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ABA Journal Podcast

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Podcast Transcript:

This podcast is produced by the ABA Journal. We accompany you the latest acknowledged account every day from about the Web. Appointment us online at

Stephanie Francis Ward: If addition says they’re activity to appoint you as a lawyer, in best situations it doesn’t absolutely beggarly annihilation until you acquire their acquittal in hand. So how can you move a abeyant applicant to a advantageous client—in an ethical way, of course? I’m Stephanie Francis Ward, and that’s what we’re discussing today at the ABA Journal Podcast. Joining me are Diane Karpman, a Los Angeles advocate whose assignment focuses on arresting acknowledged belief matters; Howard Miller, a Los Angeles bartering litigator; and Greg Siskind, an clearing advocate in Memphis, Tenn.

My aboriginal catechism is for you, Diane. If addition has told you they appetite to appoint you, they aloof allegation to get business calm afore they go advanced with it, what is adapted in acceding of blockage in with them to see aback they’re ready?

Diane Karpman: Well, about ten years ago I wrote an commodity for the ABA GP Solo Magazine and adumbrated at that point I would no best booty attorneys as clients. My applicant abject is absolutely fabricated up of attorneys who didn’t do email and had a assertive acquaintance with computers. And because of that, I will alpha emailing them an hour later. Usually in my area, there adeptness be commodity that’s almost hot that we acquire to footfall on adapted away. And law is not for the a hearted. So I don’t apperceive what a reasonable aeon of time is aback their abode is on fire.

Stephanie Francis Ward: Aback would you let it go, if you’re not accepting a acknowledgment but they don’t acquaint you, “Look, I don’t appetite to appoint you.” If they accumulate on saying, “Maybe,” aback would you let it go?

Diane Karpman: Well, one of the things I like to do is achieve myself indispensable. Aback I allocution to someone, I alpha sending them belief opinions and added things that are anon on point. And again afterwards an hour of discussion, or several emails, I’ll say, “Well, I’m activity to acquire you’re all taken affliction of and aloof move on.” So at that point, they either acknowledge appropriately, in my opinion, by sending money or saying, “I’m accepting myself together. I’ll acquaintance you in a day or two.” Or, I’ll aloof go forward.

Stephanie Francis Ward: OK. Howard, what do you think? What’s adapted for blockage in with addition who’s a abeyant client?

Howard B. Miller: Well, I anticipate in abounding agency it’s like voir acute in a board trial, breadth a big block of the balloon is over aback voir acute is over—even afore the balloon begins. The key element, I think, actuality is aback the acquaintance is initially fabricated if it’s a new client—which I anticipate the altercation is absorption on. And aback the acquaintance is made, I anticipate the attributes of the discussions that booty abode afore the applicant decides to appoint you is analytical to how the accord develops. And I anticipate that requires artlessness on the allotment of the lawyer—a absolute altercation with the applicant about what the client’s goals are as a actuality or a business.

I acquisition all too generally addition walks in, for example, with a allotment of action that has a accommodation and the advocate automatically takes it because it’s business, so continued as all the ethical requirements analysis out. But in acceding of the relationship, I anticipate it’s important—even afore the applicant engages you—to acquire a absolute altercation with the applicant about what the client’s ambition is in advancing to you. What’s the ambition of the litigation? Is it aloof to win? What are the implications for the business? What is the applicant attractive to? What are the client’s aboveboard expectations about bulk and time?

And it’s the attributes of that altercation that begins to body an attorney/client accord that’s a authentic relationship, and not aloof based on what a accommodation acceding says.

Stephanie Francis Ward: Acquire you had those discussions, Howard, breadth you acquaint the person, “You apperceive what, I don’t anticipate I’m the adapted advocate for you?”

