The Ethics of Attorney Client Contracts and Engagements Letters
NOTE: In order to obtain credit for this webcast it MUST be viewed on 9/14/2017 starting at 12 (noon) CST, because this program is being broadcast at that date and time, the credit is considered unlimited (live) credit by OBA/MCLE.
CLE CREDIT: This course has been approved by the Oklahoma Bar Association Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission for 1 hour of mandatory CLE credit, including 1 hour of ethics.
TUITION: Registration for the live webcast is $50.
NOTE: This program is NOT approved for Texas credit. The Texas Bar will not permit members to submit online programs for Texas credit.
CHECKPOINTS: This program will contain random checkpoints. In order to submit credit for this program, you must confirm your presence at the checkpoints. If you do not meet the checkpoint requirement you may not receive credit for the live program. The checkpoint submission is entirely dependent on your successful completion of the system check.
NOTE: At the end of the program click on the “Credit Submission Tab” to go to your credit profile and begin the credit submission process. Please remember to submit credit on the day of the event.
Jim Calloway, Management Assistance Program Director – Oklahoma Bar Association
Gina Hendryx, General Counsel – Oklahoma Bar Association
An encore presentation from the 2017 OBA Solo and Small Firm Conference!
An attorney-client agreement is the foundation of the attorney-client relationship. These agreements involve both business and ethical considerations. On the ethics front, problematic practices include unreasonable fees, nonrefundable retainers or any arrangement that seeks to allow a lawyer to avoid segregating unearned attorney's fees in the client trust account. Our instructors will examine State ex rel. Oklahoma Bar Association v. Weigel, a 2014 Oklahoma Supreme Court opinion that discussed handling unearned fees. But the attorney-client agreement is also a good opportunity to set forth many matters in a way that it will be clear that these have been explained to the client, including file destruction policies, payments by third parties and method of electronic communications.
Included with the seminar materials are several samples fee agreements in Word format provided by OBA MAP and many other optional provisions that might be used in attorney-client fee agreements.
Topics covered include:
- Record keeping and the flat fee.
- Is it ethically permissible to charge a flat fee for a matter without a lawyer keeping track of their time on timesheets?
- What is ethically questionable about the phrase “nonrefundable retainer?”
- The mechanics of earning and accounting for a flat fee
- What are the factors constituting “an unreasonable fee?”
- How to address any concerns with a third-party (e.g. a client's parent) paying your fee.
Gina Hendryx is the OBA General Counsel, whose office supervises the handling of disciplinary matters involving Oklahoma lawyers. Jim Calloway is the Director of the OBA Management Assistance Program, who has co-authored two books for the American Bar Association on alternative fees and alternative billing arrangements.