A Discrimination Lawsuit Against The Olympics — with a twist

I heard an interesting story on NPR yesterday about a discrimination lawsuit against the Olympics.  Ten women from six countries are suing to seek the right to participate in ski jumping at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.  Ski jumping is the only sport that is open to men, but closed to women.  The ten women claim that the Vancouver Organizing Committee, a quasi-governmental entity, is violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by staging an event for men that excludes women.  The story interviewed a Canadian law professor who says that the case is a real toss-up.

THE TWIST?  The Olympic ski jumping competition will be held at Vancouver’s K9 mountain.  24 year old American Lindsey Van, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, holds the distance record – men or women – for the mountain.  I think the women are qualified to participate.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

A Good Lawyer, Chapter 5

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been looking at Stephen Comiskey’s book, A Good Lawyer. I’ve previously posted my favorite excerpts from Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 and Chapter 4. Today, I look at Chapter 5, which is available online. Again, the book is out of print, but I encourage all of us to try and find a copy and look it over from time to time as a refresher on how to practice.

Comiskey starts Chapter 5 off by saying that he thinks the Marine Corp’s 14 Leadership Traits and 11 Leadership Principles should apply to all of us. Those are as follows:

MARINE CORPS LEADERSHIP TRAITS

  • Integrity
  • Knowledge
  • Courage
  • Decisiveness
  • Dependability
  • Initiative
  • Tact
  • Justice
  • Enthusiasm
  • Bearing
  • Endurance
  • Unselfishness
  • Loyalty
  • Judgement

MARINE CORPS PRINCIPLES OF LEADERSHIP

  • Take Responsibility for Your Actions and the Actions of Your Marines.
  • Know Yourself and Seek Improvement.
  • Set the Example.
  • Develop Your Subordinates.
  • Ensure that an Order Is Understood, Then Supervise It and Carry It through to Completion.
  • Know Your Marines and Look After Their Welfare.
  • Keep Everyone Informed.
  • Set Goals You Can Reach.
  • Make Sound and Timely Decisions.
  • Know Your Job.
  • Train Your Unit as a Team.

Then Comiskey reverts back to the familiar numbered posts. My favorites are:

1. Protect your family.

2. Strive for excellence.

3. Excellence without arrogance.

4. Excellence with humility.

16. Be true to your word.

17. If it’s important, be shamelessly persistent. Be relentless.

18. Treat everyone the way you expect to be treated.

23. Know your weaknesses. Work hard to make them your strengths.

30. Keep your sense of humor. It will help sustain you through the hard times and it will help you enjoy the good times even more.

32. Take the time to enjoy the satisfaction and fulfillment of each of your successes large or small.

33. Where honesty and integrity are concerned, permit yourself no rationalizations. Be vigilant. Honesty and integrity are lost insidiously.

34. You can delegate authority, but not responsibility.

And that’s the final chapter. I’ve done these posts mainly for me — so that I can remember the wisdom of Comiskey and so I have the thoughts in an easy to access place. I hope they’ve been of some use to the rest of you out there.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Called Out

Attorney and CBS News analyst Andrew Cohen had a great opinion piece Saturday calling out the US Chamber of Commerce entitled “Made in America: Corporate Gall — On Corporations Seeking to “Reform” the Very System They Broke.”

It’s an oustanding article, and I would cut and paste the entire thing if I wasn’t afraid of violating copyright laws.  Instead, here’s the introduction:

Like the child who kills his parents and then begs for mercy because he is an orphan, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce now is begging President-elect Barack Obama to protect corporate interests in the nation’s civil litigation system as a way of restoring jobs and bolstering an economy shattered largely (as we now know) by corporate greed and misfeasance.

Talk about your gall.

I encourage anyone interested in the civil justice system to click the link and read the entire article.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

A Good Lawyer, Ch. 4

A couple of weekends ago, I was prompted to go back and read Stephen Comiskey’s must read book “A Good Lawyer: Secrets Good Lawyers [and their clients] Already Know.” Last week I started a series looking at my favorite excerpts from each of the books. I’ve reviewed Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3. Today, I take a look at Chapter 4.

Chapter 4 is entitled “The Rules” and sets out what Comiskey thinks are key rules governing how we practice. As he states it:

As you read the good lawyers’ counsel in these pages, think of each of these good lawyers’ secrets as a guidepost located somewhere on a continuum from heavenly idealism to pedestrian pragmatism. The client is th reality check for the lawyer and, likewise, the lawyer for the client.

