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23
Feb

When Polite Letters Go Unanswered — Procedures for Collecting Unpaid Legal Fees

A billboard showing a legal a bill with "Thank you."
Here are some basic tips and procedures for collecting fees and voiding unpaid balances from piling up in the first place.

A billboard showing a legal a bill with "Thank you."Some lawyers avoid collecting unpaid legal fees because the process makes them acutely uncomfortable or they’re concerned about a bar complaint that could result. While some clients may indeed take offense at your efforts to collect money owed you, using appropriate, empathetic, and consistent follow-up can lead to better client communication and interaction, improved cash flow, and no retaliation. And even if a complaint does arise, allowing a client relationship to fester without directly addressing the issue is not an effective strategy. Read more »

21
Feb

Week 6: First Leg Session Milestone Reached

Washington's flag
Legislators in Olympia last week cleared the first milestone of the session – policy committee cutoff.

Washington's Capitol in OlyLegislators in Olympia last week cleared the first milestone of the session – policy committee cutoff. Friday was the deadline for policy bills in both houses to be voted out of their policy committees. Amid the scramble, week 6 of the legislative session heard testimony and voting on several bills of interest to the WSBA. Read more »

21
Feb

U.S. District Court Highlights Importance of Defining the Decision-Maker

Abstract depiction of a scale and gavel
A recent U.S. District Court decision highlights why it’s important to define the client decision-maker, especially for small corporations.

Abstract depiction of a scale and gavelA recent decision from the U.S. District Court in Seattle highlights why it’s important to define the client decision-maker, especially when dealing with small, closely held corporations (Kische USA LLC v. Simsek, 2016 WL 7212534, W.D. Wash. Dec. 13, 2016, unpublished). In this case, charges were brought by the owner of a retail clothing firm against two former employees who had left to start a rival apparel business. The suit claimed that one of the employees, identified as the chief executive manager, had transferred a registered trademark from the plaintiff to the new firm. The plaintiff also sued the company’s outside lawyer who had assisted with the transfer for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty. Read more »

15
Feb

Want to Do Good and Make a Living? Consider Low Bono

raise right hand
Find it hard to live up to your law school idealism? Start a business! Specifically, start a law practice using a low-bono business model.

raise right handLaw students often see themselves working at a public interest or legal-services setting. But after graduation, few new lawyers end up following that path. One study found just 4% of newer lawyers working in a public interest or legal services. Why might this be?

Certainly, it is not for lack of demand or the need for access to justice. Since the Great Recession, the need for affordable legal services has continued to grow, while governments continue to cut funding. Not only do these cuts harm people who can’t afford a lawyer, they also make finding a job in public-interest law and legal services increasingly difficult. Dwindling opportunities discourage newer lawyers from pursuing a career focused on social justice, even though their skills are badly needed. Read more »

10
Feb

Friday 5: Lessons from the Trial Advocacy Program I Wish I Had Learned Sooner

TAP seminar
At the 2016 Trial Advocacy Program, I had many moments when I thought to myself, “I wish I knew this before!”

TAP seminarI attended the 2016 WSBA Trial Advocacy Program (TAP) one week after relocating back to my home state. I most recently was a managing attorney at a nonprofit legal aid organization in Navajo Nation. I had been promoted to this position in the same month I was sworn into the relevant bar. At TAP, I had many moments when I thought to myself, “I wish I knew this before!” Read more »