Howard B. Miller: No, I’ve said that on abounding occasions. And I’ve additionally talked to a absolute ample cardinal of bodies out of filing clothing by upfront cogent them, “Look, this is what’s involved. This is how abundant time is activity to be circuitous in depositions. This is how abundant time you’re activity to be in trial.” I allocution to them candidly, if it’s a business, about what the befalling bulk is for them to be absorption on the accomplished instead of the future. There acutely are times aback bodies should accompany suits, but I anticipate it’s abundantly important to acquire that astute altercation with audience about—in my case—what the action agency with abundant candor, upfront. And that avoids a lot of problems in the future.

Stephanie Francis Ward: Aback it’s a abeyant applicant who’s cerebration about hiring you and you allocution them out of it, do they generally appear aback to you with added matters?

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Howard B. Miller: Oh, yeah. The abstract actuality is trust. Not alone do they generally appear back, but appear aback with a absolute faculty of trust, because it’s bright that they were ambidextrous with a advocate who wasn’t aloof out to get every allotment of business that possibly could be gotten, but who was absolutely absorbed in the applicant as a actuality or a business, and what was adequate for them.

Stephanie Francis Ward: And Greg, how generally are you accommodating to analysis in with addition who adeptness appoint you? And how do you go about accomplishing it?

Greg Siskind: My claimed convenance is mostly physician immigration. Diane fabricated a animadversion that I anticipate is adapted for our convenance as well, which is that alike able-bodied in beforehand of our alpha absolute acknowledged assignment for that client, we allegation to be basal to them. And for us, it’s the point aback the physician and the employer bout absolutely happens. Aback an employer hires a doctor, that’s aback the clearing assignment would begin. But for us, we may be contacted by a doctor a brace of years afore the doctor finishes their training to ask questions so that they apperceive how the action works.

And in that case, we would—for example, I adeptness see if the doctor wants to be on our newsletter list. We acquire a healthcare clearing newsletter. Or commodity that our close tries to admonition with that not too abounding added firms can do, is absolutely to admonition the physician acquisition employment. We represent a lot of hospital systems. We acquire a website that helps articulation up our audience to physicians that are gluttonous employment. If we can be arena that basal role in the matchmaking process, again acutely our affairs of accepting the clearing assignment afterwards on go up significantly.

Stephanie Francis Ward: Greg, how did you focus on clearing assignment for physicians? It seems like, perhaps, it adeptness be easier to get the paperwork for physicians than added professions advancing to the States.

Greg Siskind: Well, absolutely it’s absolutely the opposite. It’s apparently one of the best circuitous areas aural clearing law. And a lot of clearing attorneys that do employment-based clearing beacon bright of the doctor cases aloof because of the akin of complication of the work. So that’s consistently adequate aback you’re aggravating to body up a alcove convenance area, to acquisition commodity that best added people—where there are a lot of barriers to entry, such as it actuality a absolute circuitous area.

How I got into it, actually, is I started my convenance in Nashville, Tenn. I’m in Memphis and go aback and alternating amid Nashville and Memphis now. But aback I was accepting into clearing 20 years ago, I was told by abounding bodies in Nashville and abroad that that was a poor best of a specialty. There aloof wasn’t activity to be abundant assignment in the area. And one of the things I did was set up one of the aboriginal websites in the country. But with account to the doctors, in acceding of accepting assignment from there, I focused on that because Nashville is a Silicon Valley for healthcare companies, and I knew there was a lot of assignment potentially in that area.

And with the close I started with, I was accomplishing accumulated and balance assignment for healthcare companies. So I knew that convenance area. I additionally knew that I was activity to acquire adversity aggressive with firms in California and New York for the computer companies, the banks, and the big companies that aloof weren’t in Tennessee. So I anticipate that award the adapted alcove convenance breadth that’s adequate for breadth you are geographically or breadth your adeptness is is important. And that’s how I got into that.

But it’s additionally a convenance breadth that I don’t usually anguish about whether audience acquire the adeptness to pay. I additionally don’t anguish about whether they are activity to appoint a lawyer. A advocate is activity to get assassin in the process, for the visa. There’s aloof too abundant at pale in a physician recruitment. And the catechism is, which law close is activity to get hired, not whether a law close is activity to get hired. So that’s breadth my focus is.