My favorite rules from Chapter 4 are:

3. Never underestimate your opponent.

6. On a weekly basis, review all your open matters to ensure that each one is being worked appropriately and that nothing has fallen through the cracks.

9. Ignore prospective clients’ assurances to you that the prospective defendants: “Will cave in as soon as they know there is a lawyer involved;” “Will settle because they can’t afford any bad publicity;” “Have always settled cases like this in the past;” and that the prospective clients have heard that similarly situated predecessors to them “Settled for a ‘bundle’ of money and never even had to file a lawsuit.” Suggest to those prospective clients that if any of that is actually true, then they should be hiring the lawyers who accomplished it, and not you.

13. If you decide not to take on a case after meeting with a prospective client, then either in person or by telephone: (1) tell them that you’re not going to be able to represent them; (2) tell them why you’ve come to that conclusion; (3) encourage them to meet with and to seek the opinions of other lawyers; and (4) remind them of the statute(s) of limitations that may be involved. Follow that conversation with a letter to them to the same effect. (Another key piece of advice from the legal malpractice lawyer’s perspective.)

15. As each case progresses, share with your client your decisions and your thought processes concerning the moral and ethical issues presented, in addition to the legal and factual ones.

21. Do not assume a settlement attitude.

22. An Oriental expression translates: Talk, Talk, Fight, Fight. To me that means, once the lawsuit has been filed, and especially when you are either discussing settlement, or negotiating settlement, keep the trial preparation pedal to the metal.

31. There is no need for exaggerated theatrics at depositions.

34. It’s hard for trial lawyers to empathize with judges, since most trial lawyers have never been judges. But as former trial lawyers, most judges recognize and appreciate good trial counsel and understand the conflicting demands made upon lawyers.

46. Leave it at the office.

47. Don’t join anything for possible client acquisition reasons, join — and participate — because you enjoy and support the activity.

59. Remember, no matter how honorable and meritorious your efforts may be for your clients, the practice of law is a business, not a charitable organization. Your family expects you to make enough money to maintain, if not improve, their standard of living. Don’t disappoint them.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Called Out

Attorney and CBS News analyst Andrew Cohen had a great opinion piece Saturday calling out the US Chamber of Commerce entitled “Made in America: Corporate Gall — On Corporations Seeking to “Reform” the Very System They Broke.”

It’s an oustanding article, and I would cut and paste the entire thing if I wasn’t afraid of violating copyright laws.  Instead, here’s the introduction:

Like the child who kills his parents and then begs for mercy because he is an orphan, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce now is begging President-elect Barack Obama to protect corporate interests in the nation’s civil litigation system as a way of restoring jobs and bolstering an economy shattered largely (as we now know) by corporate greed and misfeasance.

Talk about your gall.

I encourage anyone interested in the civil justice system to click the link and read the entire article.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

New Legal Malpractice Issues At The Texas Supreme Court

Earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in a legal malpractice case that could have far-reaching implications on damage claims.

The case stems from Akin, Gump’s representation of National Development & Research Corp. in underlying litigation.  NDR hired Akin, Gump to represent it in a lawsuit against some of NDR’s business partners.  At trial, the jury returned a verdict that was favorable to both NDR and its partner, but the judge granted a judgment notwithstanding the verdict against NDR because Akin, Gump didn’t submit all the jury questions necessary to support the verdict.  NDR, with Akin, Gump as counsel, appealed that decision to the court of appeals and lost.

Following that loss, NDR successfully sued Akin, Gump.  Part of the damages that NDR received included over $200,000 to compensate NDR for the fees that it paid Akin, Gump as a result of the appeal because the appeal would not have been necessary had Akin, Gump correctly submitted the jury questions.  (As an aside, it’s almost incomprehensible to me how a firm could bill $200,000 for an appeal to a court of appeals.  My friend Todd Smith would have been a much better option, I’m sure.)

At the Supreme Court, Akin, Gump made two arguments that could have far reaching implications.  First, it argued that the trial judge improperly awarded damages for the appellate fees.  The argument is based on the general rule that a party cannot recover attorneys’ fees unless authorized by statute or contract.

