Legal File Maintenance: What Must Be Kept for 7 Years and in What Format?

File and Record Retention by Chris McDonough

By: Chris McDonough Esq.[1]

Recently, on two separate occasions, I was contacted by experienced, well-respected attorneys with file and record retention questions. It seems there still is confusion regarding exactly which records must be kept for seven years and in what format those records may be maintained. This brief article will hit the high points. There are many excellent resources available to attorneys who require additional information, and anyone who wants more information should feel free to contact me.

Continue reading

Advertisements
Posted in Escrow | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Profession Needs to Do More to Help Our Members Suffering From Depression and Substance Abuse

The Profession Needs to Do More to Help Our Members Suffering From Depression and Substance Abuse by Chris McDonough

Last year I posted a blog article[1] about alcohol abuse in the legal profession, in response to a study that appeared in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.[2] The lead author was Patrick Krill, who is an attorney and Board Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and is the Director of the Legal Professionals Program at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. That study revealed that between 21% and 36% of U.S. lawyers drink at levels consistent with an alcohol abuse disorder. Those figures are roughly 3 to 5 times higher than the forecast for the general population in the United States.

Continue reading

Posted in Character & Fitness | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Avoiding the Adversarial/Difficult Client [1]

Avoiding the Adversarial/Difficult Client by Chris McDonough & Omid Zareh

By: Chris McDonough & Omid Zareh 

Recently, we gave a lecture regarding dealing with the adversarial client. At the conclusion of the lecture, a number of participants came up to share some rather amusing client experiences. Difficulties with clients seemed to be a common theme. However, while these instances seemed funny in retrospect, at the time they were sources of much aggravation, costing quite a bit of the lawyer’s time—which as we all know is precious.[2] Equally costly is the energy and emotion required to deal with these clients. 

Continue reading

Posted in Character & Fitness | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Defining the ‘Practice of Law’ After ‘Matter of Brandes’

Defining the 'Practice of Law' After 'Matter of Brandes' by Chris McDonough

This article was published in the NYLJ.

Joel Brandes was disbarred by the Appellate Division, Second Department on April 28, 2002. After waiting the required seven years, he first applied for reinstatement in 2009. That application was denied in an order which merely stated that he did not possess the character and fitness to practice law. Important to this tale is the fact that on this initial application he revealed that he was doing paralegal work for New York attorneys over the Internet from his home in Florida.1

Continue reading

Posted in Character & Fitness | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Differing Interests, Conflicts & Waiver and Consent 101

Differing Interests, Conflicts & Waiver and Consent 101 by Chris McDonough

Differing interests between a lawyer and a client are defined as “every interest that will adversely affect either the judgment or the loyalty of a lawyer to a client, whether it be a conflicting, inconsistent, diverse, or other interest.” (RPC 1.0 (f))

Continue reading

Posted in Character & Fitness | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advanced Legal Fees and Related Escrow Issues

Advanced Legal Fees and Related Escrow Issues by Chris McDonough

I recently gave a lecture where I was discussing retainers, legal fees, and escrow. It became clear that there’s some confusion over advanced legal fees paid to a lawyer.

A general retainer is a retainer paid to a lawyer for unspecified future services and for the lawyer to be available to the client in the future. For example, this might be used to engage a lawyer on a monthly or yearly retainer to be available for representation or to give the client legal advice as issues arise. Under this type of retainer, the fee paid is not an advance fee but is deemed earned immediately upon receipt. See NYSBA Opinion 570.

Continue reading

Posted in Escrow | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alcohol Abuse by Lawyers Is a Major Problem in the Legal Profession

Alcohol Abuse By Lawyers Is a Major Problem in the Legal Profession by Chris McDonough

Recently, CNN published an article focusing on alcohol usage in the legal profession, authored by Patrick Krill Esq., the lead author of an important study that appeared in the Journal of Addiction Medicine. Mr. Krill is an attorney, board certified alcohol and drug counselor who is the director of the Legal Professionals Program at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.   

Continue reading

Posted in Character & Fitness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment