At 5:34 am on July 25, 2018, a certain someone raised the above question upon learning that his personal lawyer had taped at least one conversation they had. The media responded by stating that New York is a ‘one person consent’ state, and thus the taping was legal. But was it ethical?
Chris McDonough Esq.
Foley Griffin LLP
As a regular part of my practice, I draft retainers for law firms. I usually ask the client what they want to achieve with the retainer and begin drafting from there. Required information includes fee basis, tasks included, tasks excluded and the necessary clauses (no guarantee, arbitration notice, statement of client rights, right to terminate, etc.).
Most lawyers have websites. Most lawyers create those websites to solicit business for their firms. In my opinion, not having a website is a grave mistake for almost every lawyer. Even when clients are referred to you, I would bet that nine out of ten check your website before calling. If you are not on the web, you might as well be invisible.
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))
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.