It is my opinion that this argument should fail.  The Texas courts of appeal have long held that while attorneys’ fees incurred in prosecuting the suit against the defendant are not recoverable unless authorized by statute or contract, a plaintiff can recover attorneys’ fees as damages if the fees are incurred in another context as a result of the defendant’s negligence.

For example, if Smith sues Jones, Smith generally can’t recover the attorneys’ fees incurred in the lawsuit between the two.  However, if Jones’ underlying negligence caused Smith to incur attorneys’ fees in a separate lawsuit or other similar context, then the amount of attorneys’ fees incurred in that lawsuit or context are recoverable as damages.

If the Supreme Court follows the current law, the appellate fees should be recoverable.

The second, and potentially more interesting, issue is whether damages in a legal malpractice suit should be offset by the contingent amount that was due the defendant lawyer.  In this case, Akin, Gump was hired on a hybrid hourly/contingent agreement where it received a reduced hourly rate and then was to get 10% of any recovery.  At the Supreme Court, Akin, Gump argues that any award against it should be reduced by 10% because it would have received that much as a fee for its services.

This argument is interesting.  Akin, Gump says that if you look at the “but, for” analysis, if NDR had prevailed then they would have had to pay 10% to Akin, Gump so the damages are reduced by that.  NDR argued that a contingent-fee credit would unjustifiably benefit a legal malpractice defendant for its negligence.  The Restatement, which is not binding on the Supreme Court, supports the plaintiffs.

I am optimistic that the results will be favorable to the plaintiffs.  While the Supreme Court generally finds in favor of big businesses or insurance companies, legal malpractice plaintiffs are the one set of plaintiffs that do well before the Supreme Court, with very important decisions granting plaintiff’s rights handed down in 2005 and 1998.

Posted on: December 19, 2008 | Tagged

Another Legal Mal Claim Against Big Law

Mega law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Hedges has been hit with a legal malpractice lawsuit that claims the firm botched a $48.8 million settlement, even as the firm collected approximately $12 million in contingency fees on the deal.

Todd Kurtin hired Quinn Emanuel to represent him in the unwinding of his business relationships.  Under the terms of the agreement, Quinn Emanual was to receive 50% of the settlement up to $20 million and 20% thereafter.

In four short months, the parties negotiated a settlement whereby Kurtin would receive $48.8 million in four payments.  The first two payments were made, which resulted in Kurtin and Quinn Emanual each receiving about $12 million, but Kurtin’s former partner apparently defaulted on the remaining two payments.

Kurtin asked Quinn Emanual to enforce the settlement agreement.  The firm apparently offered to do so on a reduced hourly basis, but not under the contingent agreement.  Kurtin responded by suing the firm, claiming that they didn’t advise him of the meaning and ramifications of the settlement agreement.

It’s hard to know what to make of the suit since I don’t know what underlying advice was given.  But, some issues stand out.  First, when negotiating settlements with payment plans there is always a risk of default.  It’s not clear what options were investigated to protect Kurtin or to disclose the risks to him, but that’s sure to be a focus of the case.

The second thing that is apparent is this is a question of what is the scope of the representation.  What did the original fee agreement say about Quinn Emanual’s obligation to continue representing Kurtin in the collection proceedings?  When can they withdraw?  Are they obligated to collect the payments? etc.

The final quick thing is the effect of the sliding scale.  I don’t know if it was planned this way, but the payments made essentially equal the $20 million under the fee agreement that Quinn Emanual had a 50% fee, and the uncollected amounts were due under the lower portion of the fee agreement.  I have a hard time saying it’s okay for the firm to take the quick settlement under the high fee amount, but then end the representation when the work gets hard and the fee goes to a lower percentage.

An interesting set of facts all around.

Thanks to Max Kennerly of Philadelphia’s Beasley Firm for the tip.

Another Insurance Company Win At The Texas Supreme Court

I’m not usually surprised when insurance companies win at the Texas Supreme Court, but today was a little stunning when the Court issued its opinion in USF&G v. Goudeau.  And I’ll warn you up front, I’m short on time and don’t have a lot of time to explain my ramblings below.

While working on the job, Goudeau stopped on a Houston freeway to help another motorist.  Shortly after Goudeau got out of his car, an SUV hydroplaned and hit both cars, pinning Goudeau between the cars and a retaining wall and causing Goudeau serious injuries.

USF&G was the carrier for the UIM policy and also the company that issued the worker’s compensation policy that paid for much of Goudeau’s medical care.