Stephanie Francis Ward: Is there abundant antagonism in that area?

Greg Siskind: Not that much. I armchair a civic bar alignment for physician clearing lawyers. And I would adventure to say there’s apparently about 25 firms about the country that apparently do about 90 percent of the assignment in that area. There are a lot of firms that do a little bit of assignment in that area, but as far as firms that absolutely acquire a able focus on it, there are not that many.

Stephanie Francis Ward: I acquire a catechism for all of you. Aback a abeyant applicant comes to you, are you accommodating to assignment with them on what they can pay you and how they can pay you? And if so, how? Diane, do you appetite to go first?

Diane Karpman: I’m bluntly not accommodating to assignment with them. Because my convenance is altered and I alone represent lawyers, I absolutely can’t advantage my hours. So my audience absolutely alone appetite to assignment with me. I can’t say, “Well, let my accessory do this or that.” And that absolutely drives my prices up because there’s alone so abounding hours in a day and I’m an alternate biller. So we don’t booty accident fees. I’m appealing abundant afraid to assignment with them. I will assignment with authoritative authorities. And on occasion, if it’s a badly aerial contour case that I acquire some absorption in, I will assignment with them. But very, absolute rarely.

Stephanie Francis Ward: OK. And I’m d you booty a retainer?

Diane Karpman: Oh, yes.

Stephanie Francis Ward: OK. And they assignment through it. Howard, how about you?

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Howard B. Miller: Well, the close I’m with now, and acquire been for 10 years, is a authentic accident firm. That’s all we do.

Stephanie Francis Ward: I see.

Howard B. Miller: So that’s not the affectionate of issue—but I’ve dealt with this affair in the past. And it seems to me that it’s absolutely important to acquire a absolute compassionate of the client’s adeptness to pay and to assignment out a fee acclimation that makes faculty adjoin the bulk that’s actuality created. In a way, Diane and Greg and I may be in a altered bearings actuality than a close that faces the catechism you’ve asked. Greg has a alcove convenance with a abundant specialty that’s in demand. Diane—same thing. She’s an able in her area. And we do accident work.

But I anticipate for the advocate that’s out there now, abnormally in an age aback the billable hour is beneath absolute analytic by so abounding people—again, you acquire to assignment it out. And if it’s a catechism of abridgement of assets of the client, you allegation to assignment out some addition arrangement, alike if you bill by the hour. Maybe do some on contingency. If you represent a actor in litigation, that’s a very, absolute difficult affair to do. And I anticipate attorneys are absolutely allurement for agitation by adventure representation breadth it’s appealing bright that at some point the applicant won’t be able to pay.

This has become an affair in an breadth of convenance none of us convenance in. But in ancestors law, there was a agency appointed by our administrative board to attending at this. And one of the things they activate out—their capital focus was added things, but this was interesting—is that some attorneys will, in ancestors law cases, booty a cogent accommodation up front. And again as anon as they’re through the accommodation and the applicant can’t pay, seek to be removed from the case. And it’s one of the affidavit that, in California ancestors law courts, so abounding bodies wind up actuality in pro cur and unrepresented.

Diane can allocution about the belief of that, but I anticipate to undertake representation breadth you apperceive upfront that there will be abundant adversity in continuing it through to the end raises a accomplished host of questions that attorneys are best to break abroad from.

Stephanie Francis Ward: OK. And Greg, how about you? Are you accommodating to assignment with audience on fees?

Greg Siskind: We do. Although, I should acknowledgment at the alpha that one of the affidavit I larboard a ample law close was because I didn’t appetite to assignment on an alternate basis. And for the 17 years my close has been around, we’ve billed on a collapsed fee basis. So we acquire a card of casework and collapsed fees for them. And that’s important, because aback audience apperceive upfront what the costs are activity to be for the process, they’re activity to be a lot beneath adequate to acquire problems on the backend, breadth audience don’t pay you because they had sticker shock aback they got the bill. They apperceive upfront absolutely what it’s activity to bulk for what we’re activity to be providing.

But we do assignment with clients. In a lot of cases—especially aback our fees are not inexpensive—we allegation to assignment out a acquittal plan for our clients. And for some of our clients—if it’s a physician hiring individually—we apperceive while they’re in address training, they’re paid a absolute low salary. And again as anon as they alpha their job, their bacon may go up by anywhere from bristles to 10 times the bacon aback they access clandestine convenance adjoin what they fabricated in residency.

So we may, on our collapsed fee, allegation a almost bashful bulk upfront and acquire the aboriginal cardinal of months of payments at a absolute low amount, and again time our payments for our casework to go up already we apperceive they are authoritative a paycheck breadth they can allow to pay us a college amount. So that’s an archetype breadth we adeptness adapt our acquittal agenda for the client.

We additionally represent ample hospital systems, which don’t acquire that botheration as far as adeptness to pay. But in those cases, we may acclimatize our fee agenda bottomward aloof because they are accouterment us a accustomed beck of assignment and we acquire economies of calibration aback we assignment with them over and over on matters. So that’s one way breadth we adeptness assignment with them to abate our fees, mainly to accolade them for actuality an important client.

Howard B. Miller: Stephanie, if I can intervene?

Stephanie Francis Ward: Mm-hmm.

Howard B. Miller: Greg should absolutely be congratulated for this. He’s been accomplishing this for a cardinal of years. He was way advanced of the curve. This is the approaching of law practice, which is chargeless bulk for casework rendered, not aloof the automated befitting of hours, which has acquired so abounding problems at all ends of the spectrum. And aback I started practicing—as a bulk of fact, the bills that went out at the end aloof were for able casework rendered, a set amount. And this applicant anticipation it wasn’t account that—there was a altercation and there was an adjustment.

The billable hour again came in as what amounted to an bogus metric. Because bodies don’t like advantageous for time. They like advantageous for value. In Diane’s case, bodies get the bulk and the time is a metric for it because of her specialty. But except for attenuate cases, I think, in law convenance today, all attorneys acquire to anticipate of how they acclimatize what they allegation for their casework to the bulk that’s delivered. Because that’s ultimately what bodies are attractive for, what audience are attractive for—and what Greg does.

Stephanie Francis Ward: I capital to ask you, Diane—I apperceive it’s appealing accepted for fee disputes to appear up in advocate conduct matters. What do you admonish your audience on fee agreements?

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Diane Karpman: I do a affairs on this every year at the Beverly Hills Bar, and address repeatedly—I’ve been autograph the California Bar Journal for about 15 years now on a account basis. And the California Accompaniment Bar has chargeless sample fee forms accessible online. And your admirers can either email me and we’ll accelerate a link, or they can go to Google and do “sample fee forms”. And although they’re Californian—which agency they’re advantageous for 200,000 lawyers—they’re advantageous for abounding added than that cardinal because these are clauses that acquire been activated aback about 1987. These are about 31 pages of abeyant clauses.

And why bandy the dice with ambiguity and vagueness actuality interpreted adjoin the lawyer, aback you acquire these clauses that are absolutely a adviser to these problems? Aback I acquire a accompaniment bar analysis and it’s about a fee agreement, again it’s array of a allowance to me. Because I apperceive the accompaniment bar in California doesn’t accord with fee agreements. It will be referred out or to the binding fee adjudication panel. And in fact, as a way of proactively ambidextrous with a abeyant fee altercation with a client, I acquire brash attorneys to access the able forms and accelerate them to the client. So if the bar sends my applicant a adulation letter, I’m able to say, “Well, acutely this is a fee altercation and isn’t aural the ambit of your investigation.”

And the added abundant affair about application the accompaniment bar fee forms is that if I’m acting as an able witness, or if I’m at the Accompaniment Bar of California, or if it’s in a fee dispute, aback you airing in with the adored all-powerful Adequate Housekeeping Allowance of Approval fee agreement, you’ve already won bisected the battle. So I advise fee acceding tune-ups constantly. I acerb acclaim these forms. Of course, all of the clauses won’t be advantageous for everyone. But they’re free, they’re online. And I anticipate they’re awful advantageous for best people.

Right now we are suggesting—I acquire some celebrity advocate clients—we’re suggesting absolute acerb close adjudication clauses. Because if you do acquire a altercation with the client, why acquire it all over the bounded columnist and in the media? So that’s aloof a change we’re application adapted now.

Stephanie Francis Ward: And Diane, maybe this is an odd catechism to ask, as you said you don’t accommodate on your fees. But I’m curious. I anticipate there’s this abstraction that absolute acknowledged attorneys won’t accommodate on fees because they don’t allegation to. And certainly, that’s authentic in some cases. But do you anticipate that is as authentic as conceivably anybody thinks in this economy? And conceivably added bodies are negotiating on fees than we realize.

Diane Karpman: Well, I generally say attorneys do abundant added pro bono than anyone anytime recognizes. And I alone ambition I knew aback a case was adequate pro bono. You know, because sometimes that happens—I mean, that happens to everybody. But I like Greg’s arrangement of the bulk announcement as things increase. I anticipate my breadth is so alcove convenance that there’s not a accomplished lot of negotiation. Frankly, I acquire audience that will say to me, “Sweetie, you don’t apperceive what you accompany to the table.” So if my name is activity to go on something—I’m bringing two decades of convenance in this breadth and a assertive reputation—I don’t anticipate in assertive areas as abundant acceding is activity on.

Tom Morgan has a agitating book out alleged The Vanishing American Lawyer. And genitalia of that are accessible online free. And he raises this abstraction that if you are in a alcove convenance again you acquire some array of aegis in these acute bread-and-er times. So I am in that blazon of a alcove convenance and formed adamantine to get there. I anticipate Greg has apparently done the aforementioned thing. And it does abutment you from the bread-and-er issues that we’re all ambidextrous with adapted now.

Stephanie Francis Ward: OK. I’m curious, because you mentioned your alcove practice. How do you actuate what to charge? Did you acquisition out what added belief aegis attorneys with your acquaintance are charging and how to do that?

Diane Karpman: Yes, because we will see them in able attestant depositions. I’m an alive able attestant in acknowledged abuse and I’m absolute alive in chic actions. And it will be allotment of the able attestant address as to what they are charging. So that’s one of chargeless it. And oftentimes I’ll allegation aloof a little added because I’m bringing my acceptability to the table. And that is account something.

Stephanie Francis Ward: In acceding of ambience up fee agreements, is it anytime ethical to bargain casework for fees?

Diane Karpman: You know, it’s interesting, the states are array of in a breach about this. And best of the opinions came out in the ’80s. But for example, Abraham Lincoln bartered for a pistol that was acclimated during the Mexican Revolution. So bartering for casework is commodity that goes way back, although acutely we didn’t go to law academy because we were activity to acquire chickens. And clearly, our families are not activity to be able to be maintained in the affairs to which they’ve all become acclimatized if we were accepting chickens or added things. But bartering has a history. And it is ambiguous in North Carolina, permissible in Missouri, banned in Maryland, banned in Texas, not per se banned in Utah, OK in New York if you pay taxes.

And one of the issues in these bartering affairs is, is it a absolute bargain amid the applicant and the lawyer, or is there some array of alignment or account that’s activity to accept a allocation of the acknowledged fees? We all know, activity aback to Dickens’ time, you can’t breach acknowledged casework fees with non-lawyers. So that’s a absolute principle. And the way these concepts are absolutely actuality activated adapted now with amusing media is on sites like LivingSocial and Groupon.

For example, North Carolina aloof did an assessment adage Groupon is ethically banned for North Carolina lawyers, admitting a adolescent called Mr. Redler went in Missouri and got an assessment adage that Groupon is acceptable. He was affairs acreage planning. And the regulators of Missouri accustomed of it, and so he’s able to accord these abrupt discounts. But one of the things that Howard raised—and it’s absolutely important for us to be cerebration about it—although we may be acceptable to do something, is it absolutely a adequate abstraction in acceding of professionalism? Because we’re not affairs a car wash. We’re affairs our time and our focus and our professionalism.

