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. 

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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

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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))

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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.

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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.   

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What to Do If You Have Been Charged with Cheating on the Bar Exam or Violating Other Rules of the New York Board of Law Examiners

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with Cheating on the Bar Exam or Violating Other Rules of the New York Board of Law Examiners by Chris McDonoughThe Board of Law Examiners (Board) has the authority to bring charges against a test taker (applicant) for any violation of their rules (22 NYCRR 6000). The violation can be based upon observation by a proctor, a report from exam security, a report by another test taker, or by computer detection software. They do not bring charges lightly, but when they do, it is usually a serious situation.

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Bars Rally Around Suspended Attorney

Andrew Keshner

Several bar organizations are supporting the effort of a suspended Long Island attorney to challenge in the state’s highest court what he describes as the overly strict approach of the Appellate Division, Second Department, to enforcing disciplinary rules governing attorney escrow accounts.

A Second Department panel suspended Peter J. Galasso of Galasso, Langione, Catterson & LoFrumento in Garden City for what it called his failure to exercise “appropriate vigilance over his firm’s bank accounts” from which the firm’s bookkeeper—Mr. Galasso’s brother Anthony—embezzled $4 million in client funds (NYLJ, Feb. 27). Peter Galasso cooperated with the prosecution of his brother, who is now in prison.

Mr. Galasso’s suspension was to begin on March 21, but on March 19, Court of Appeals Judge Victoria A. Graffeo (See Profile) stayed the suspension pending determination of Mr. Galasso’s motion for leave to appeal. The Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District is due to file a response by April 2.
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