Goudeau sued USF&G for UIM benefits.  USF&G answered the lawsuit with one law firm and a few days later intervened to recover its subrogation interest with another law firm.  (Normally, if you recover from a third party, you have an obligation to pay a worker’s comp carrier back a portion of what they paid on your behalf.)

USF&G took the position that the uninsured motorist coverage didn’t apply because Goudeau wasn’t “occupying” his vehicle at the time of the accident.  But, by filing the subro claim, USF&G is also saying that if money is owed, then it goes right back to us.

One question the court answered was what does “occupying” mean?  The court said Goudeau wasn’t occupying the car because he wasn’t in it.  That doesn’t surprise me.  There are other courts all over the country that define occupying in such a way that coverage would exist ( eg some states find occupancy when the person is in close proximity to the car, when the person is “within a reasonable geographic perimeter” of the car, or if occupancy started the chain of events that led to the incident).  But there is no realistic expectation that the Court would interpret the phrase in a way that provides more coverage and protections than it has to.  The Court says we must look at the plain meaning of the word “occupying.” Thus, there’s no coverage.

What did surprise me was the Court’s finding that USF&G was not bound by its answer to a request for admission that the claim was covered.  During the case, Goudeau sent a request for admission to the USF&G lawyer on the subro side of the case who admitted that the claim was covered.

The Court says that the admission from USF&G subro lawyer isn’t an admission because USF&G is acting in different capacities. That’s problematic because it’s not true.  USF&G is never acting in two capacities.  It’s always acting on its own behalf. While one lawyer did the defense of the UIM claim and one did the intervention on the subro claim, USF&G is still only USF&G.

First, the Court looks at Rule 198, which says that requests for admission can only be used against the “party making the admission.”  The Court says the question is how to apply that when the party appears in two different capacities.  But what happened to the plain meaning rule the Court said was so necessary to interpret “occupying?” If you look at the plain meaning, USF&G is the same party and the admission should be binding.  But the plain meaning rule is out the door here because it would be against USF&G.

Then the Court cites an old case that involved requests for admissions against a woman that was sued individually and as the executor of her husband’s estate.  In that case, the court held that the admissions were admissible only against the woman individually, because they were directed to her in that capacity, and weren’t binding on the estate.

But that’s a very different situation.  The woman in that case is appearing on behalf of two distinct entities — herself and the estate.  There is no such segregation between USF&G.  They are the same party, and in the defense and in the subrogation claim, they are both appearing on behalf of USF&G, not in some capacity on behalf of another entity.  There’s no capacity question here because it’s all USF&G.

The Court then goes on to say that insurance companies are faced with this problem all the time when they represent both parties in an auto accident or when defending an insured while denying coverage. The Court says that “if they [insurance companies] can be bound by an admisison in one capacity that was sent to them in another, they can be made to forfeit every case regardless of the merits.”  That is simply ridiculous.

In their first example, an insurance company represents two individuals in a wreck.  But the lawyer doesn’t represent the insurance company.  The lawyer represents Smith & Jones, the participants.  If Smith makes an admission, it’s binding on Smith but no one else.  Likewise for Jones.   No admission in that case implicates the insurance company, and no admission could make the insurance company “forfeit every case regardless of the merits.”

In the second example, the Court says that insurance companies have a problem when defending an insured while denying coverage.  But when defending the insured, the insurance company isn’t a party to the lawsuit.  If the defendant tortfeasor answers an admission, the insurance company isn’t bound by it.  Again, that admission wouldn’t implicate the insurance company.

The difference in this case is that both of the actual parties were USF&G.  They were making different claims, but they were both acting on behalf of itself and not in a represntative capacity of some other entity.

Kudos to Justices Green, Jefferson and Johnson for a good dissent.  As they stated:

The pleadings of both the intervenor and the defendant are consistently attributed to USF&G, and there is no indication of any real separation between the USF&G that administers the auto policy and the USF&G that administers the worker’s compensation policy.  Although, as the Court points out, insurers may stand in different shoes or act in different capacities, there is no indication that USF&G in this case is anything but a single entity with the power to sue and be sued only in the name of USF&G.

Okay.  My rant is over.  Have a great weekend.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

A Good Lawyer, Chapter 3

In the last couple of days, I’ve been posting my favorite excerpts of Stephen Comiskey’s book, A Good Lawyer.  We’ve looked at Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, and today move on to Chapter 3.  Unfortunately, Chapter 3 isn’t online so readers will have to rely on my favorite chosen parts.

