also be available as a homestudy in two formats: video on-demand and mp3 download.

Wear Purple on Wednesday for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

It’s a sad fact that many elders fall victim to frauds, scams, and other forms of elder abuse. Every year, thousands of people are victimized by loved ones, people of trust, and complete strangers. In Colorado alone, more than 6,000 incidents of adult abuse, exploitation, or neglect are reported each year, with countless more going unreported.

This Wednesday, June 15, help support the elders in our community by raising awareness at the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Special Event at the Greek Amphitheater in Civic Center Park in downtown Denver. From 10 am to noon, join seniors, their caretakers, and those wanting to learn more about the issues facing our seniors in this special event, featuring:

  • Denver leaders committed to stopping elder abuse
  • Service providers offering resource information
  • Attendees helping to tie giant purple ribbons and awareness pins around trees in Civic Center Park
  • Planting of a dedication tree to remember victims of elder abuse

Free parking will be available at the McNichols Building parking lot at the corner of Bannock and Colfax. Click here for more information.

Wear purple to show your support and come help bring awareness to this important issue!

And don’t forget, you can continue your commitment to seniors next month at Senior Law Day. The popular annual seminar provided by CBA-CLE offers programs specifically for elders in the Colorado community. This one-day event presents a comprehensive view of the issues facing our growing senior citizen population, educating them, their caretakers, and other attendees on a vast range of topics, including elder abuse, assisted living and nursing home issues, fraud prevention, end of life issues, estate planning, elder independence, health care, social security, non-traditional relationships, and even pets!

Join us for Senior Law Day in Denver on Saturday, July 23, from 8 am to 1 pm. Registration and more information about the event can be found here.

Not in Denver? Don’t worry. You can find other Senior Law Day events across the front range this summer. Click here for more information.

Medical Marijuana Issues Facing Colorado in 2011

Colorado has become a unique legal landscape ever since voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 2000. The state is home to well over 100,000 patients who are part of the registry, or roughly 2% of the state population, and dispensaries have become abundant across Denver and other cities.

Every year sees new legal challenges, legislation, and ballot initiatives focused on issues surrounding medical marijuana, and 2010 was no different. In the 2010 general election, 41 Colorado communities voted on medical marijuana issues. New legislation now requires a stricter caregiver-patient relationship and lower fees for indigent patients. Additionally, patients have filed suit in the Colorado Supreme Court to prevent the state from implementing new regulations, which they claim restrict their access to medicine and violate their privacy.

As 2011 begins, come hear Colorado’s medical marijuana practitioners and regulators address issues facing Colorado in the coming year, including:

  • Proposed Colorado Department of Revenue Medical Marijuana Regulations
  • What the medical marijuana industry must do to comply with the new regulations
  • Points of conflict with meshing new medical marijuana law with existing criminal law
  • Handling the defense of medical marijuana investigations and regulatory citations
  • Colorado physicians making medical marijuana recommendations
  • Ethics in the practice of medical marijuana law in Colorado

These and other issues will be addressed in a CLE seminar, Medical Marijuana Issues Facing Colorado in 2011, on Friday, January 14, 2011. You can register for the live program here, or for the live webcast here.

The program will also be available as a homestudy in three formats: audio CDMP3 download or online video on-demand. Homestudy materials may be available in their entirety or by selected subjects from the seminar.