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New WSBA Advisory Opinion on ‘Quadripartite’ Relationships

The WSBA Committee on Professional Ethics recently released advisory opinion No. 201802 addressing “quadripartite” relationships. “Tripartite” relationships among an insurer, the insured, and defense counsel have been delineated extensively in both court decisions and advisory opinions. “Quadripartite” relationships, by contrast, are a fairly new development and remain comparatively unplumbed. The term generally describes situations where […]

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U.S. District Court Highlights Importance of ‘Non-Engagement’ Letters

A recent decision from the U.S. District Court in Seattle highlights the importance of “non-engagement” letters: a letter or other communication to a non-client involved in the background context of a representation telling the non-client that the lawyer is not representing the non-client. Smartek21, LLC v. VisiKard, Inc., 2018 WL 5024031 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 17, […]

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Confirming When Representation Begins Matters

A recent decision by Division III of the Washington Court of Appeals illustrates the importance of confirming whether or not you have taken on a client at an initial meeting. Fechner v. Volyn, ___ Wn. App. ___, 418 P.3d 120, 2018 WL 2307703 (May 22, 2018), was painted against the backdrop of a medical malpractice […]

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Appeals Court Considers Prosecutor’s Subpoena for Letter Held by Former Defense Counsel

Ethics guru Mark Fucile analyzes a Court of Appeals decision to overturn a lower court’s ruling for contempt against a defendant’s former counsel. Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals recently addressed a subpoena duces tecum to former counsel in State v. Rogers, ___ Wn. App. ___, 414 P.3d 1143, 2018 WL 1602957 (2018). […]

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Court of Appeals: Claiming Attorney Fees as Damages Waives Privilege

Attorney-client privilege is waived when claiming attorney fees for the work involved as damages, a Court of Appeals rules. Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals held recently that the attorney-client privilege is waived when claiming attorney fees for the work involved as damages in a subsequent legal malpractice case. Leen v. Defoe, 2018 […]

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Stricter Health Dept. Rule Hikes Cost for New Walk-in Surgery Centers

Previously overlooked legal rules could raise costs for physicians seeking to establish or expand small outpatient surgery centers. New enforcement of previously overlooked legal requirements could significantly raise costs for physicians seeking to establish or expand small outpatient surgery centers. The Washington State Department of Health recently limited exemptions in its Certificate of Need Program, […]

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Gavel and Benjamins

Court of Appeals Interprets ‘Proceeds’ Attached by Attorney Lien in Dissolution Case

Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals recently interpreted the term “proceeds” to which an attorney lien attached in a dissolution case. Matter of Marriage of Shulikov, 2017 WL 3476783 (Wn. App. Aug. 14, 2017) (unpublished), involved a dissolution case that had settled in trial court. The resolution involved payments of maintenance and child […]

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Federal Court Decision Highlights Importance of Engagement Agreements

A recent disqualification decision by the federal district court in Spokane highlights the importance of engagement agreements in defining who is — and who is not — the client. A recent disqualification decision by the federal district court in Spokane highlights the importance of engagement agreements in defining who is — and who is not […]

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justice

New WSBA Advisory Opinion on Withdrawal

WSBA’s Committee on Professional Ethics recently released an advisory opinion on withdrawal issues in for public court proceedings.   The Washington State Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics recently released an advisory opinion surveying withdrawal issues in the context of public court proceedings. Advisory Opinion 201701 primarily addresses what you can — and can’t — […]

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A Short Guide to Workplace Medical Leave Laws

If you are a lawyer practicing with small-to-large businesses and corporations, you should know something about employment-related medical leave laws. Federal, state, and municipal laws apply to your business clients and employees. Some laws apply to almost every employer and some to just larger employers.

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Court of Appeals Rules on Authority of Insurance Defense Counsel

Division II of the Court of Appeals recently addressed the authority of insurance defense counsel in an unusual scenario: where defense counsel had no contact with the insured throughout the course of the litigation involved. Kruger-Willis v. Hoffenburg, 198 Wn. App. 408, 393 P.3d 844 (2017), arose out of an automobile accident. The defendant drove […]

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Responding to Negative Online Reviews

The internet and social media are a part of most attorneys’ practices, whether they’ve chosen an aggressive online presence or not. Along with marketing their practice and maintaining their digital presence, attorneys may find themselves facing a negative internet review. Sometimes they call the WSBA Ethics Line (800-945-9722 ext. 8284) asking for guidance on whether […]

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