Chapter 3 is entitled “The Venues,” and primarily looks at rules in different places of a practice — settlement, courtroom, etc.  My favorite rules of Chapter 3 are:

2.  At Settlement:  Leave something on the table.  At Trial: Take no prisoners.

3.  Take a break from your practice as much and as often as you can.

5.  Sometimes the best thing you can do for a prospective client is to listen to their story.  There are not always legal remedies for every wrong.  Sometimes people just need your concurrence that they have been wronged and yur encouragmenet to press on.  Even for that person, you still have performed a valuable service, because now they truly can move on with their lives and not forever be upset with themselves for failing to file a lawsuit, misbelieving that it would have had some possibility of success.

8.  Each law firm, from the smallest to the largest, has a tone or a morality to it that is consciously set by those in power at that firm.  That firm’s moral tone is usually well-known witin its own local legal community.  It remains constant, because attorneys comfortable with that morality seek employment at that firm and those uncomfortable with it either avoid working there, or leave once they recognize their incompatibility with it.

10.  The practice of law is a calling, it is not a job.  If it becomes just a job, consider refocusing your practice areas to reinspire yourself.

21.  Just as a screenwriter must require every word have a reason to be spoken, at trial everything you do and say must support your theory of the case.

22.  The life of a case through its preparation and then presentation at trial is a roller coaster ride.  Don’t dwell on either the highs or the lows along the way.  It’s only the end result that counts.

30.  Make, and document, sincere reasonable efforts to work out all discovery issues outside of the courtroom.  But no matter how meritorious your complaints about oppsing counsel are, expect that the judge will be unmoved by them.

37.  The last vestige remaining in our society today of the feudal concept of one person having absolute dominion and control over their own fiefdom, or fief, is the trial court judge in their own courtroom.

41.  Praise in public.  Criticize in private.

42.  Whether it’s praise or criticism, tell your staff your conclusions, give them a chance to respond, listen to what they say, then make sure that everyone moves on.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

A Good Lawyer, Chapter 2

Yesterday, I started reviewing/posting excerpts from Stephen Comiskey’s book “A Good Lawyer.”  It is five chapters long, and I’ll be posting on each chapter over the next week or so.  As I mentioned, I think it’s a must read, and I would encourage all lawyers to try and get their hands on a copy.  It looks like it’s out of print, but three of the five chapters are available online at the Texas Bar Journal website (and I’ll be posting links to those chapters that are available).  If any of you know an online source for the other two chapters, please let me know.  Otherwise, you can order hard copies of the missing chapters from the Texas Bar Journal.

Anyway, on to Chapter 2.  Chapter 2 is devoted to the tools that lawyers have to represent clients.  But Comiskey opens chapter 2 with a couple of paragraphs that are probably more true today than when he wrote the book 11 years ago:

Abraham Lincoln said it nearly 150 years ago and it’s still true today, but for all who seek success: “The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence.”  But diligence comes with a price:  Legal Fees.  But lack of diligence often comes with a higher price: Failure.  Therein lies just one of the good lawyer’s consistent dilemmas:  How do you know when you have done enough to be certain of winning?  When should you stop preparing?  It cannot be said any simpler than Benjamin Franklin said it nearly 200 years ago: “Time is money.” Lincoln’s lament that “All a lawyer has is his time and his advice,” only serves to underscore the good lawyer’s problem.

Clients want cost-effective success and they are not usually concerned with the niceties or nuances of lawyering.  Clients hope their lawyers arae spending every waking moment only thinking and working on their case, but only charging them for ultimate success, or at least only charging them for substantial progress towards ultimate success.  From a client’s perspective, it’s a buyer’s market.  The sooner all lawyers recognize that we are in a service business, and, therefore, the sooner all lawyers force ourselves to serve our clients, the sooner all our clients will be receptive to entertaining real discussions on the factual, legal and ethical constraints involved with lawyering.  Right now most just don’t care.

Now, my favorite “Tools” that Comiskey describes in Chapter 2 of his book:

1. Quiet contemplation is not a luxury, but a necessity for a lawyer.

4. Read everything you can. Ideas will come to you while you are reading.

5. When you think of something or get an idea write it down as soon as possible, in a stream of consciousness manner, and write as much of it as possible. Once you have it written down, then you can start rethinking it, revising it, or critically taking it apart.