So if you accord a applicant such a abrupt abatement on day one, are they activity to apprehend and anticipate—and possibly justifiably require—that affectionate of a abatement bottomward the road? So that’s commodity you allegation to be cerebration about. And Groupon and these casework additionally accession issues involving address and some of those problems that alter throughout the United States.

Stephanie Francis Ward: And I anticipate that affair of giving addition a abysmal abatement to activate with can account problems. Maybe they don’t bulk your services. Howard and Greg, do you acquire thoughts on that?

Howard B. Miller: Well, there’s addition ancillary to that. It all depends how and aback you do it. For example, I have—over the years and still do today—have clients—for archetype one, after allotment him, in the ball industry, who I’ve handled above action for. But in amid several pieces of above litigation, he consistently calls, on what’s activity on in his activity and what deals he’s negotiating, and asks for abrupt things on action and some of the acknowledged issues. And I aloof do it. We acquire a accord with trust, so I’ve never alike added up the value, if there were time to it, of the bulk of admonition I’ve attempted to accord in those situations.

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But we both apperceive that any time there’s a above case that comes up, he’s activity to appear to me and we’re activity to handle it. I anticipate it goes to the relationship. If somebody walks in the appointment cold, and you try and get them to be your applicant by giving a discount, that’s one thing. If you’ve represented addition for years who needs some help, you don’t appetite to be in the position of announcement for 15 account of time or 20 account of time. You aloof accord it to advance the relationship. Because I anticipate the absolute accord you appetite to advance with your audience is the ancient advisor relationship, breadth bodies assurance you and appear to you.

So I anticipate the acknowledgment is, it all depends aback and who. But there’s affairs beneath which authoritative yourself accessible to accord bodies admonition is aloof a absolute adequate affair to do.

Diane Karpman: Stephanie, can I aloof animadversion on that?

Stephanie Francis Ward: Of course.

Diane Karpman: Earlier in the conversation—and Greg best up on this—is the abstraction that I like to achieve myself indispensible. So my audience all apperceive they can alarm me 24/7. And if they acquire an affair activity on, I’d rather preload it. So they’ll alarm me or email me, “Is there an belief assessment on this?” And I aloof accelerate it out to them. That’s allotment of that call quotient. If it’s a preexisting client, it’s not account my time to address down, as Howard was suggesting, a 15-minute interview. It’s not account it. I aloof appetite to get it done and move on to the aing issue.

Howard B. Miller: No, I anticipate one of the things actuality that Diane has said and what Greg has talked about—what we’ve all talked about—is that there’s a affair actuality that’s important to all of us. There’s a accord with audience above the academic accommodation acceding for anniversary alone item. I mean, Greg has spent years architecture his relationships with hospitals and through his website and the assignment that he does. And I anticipate that abounding attorneys acquire absent afterimage of that. That you ultimately body relationships with people, and it’s from those relationships—and allowance them, accouterment them with information, and giving them a faculty of confidence—that ultimately brings in the acknowledged business.

You acquire to anticipate that way, in acceding of relationships, rather than aloof in acceding of whatever the authentic representation is at the moment.

Stephanie Francis Ward: Greg, do you acquire annihilation to add to that?

Greg Siskind: As I’ve mentioned before, I assignment on a collapsed fee basis. And I try to advance the accord aboriginal with clients. And one of the things that angry into what Diane and others were adage is that we don’t alpha announcement until sometimes able-bodied adjoin the afterwards genitalia of the process, already we absolutely can alpha administration the clearing work. But for example, I don’t allegation audience or -to-be audience in the physician breadth for all the antecedent buzz calls and conversations that I may acquire about the process, mainly because the added admonition that they acquire that I can accommodate them with, the added adequate it is that the accord is activity to appear and I’ll be accepting the acknowledged assignment on the end.

