Many practical and ethical problems in a trusts and estates practice can be avoided through careful attention to internal affairs. This program will look at specific techniques and ethical concerns with respect to client intake and lawyer fitness to practice. The panel will address knowing your client, processes to follow when you receive a referral from a lawyer or other professional, and guidelines for making referrals to other professionals. The panel will then examine the role of the engagement letter and offer practical drafting suggestions to avoid later conflicts including clear identification of the client, setting fee agreements, conflict waiver considerations, and concluding an engagement. Finally, the panel will consider the ethical and practical obligations when a lawyer in practice is impaired, with reference to the recent ABA study on lawyer impairment, applicable rules of professional responsibility, and privacy concerns.
Beth Shapiro Kaufman, Washington, D.C.
Randy J. Curato, ALAS, Inc., Chicago, IL
Karen Fahrner, Philadelphia, PA
Linda J. Retz, Torrance, CA
External Affairs -- The Lawyer as Witness
With their expanding professional practices, experienced lawyers – especially ACTEC Fellows – face the increasing prospect of being a witness in a dispute, as a fact witness (e.g., the drafter of the estate plan) or even as a party to litigation. Fellows are also enlisted increasingly as expert witnesses. This program will survey the practical aspects of how you should handle these situations. The panel will assess crucial questions, such as: informal and formal requests for your files; privilege land mines; malpractice risks, including if and when to report a case to your insurer; whether you should have your own counsel; how to pay the counsel fees and costs of you and your counsel; and conducting yourself effectively when you testify, whether during deposition or at trial.
Steven K. Mignogna, Haddonfield, NJ
Robert W. Goldman, Naples, FL
Jessica A. Uzcategui, Los Angeles, CA
ACTEC 2016 Fall Meeting
October 22, 2016