8. Your reputation wins clients. Your performance wins trials. Like a professional golfer, it’s only how you perform that matters. No one wins a trial, or a golf tournament, on reputation.

9. Your reputation is like your passport. It’s critical that it be accurate and up to date. But once it gets you in the door it serves no further purpose. It’s only what you do once you’re there that counts.

12. Don’t complain and don’t whine. Propose constructive alternatives and argue for their adoption.

16. Understand and be able to use by yourself, if necessary, every single thing in your law offices, e.g., word-processing computers, systems, telecommunications, networks, postage meters and scales, fax machines, etc. Don’t be absolutely dependent upon anyone other than yourself.

17. Don’t wait for things to happen. As soon as you’ve accepted a case, make a plan and then begin executing that plan. Massage and retool it as the case progresses to and through completion.

22. By everything you say and do, ensure that your clients and your staff understand that you have no tolerance for dishonesty.

24. Be thankful that you are in a profession with unlimited possibilities to help individuals and society.

25. Be a responsible steward of your talents and use your persuasive skills appropriately.

26. Leave your mark.

29. Use a tailored Legal Representation and Fee Agreement Letter for each client and for each matter. Spell out in that written letter from you to your client, at the least, what the legal matter is, what the fee arrangement is, how often you will bill, what your expectations and the client’s agreements are concerning timing of payments of your bills, any retainer provisions, including interest on retainers and replenishment of retainers, whether your legal representation includes the filing of a lawsuit and trial representation, and if so, whether it includes the appeal of any trial court rulings or orders, and, finally, the fact that you have made no promises of success to your client. Explain that costs are not included in legal fees, and that under all circumstances, the client will be responsible for all costs. Emphasize that you will keep costs to a minimum. At the conclusion of the letter and after your signature line, have typed in SEEN AND AGREED. Go over the Legal Representation and Fee Agreement Letter with your client and if the client agrees, have them sign as such under SEEN AND AGREED and date their signature. Keep the original in your file and give your client a copy of the letter agreement.  (A BIG “AMEN” ON THIS ONE FROM ALL OF US THAT PRACTICE PLAINTIFF’S LEGAL MALPRACTICE WORK.  BROOKS)

31. As a final check, before you authorize anything that will be passed on to your client as a cost, imagine that your roles are reversed, and that you are now the client: Do you want your money spent this way? If you do, then go ahead. If you have to think about it, then you probably don’t.

34. You do your client a disservice if you cannot maintain your objectivity about their case. Be passionately objective, if you must, but be objective.

37. Develop your theory of the case as soon as possible. Before trial keep fine tuning it so that everything you know about the case is compatible with your theory of the case.

38. Tailor your theory of the case to fit the facts, not the reverse.

46. Don’t expect much more in Answers to Written Interrogatories than names and addresses of the people involved and descriptions of the documents involved. No matter how artful your Written Interrogatories are, opposing counsel will usually try to find ways either to object or to provide nonresponsive answers. Therefore, realistically, their best use is to determine exactly who to depose and what documents to request be produced.

47. Use Requests for Admissions continuously and exhaustively. Write short, simple factual statements that provide no wriggle room for opposing counsel. The more you can get your opponent to admit, the less you will have to prove.

55. Before sending them, proofread your bills from your client’s perspective: Service, Satisfaction, Success.

64. Whenever you take on a new case or matter, don’t put the file down until you’ve satisfied yourself that you know what the statute of limitations is and then make the appropriate tickler file entries including, especially, the date the statute of limitations expires, and prior warnings to yourself that leave enough time for you to do all that needs to be done prior to that statute of limitations’ expiration date. (ANOTHER “AMEN” FROM THE PLAINTIFF’S LEGAL MALPRACTICE BAR.)

68. Checklists are better than standard forms. Collect checklists from every source available and combine them with your own to create master checklists that you can then use, and reuse, to craft the appropriate documents for each situation.

Again, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the writings.

Brooks

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC maintains offices in Austin, Texas. However, our attorneys and lawyers represent clients throughout the state of Texas, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Forth Worth, El Paso, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Round Rock, Georgetown, Lockhart, Bastrop, Elgin, Manor, Brenham, Cedar Park, Burnet, Marble Falls, Temple and Killeen. By Brooks Schuelke


Law Firm Website by CLM Grow