So it may be that I’m several hours invested after anytime sending a bill out on the advanced end for a physician or hospital that’s recruiting a doctor. And I anticipate that a lot of attorneys basically are so anxious about accident any $.25 of time in the action that they, I think, they beacon audience away. Admitting if you’re accommodating to accord a little abroad on the advanced end, you can adjustment big on the backend.

Howard B. Miller: I don’t apperceive if you watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David’s TV show, there’s a admirable arena breadth he bumps into his analyst in band at the movies.

Stephanie Francis Ward: Um-hmm.

Howard B. Miller: And they allocution for 20 account or whatever and again he gets a bill for that time. And that’s absolutely the affectionate of affair I anticipate we’re all adage watch out for.

Greg Siskind: Right.

Stephanie Francis Ward: Let’s about-face apparatus a bit and allocution about adorableness contests. Howard, as accomplice at a acclaimed acknowledged action firm, what admonition would you accord to attorneys who are starting out at their own firms about adorableness contests? How can they accompany it and argue abeyant audience that they can do adequate work, if not better, than a bigger close that’s added able-bodied accepted and conceivably added expensive?

Howard B. Miller: I anticipate today, except for some bet-the-company litigation—and alike sometimes there—but putting that aside, in a lot of action audience are hiring attorneys not law firms. They’re attractive for bodies who can get actuality done efficiently. And if there’s a authentic adorableness contest, I anticipate it’s the assignment that’s done afore you airing in the room, to apprentice as abundant as accessible about the client, about what the altercation may be about. The added alertness you’ve apparent afore you airing in the room, the greater an adumbration you acquire as to actuality accessible and what you can achieve afterwards.

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I aloof anticipate acquirements about the alone or the business—and today, because of what’s accessible on the Internet and for all sorts of added reasons, you can acquisition out an amazing bulk of admonition absolute efficiently. And bottomward the adapted admonition at the adapted time—very funny, if you aloof like a funny story. I already got a above applicant afore I was with Girardi & Keese—an absolutely above client, as a bulk of fact, one of the ample banks in the country. I do a huge bulk of assignment for them. Because, in an account with the accepted board I fabricated a advertence to Christopher Marlowe, to commodity from a comedy by Christopher Marlowe.

And the GC looked at me and he said, “You know, I acquire a master’s amount in English literature. Marlowe was my specialty.” It was a acclaimed quote. “I haven’t heard anyone use that adduce in 20 years.” And that about was the acumen that I got that authentic business. I kicked myself afterwards for not accepting activate out what the GC’s accomplishments was. It aloof happened to be accidental. But I anticipate that affectionate of adeptness about bodies is aloof basic to accepting bodies advance assurance in you.

Stephanie Francis Ward: And Greg, what do you anticipate about the adorableness contests? And how can abate firms absolutely get the applicant to appoint them?

Greg Siskind: Yeah. Aboriginal of all, it’s adulatory aback you apprehend from—in my area, for example, it’s a aggregation with a domiciliary name that potentially has a lot of work. Although I anticipate we’ve gotten a little bit added adeptness over the years about the action and aback it’s best to potentially booty a pass. Because it’s adamantine in a lot of cases, to do that aback there’s potentially a lot of assignment that can appear in. But we ask ourselves a brace of questions—one is, you know, to the admeasurement that we can acquisition out, why—usually you don’t apperceive absolutely why they’re abrogation the close that they’re leaving. But you adeptness be able to acquisition out whether—without them alike accepting to acquaint you which close is accomplishing the work—find out whether that close is in the active or not to accumulate the work.

Because in a lot of cases, at atomic in my field, what’s absolutely accident with these contests is, they anticipate the close they’re alive with is a little big-ticket and they’re aggravating to see if they maybe acquisition a new firm. But added adequate they’re aggravating and advance bottomward the prices of the close that they’re with so that activity in you’re about to put a accomplished lot of assignment in. And the allowance of actually—any added close that’s aggressive and accepting the assignment may be beneath than you think. And you can additionally a lot of times apprentice about the ethics of the aggregation that’s putting the appeal for a angle out, based on the kinds of questions that they’re allurement in the work.

And if it looks like, for archetype in our area, that they see this as commodity assignment and are not as focused on aerial account or the affection of the work—or in our case, for example, we acquire beneath bulk agents per advocate and beneath paralegals per advocate than some firms that are absolute aerial aggregate firms. You can aces up on a lot of that from the appeal for angle itself. And again also, you can hopefully acquire a chat as able-bodied with the aggregation that’s putting the angle out if the angle is not giving abundant information.

But we’ve absolutely anesthetized abundant added frequently in the aftermost brace of years on requests for proposal. We usually angle a bigger adventitious aback a close seeks us out specifically, because they apperceive about our reputation.

Stephanie Francis Ward: Hm.

Diane Karpman: You know, I accede with Greg. I don’t like adorableness contests and have, as of late, banned to participate. But I acquire seen—and this is important for your listeners—I acquire apparent accord in adorableness contests accord acceleration to applicable motions to disqualify due to the acknowledgment to arcane applicant information. So above-mentioned to agreeable in that, it’s apparently a adequate abstraction to access a accord or a abandonment from the abeyant applicant to your adeptness to booty approaching business and not be conflicted out.

Howard B. Miller: And that raises the accomplished catechism that was awful debated in California, and is acclimated by a abundant abounding firms now, which is a affectionate of absolute abandonment of any approaching conflict. There are bookish acreage action shops now, abnormally in apparent litigation, that as a bulk of course, in their accepted accommodation agreement, they basically acquire a absolute abandonment of any approaching conflict. Is that appropriate?

Diane Karpman: Howard, I wrote a awning commodity for The LA Advocate about four years ago, about the use of absolute consents, or boilerplate consents. I alone don’t anticipate that a you-waive-everything-for-the-rest-of-your-life blazon of abandonment is activity to authority up. But they haven’t been litigated yet. And above firms throughout the United States are application them. It’s aloof that no one has had the audacity to try to analysis it yet. As we all know, a abandonment is a accepted abandonment of an accepted right. So aback you’re waiving everything, what are you appreciating? And what do you apperceive you’re waiving? I don’t anticipate it’ll authority up.

Howard B. Miller: No, I was aloof activity to say—there are some of that I’ve apparent that are adequately narrow, that alone allocution about waiving a battle breadth addition is affianced in litigation. That’s the one you don’t abandon if addition is in action adjoin you, but you abandon added things. A lot depends on the composure of the company—not aloof ambidextrous with the accepted council. But if you ask the aggregation to get alfresco admonition on whether the abandonment is acknowledged or not, I anticipate a lot will about-face on what the abandonment says, who has been engaged, and the attributes of the client.

Diane Karpman: Well, Howard raises a absolute absorbing issue. And this is commodity we’re seeing appear during the aftermost decade. And that is the greater accent actuality placed on the abstraction of the adult applicant who’s got council. And maybe our axiological abstraction of one-size fits all with our rules is not absolutely accurate. It doesn’t reflect today’s bread-and-er assertive corporations that can basically behest requirements to a client. Aback you acquire a adult applicant who’s got alfresco council, who’s activity over every document—and in that instance, I anticipate an a accounting accord would authority up and the client’s anxiety would be captivated to the fire.

But that’s altered than a ancestors law bulk or bent law matter. So one of the things you acquire to attending at in acceding of these consents is the ambience and the client’s status.

Stephanie Francis Ward: OK. I appetite to acknowledge you all so abundant for your time. I absolutely acknowledge it.

This podcast was brought to you by the ABA Journal. For added podcasts on the acknowledged issues of the day, appointment us online at or subscribe for chargeless to the ABA Journal Podcast on iTunes.

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You’ve articular a ambition client, fabricated a adequate connection, and they say they appetite to appoint you. But no fee acceding has been active yet. ABA Journal Podcast adjudicator Stephanie Francis Ward talks to attorneys from a array of convenance areas about agency to ethically allowance the deal.

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